There are around 374,000 horse-owning households in the UK at the moment. Perhaps you’re that person who has always wanted to own a horse since they were a child and are finally getting the opportunity. Or maybe this is a family decision for your children to engage more with animals and nature. No matter the reason for owning a horse, you have to understand the grooming that comes with horse care.
Here at House My Pets, we have a large team of animal lovers, and so know a thing or two about grooming your horse. Taking the time to groom your horse ensures they are healthy, they look beautiful and aren’t in pain from tangled manes or gritty hooves.
Please keep reading to learn more about owning a pet horse and our top grooming tips. If you want to be the best horse owner, then you need to be aware of the long but necessary process of grooming which is vital to their health and happiness.
Our first horse cleaning tip is to always remember the hooves. When you think about grooming, you probably first think of their coat. Keeping that clean, soft, and glistening is vital for any horse owner, but so is caring for their hooves.
Slide your hand down the left foreleg and squeeze along the tendons just above the pastern. Give your command for your horse to raise it’s hoof so you can hold it gently and pry out any dirt, manure or grit stuck in the frog or sole.
Take this time to check for any injuries to the hooves, as well as signs of thrush and grease heel. Keep an eye out for any cracks in the wall of the hoof, and if you find any contact your farrier for further support. Once your check is done, gently place the foot back on the ground and check the remaining three.
Grooming the Coat
Did you picture brushing your horse as a child and being left with a soft, shiny coat? Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that, and there are a fair few steps to ensuring your horse’s coat is kept in pristine condition. Our top tip for grooming your horse is to be aware of the different steps and brushes you need to go through this process. By ensuring you know what you need to do and carrying this out routinely, you are sure to keep your horse’s coat in top-quality condition.
Curry Your Horse
Firstly, you need to curry your horse. Do this by starting on the left side and using your curry comb to loosen any dirt from their coat. Taking the time to brush away mud, dirt, grit and dust in this first step, then you are sure to end your grooming session with a shiny coat.
Top tip – brush the coat in a circular sweep with your curry comb, taking extra care over the bony areas of the shoulders, hips and legs. Many horses are also sensitive about having their bellies and between the back legs brushed. Others may love it – this will be something you learn about your horse during the process. You can tell if they are agitated by observing your horse laying back their ears or swishing their tail. Move the brush away or try being softer in your strokes.
After currying, it’s time to use the body brush to get rid of coarse dirt. As this brush is longer-bristled and stiff, it will help get rid of dirt embedded deeper in the hair which your curry comb may have missed.
Top tip – brush in sweeping strokes to ensure you are bringing all of the dirt to the surface. Start on one side and move around the horse following the direction of hair growth. Some horse owners also find the brush more useful for cleaning the legs than the curry comb, so try out both on your pet horse and see what works best for you. It is also an excellent time to check for lesions, skin irritations and injuries on the legs, knees and pasterns.
The Finishing Brush
Bring out the shine in your horse’s coat with a finishing brush. It has shorter, softer bristles perfect for use on the body and the face. Use a gentle touch to brush away dist from the broader areas on your horse’s face, ears and throat. These sweeping strokes ensure that every part of your horse’s coat is clean and healthy. The fine bristles also help smooth out the body hair, so your horse’s coat has a finished and glossy appearance.
Top tip – when you’re done brushing, apply a grooming spray. There are many different types, but there are some which can provide sun protection and even add shine to your horse’s coat. If you are planning to ride your horse, be wary of some types which can cause the hair to be slippery and make your saddle slip. Therefore, try to avoid the application of this spray to the saddle area.
The next step is to comb out the tangles in your horses flowing mane and tail. By keeping on top of this aspect of grooming, your horse’s tail and mane will be smooth and shiny. Our next tip is to take your time and be gentle. Start with a mane comb or brush at the bottom of the strands and brush downwards in sections until you can smoothly comb from top to bottom. Using this method will prevent yanking on knots and make the process painless for your pet. When brushing the tail, make sure you stand to the side in case your horse kicks out.
Top tip – a grooming spray which detangles hair is ideal as it can make brushing the long strands easier while also cleaning and protecting the hair. In the long run, it prevents hairs from tangling too much between grooming sessions.
The Forgotten Areas
Our last top tip for grooming is to never forget the smaller areas of your horse, which also need cleaning. Once you are done cleaning the body, mane and tail of your horse, you need to focus on the smaller details. With a damp sponge or cloth, clean around the horse’s eyes and muzzle. This will remove dirt and chaff, and a softer cloth will ensure this process is relaxing and pain-free for your horse.
You can use this time to check your horse’s eyes for signs of excess tearing (some tearing in the corner is not uncommon), redness or swelling. If you suspect they may have an eye infection, seek medical support as soon as possible.
Make sure you don’t forget about your horse’s ears either. Check them for lodged seed heads or dirt. However, some horses don’t like to have their ears handled, so make sure you are slow and careful not to pinch or pull hairs in their ears. If you keep up your handling like this, your horse may even come to love having their ears groomed!
Please check out our website to learn more about House My Pet and the fantastic range of services we can offer you. If you are looking to go on holiday and need someone to care for your horse, or are wanting someone to check in while you are away for a business trip, then contact us today. We have so much more in-depth information on how we can support your horse care on our website.