Easy Steps to a Perfectly Groomed Horse
~ by NiennaNiphredil
I am fascinated by horses, as I’m sure many of you are. In fact, my family has three! My horse is white….. which makes for a very tedious grooming project, as you can guess … especially on muddy days. I’m sure many of you fellow horse-owners out there have the same problem – no matter what color your horse is. So, I’ve compiled an easy step guide, listing my favorite tools and techniques for making horse grooming a snap! I hope you find it helpful!
Oh, one more thing, before you begin, you may find it helpful to open up another browser window and point yourself to my favorite online horse-supply store: www.valleyvet.com. That way, you’ll be able to get a general ‘visualization’ of what kinds of brushes and things I’m talking about!
1) First, tie your horse. I find it very helpful to use the cross-tie method, as this prevents the horse from being able to reach back and nip at you (if your horse does that, that is). Make sure the ties are sturdy….. we wouldn’t want the horse suddenly taking off in mid-groom!
2) Now we’ll run through the horse’s coat with a simple body brush- just to get a general idea of what we’re dealing with. There are many different styles, sizes, and textures of body brushes out there- I would suggest a brush with harder bristles. Use brisk, short strokes, loosening any large dirt/hair particles. ALWAYS brush in the same direction that the hair is growing! Otherwise, your horse could get easily annoyed. Just imagine someone trying to brush your hair up instead of down. You wouldn’t be a happy camper, eh?
While doing this, be sure to keep your eyes open for any nicks, cuts, or abrasions that your horse may have aquired since you last groomed him/her.
3) Next, we’ll use one of my favorite tools – a grooming block. Never heard of it? Well, I don’t blame you, as they aren’t widely renowned. Basically, what it is is a rectangular block, made out of a light, yet solid material (I’m not exactly sure what it is) – I think the proper name of mine is ‘Slick ‘N Easy Grooming Block’, but I know that there are other brands out there. It is used for reaching deep inside the horse’s coat and pulling dust, dirt, loose hair, and any other unwanted object in there out. It works like a charm. To use, apply a sufficient amount of pressure to the block and use brisk, very short strokes. This will pull dirt and grime out and leave the coat beneath looking marvelous. Use on the whole coat, but DO NOT on use legs, faces, or other sensitive areas; as this will cause some irritation. If a rather large amount of dirt or hair comes to the surface, use your hand to lightly whisp it off of the horse’s coat onto the ground. Be sure not to ‘whisp’ too forcefully – we don’t want the dirt going BACK into the coat!
This tool is especially useful for horses who are shedding their winter coat. It works wonders.
4) Once you have done this, grab a curry comb. Curry combs come in about 1003 different varieties … there are SOO many of them. Rubber curry combs, metal curry combs; some that look like body brushes with different ‘bristles’ (which is what we’re looking for in this step!), and some that look like regular ‘combs’ (which is NOT what we’re looking for); large and small, with different shapes, colors, and etc. I suggest having both a metal and a rubber curry comb. Either one works great; but more often than not, I use both in my grooming routine!
Basically, all you have to do is repeat Step 1 – only use a curry comb instead of a body brush. If you have a metal curry comb, use that first, and then follow with the rubber one. What this does is remove any final, deeply imbedded hair or dirt particles, and removes what the grooming block brought to surface.
5) Hang in there! We’re almost done! Now find a soft bristled brush, and brush over the entire coat in a neutral manner. This sweeps away any rebellious little hairs that try and linger on top of the coat. You can also go over legs, the face, and other sensitive areas with this brush.
For the face: Use the soft bristled brush to gently sweep the facial area. Then, find a cloth and gently rub the face and head, so as to remove loose dirt and hair.
6) You’re done!
Next Page: Maniac Manes and Tempered Tails – fix them up in 3 easy steps! Also – Creative ways to spice up your horses’s look!
So now you’ve got a wonderfully groomed horse … whose mane and tail looks like a rat’s nest. Here are a few techniques I use for grooming a rebellious mane and tail.
1) Before you begin, apply conditioner to the mane and/or tail – whichever one you’re working on at the time. There are tons of brands of conditioner made especially for a horse’s mane and tail, and my suggestion would be to use some of that. Conditioner prevents tangling and hair damage, while moisturizing and shining up the hair. Ripping through tangles in a dry mane or tail can caust alot of hair damage such as split ends.
2) Using a mane/tail comb or brush, gather a section of hair, and begin slowly working through tangles – don’t rip through them! I usually start at the bottom of the section of hair and work my way up. This seems to work fairly well. If you happen to come across a sizeable tangle in the hair, don’t panic. Use patience, and try working through it slowly. If worse comes to worse, go find a pair of scissors and try snipping a FEW of the main hairs holding the knot together. I wouldn’t highly recommend this, however – because the possibilities of snipping a few more hairs than you meant to are very high. So, only use that as a last, desperate resort.
3) Once you’ve finished grooming the main and tail, you can either let it hang loose or braid it! Braiding isn’t that hard to do, and keeps the mane and tail nice. You can use any style of braiding you want… be creative! Well… not too creative… we don’t want more knots! Secure with a band or ribbon- just make sure it stays put. You can even use a tail bag to protect the tail, but I’ve never done that before, so I wouldn’t be able to tell you how to do it!
Now, we’re done with the grooming! Time for the fun part- decorating! Well…. decorating may not exactly be the word…. Here are some creative ideas to spice up your horse’s look!
Braids, braids, braids! — I can’t stress enough how incredibly amazing braids look on a horse. There are many, many different styles and sizes of braids- just pick one you like and go with it! You can braid ribbons into the hair to spice it up even more. Choose colors that go with your horse’s coat, but still stand out!
Beautiful Bows and Radiant Ribbons! — Tying a ribbon or bow around a horse’s forelock is absolutely adorable. You can choose any color or pattern of bow or ribbon you want – make it look good!
Twinkle, twinkle … There is a line of products out in the horse-grooming-world called Twinkle. The products all feature different colors of glitter, which you can use to decorate your horse with! Some of these products include Glitter Gel – for mane, tail, and body; Glitter Hoof Polish – which is basically a glittery nail … err, hoof…. polish that makes hooves dazzle under light; Glitter Stencil Kit – which provides numerous stencils to temporarily ‘tattoo’ your horse with designs such as stars, checkers, and even the American Flag; and many more. The products are all temporary, and able to be washed out. You can even use some of the products on your tack or even yourself!
If you want to check these products and more out, you can click here.
This link will direct you to the MAIN “Twinkle” page on one of my favorite online horse stores – Valley Vet. Keep in mind – this is not the only “Twinkle” product they offer- just click around to find more.
While you’re there, you can also look at the wide range of horse products and supplies they offer.
Well, that’s all for my guide of horse grooming – I hope it proves to be an aid to horse owners everywhere!
~ by NiennaNiphredil