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Horse Care 101: Grooming

Whether you are new to the horse world or not, it’s important to understand the basics of horse care and today we are going to dive a bit deeper into the grooming side of owning a horse. Let’s get started! First, I would like to go over the essentials that any horse owner should have in their grooming bucket then we will go into more detail on each one below. Here are the absolute essentials, a hoof pick, a hard brush, a soft brush, a comb, and a curry comb. I realize there are several other things that can be used to groom your horse, but these items are must-haves in your bucket.

The hoof pick is crucial in keeping up with the maintenance of your horse’s feet. Typically, you want to pick your horse’s hooves several times a week, typically before and after you ride and before you put them in the trailer. The purpose of a horse pick is to keep your horse’s hooves clear of debris and rock that could lead to minor injury or lameness. If you are new to horses, then you will definitely want to have a professional with you when you are picking up your horse’s legs for the first time so you can be shown proper placement of your body when you do this. There are several different kinds of picks to choose from and ultimately it comes down to preference. The one shown below has a pick on one end and a brush on the other side. The brush is handy for cleaning out loose dirt, but I find that these don’t hold as well in the long term. You can easily full metal picks that will last you much longer, but it depends on what you like!

Next, I’ll cover the curry comb, a tool used to remove caked-on dirt, mud, and poop from the horse’s coat. Once again, you will find a lot of variation in different kinds of curry combs, the one below is pretty standard and you can tell if it’s a curry by the soft to medium teeth that are on it. These teeth help break up the debris that can get stuck in your horse’s coat. You only want to use this tool on the “meaty” parts of your horse, meaning the places that have plenty of muscle and/or surface area. You don’t typically want to use this kind of comb on their face, legs or other sensitive areas as it can be uncomfortable. This tool is also used first in the process of grooming a horse if it’s just a standard groom before a casual ride.

After you’ve curried your horse, you will typically use a hard brush then a soft brush. It’s not necessary to have a soft brush, but it is nice to have for their faces, legs, and other sensitive areas. Once all the hard debris has been loosened on the coat, you will go over their bodies again with a hard brush which normally is wooden or plastic on the top with medium to hard bristles on the bottom. This brush will flick off any grass, loose dirt, old sweat, or anything else that could make your horse uncomfortable when you go to saddle them. This is a personal preference, but I like to go over my horses two more times after the hard brush, once with a soft brush to get any fine dirt or dust off then I go over any places the saddle will sit with my hands to make sure there isn’t anything I missed.

The last item that is a must for all grooming buckets is a comb. This one is pretty self-explanatory as it is used to keep your horse’s manes and tails knot-free! Most folks like to braid their horse’s manes and tail to aid in growth and keep the knots to a minimum. Sometimes braiding isn’t a viable option, so having a comb handy is definitely a must!

I hope you enjoyed this segment of Horse Care 101. Make sure to stay tuned as we release more features on horse care and ownership tips!

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Peter the "Cowboy" is a gunslinger style writer from Bismark, North Dakota. Controversy is his middle name. He loves the cowboy lifestyle and being an American.

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