Grooming your own horse is a wonderful opportunity to bond with him or her. It is also gives you a chance to inspect them, look for any cuts or injuries, any areas where they are sensitive and so on.
The first step to grooming your horse is to build up (or buy) a horse grooming kit. Make sure your kit has all the basic horse grooming tools:
Horse grooming bag
Horse grooming hard bristle brush
Horse grooming soft bristle brush
Soft fleecy cloth
Two sponges (different colors or shapes)
Mane and tail comb
Before you start make sure you have a scarf or bandana to cover your nose and mouth. While grooming your horse there will be lots of dust and horse hair in the air. You could breathe this in and it could be dangerous.
Horse grooming tip: grooming your horse outside is very effective, if you have access to a small paddock or your horse stands still. This will prevent dust that you are trying to clean off from settling back on their coats.
Step 1 – Work systematically
Always work from your horse’s head towards their tail. Start on the left side, front to back, and then move onto the right side, front to back. This way you won’t miss any areas.
Step 2 – Currying
A curry comb gets rid of all the loose hair and dust. Press fairly hard and work in circular movements. This is a like a massage for your horse or pony. The hard bristle brush should be in your other hand to brush off excess hair and dust. Clean both the curry comb and brush regularly throughout this process. Using dirty grooming tools will not clean your horse.
Step 3 – Brushing
Once you curried your horse or pony’s coat, use the soft bristle brush to brush off any hair or dust that might be remaining. The soft bristles also make your horse or pony’s coat nice and shiny.
Horse grooming tip: with both currying and brushing work carefully around your pony or horse’s legs. There is no muscle between the skin and bone so it is a sensitive area.
Step 4 – Cleaning your horses face
Wet one of the sponges and gently wipe down your horse’s face. Pay special attention to their eyes and nostrils. A lot of horses and ponies don’t like their faces being cleaned, make sure you work carefully so as not to make the experience even more unpleasant for your horse or pony.
Step 5 – Cleaning the back of your horse
Wet the other sponge and gently lift your pony or horse’s tail to clean underneath. This is also an unpleasant experience for a lot of horses or ponies so work gently and carefully. If your horse or pony has a tendency to kick, be extra cautious to make sure you don’t get kicked.
Horse grooming tip: different colored sponges will make sure you use the right sponge to clean the right place.
Step 6 – Cleaning your horse’s hooves
Lift up each hoof and use the hoof pick to scrap out compacted material. Work carefully around the frog of the hoof as this can be a sensitive area. Check your horse or pony’s hooves for any strong smells as this could be a sign of infection.
Horse grooming tip: if your horse or pony isn’t good at lifting his or her hooves for cleaning, rub the chestnut on the inside of their legs to encourage them to life up their legs.
Step 7 – Brushing the mane and tail
Use either the hard bristle brush or mane and tail comb to brush your horse or pony’s mane and tail. This will get rid of any knots or anything like twigs or sawdust in your horse or pony’s mane or tail.
Horse grooming tip: mane and tail conditioner is great way to keep your horse or pony’s mane and tail shiny and soft.
Step 8 – Wipe down
Use the soft fleecy cloth the wipe down your horse or pony’s coat. This is a great way to give them a nice shiny, clean coat.