Grooming and Grooming Tools
Grooming and Grooming Tools
By: Cheryl McNamee-Sutor
Rubber Curry: Do not use a metal curry comb on your horse! (Metal is used for cleaning other grooming tools!)
Dandy Brush: Stiff bristled brush.
Body Brush: Soft bristled brush, usually made of horse hair.
Hoof Pick/Brush: The hoofpick/brush combo can be found a most tack stores.
Mane Comb: I recommend plastic, you will be less likely to break the hairs.
Towel: Polishing towel/rag, helps remove sweat marks and gives the coat a nice shine after brushing.
When grooming a horse, you should always start at the top of his neck and work your way to his rear, then switch sides and repeat.
Make sure your horse or pony is safely tied wearing a leather halter or by using ‘quick-release’ snaps on cross-ties. Start using the Rubber Curry. The rubber curry should be used in a circular motion, to loosen dirt that has settled under the horse’s hair. NOTE: be very careful and gentle around bony areas of your horse’s body (such as his back or shoulders). Don’t use a Rubber Curry on your horse’s legs unless you can be extremely gentle with it. Never use a Curry or any stiff brush on your horse’s face, it could hurt him.
Next, use the Dandy Brush. The motion for this brush is like the same motion you would use when sweeping a floor. You ‘flick’ the brush away from the coat so that the dirt comes off of his coat. It is important that you use this ‘flicking’ motion, or the dirt will just get pushed back under the hair.
Then, you use the Body Brush. The body brush is meant to smooth down the hair and to get rid of any traces of left-over dirt after you have thoroughly used the Dandy Brush. With the Body Brush, you do not use a ‘flicking’ motion, instead, you use it flat over the horse’s coat to flatten the hair.
Now, on to the feet! You should first have your instructor show you how to pick up a horse’s feet. Usually, this can be done by running your hand down your horse’s leg, then gently squeezing his ankle. Be sure not to pick up the horse’s foot too high, or he might loose balance. Use the hoof pick, scraping away from you, as you would with a carrot peeler (for safety!). Be sure to clean the hollow areas on both sides of the frog, and around the sole of the foot.
Next, you use the Mane Comb to gently comb the horse’s mane. Use the Dandy Brush to brush the horse’s tail. Many people use the comb to brush their horse’s tails, but I don’t use a comb since it breaks the hairs more easily. If you want the horse to grow a long, flowing tail, you should use the Dandy brush instead.
The last step is using the Towel. A plain towel or rag will do, just wipe it over the horse’s coat to bring out the shine.
TA DA! You’re all done!
When you are finished riding, it is good to give the horse another grooming to remove any sweat marks or dirt that accumulated from the arena or trail. It is also a wonderful ‘after riding’ reward for horses who like to be groomed.
Some people will lightly spray the towel with a hair conditioner such as “Show Sheen”, to help bring out the shine in the horse’s coat. NOTE: be very careful when using Show Sheen or any similar product! It is very slippery under a saddle, so do not use it on the horse’s back or girth area if you are planning on riding, or your saddle could slip and you could fall off! (I’ve seen this happen several times).
Another brush, called a Mud Brush, has very stiff bristles. This brush is rarely used, but can be used on horses that have been out rolling in the mud. Be sure that all the mud has dried before trying to brush it off, or it will just be smeared over the horse’s coat and rubbed in under the hair!
A Shedding Blade can be used in the spring time to help loosen and get rid of the extra hair that the horse may shed off due to the season change. Be very, very careful with a Shedding Blade, since the edges are very sharp! Never, ever use the Shedding Blade on a horse’s face or lower body (legs).
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About the author:
Cheryl’s goal is to educate horse owners on how to develop a trusting and respectful partnership with their horses. The training methods she uses and teaches are ones that promote a horse’s confidence and willingness to please.
As the President of Equusite.com (The Ultimate Horse Resource), Cheryl teaches her methods of horsemanship online in a simple step-by-step fashion to ensure that horsemen and women of all ages and disciplines are able to understand and use her methods easily.
For more information, see Cheryl’ bio page or contact her: