Grooming Tools: What You Need for Effective Horse Grooming
Daily grooming is an essential part of horse ownership, and a well-stocked horse grooming kit makes the job a breeze! But which horse grooming supplies do you need? Let's take a look at some of the tools you'll want to keep in your grooming kit.
You'll need a handy place to store all of your horse grooming tools, and what better place than in a specially designed grooming tote? You'll find them in a variety of types from totes and bags to boxes and baskets, and in a variety of materials including nylon, polyester, plastic, or wood.
Shedding blades and blocks
During those early spring months when your horse is losing his winter coat, it's wise to keep some type of shedding blade, block or tool on hand to help remove loose hair. Shedding blades and blocks, such as the Slick N' Easy grooming block, make quick work of this job, and with consistent use over a few grooming sessions, you'll help your horse ease into his summer coat more quickly. Note: Some horse breeds put on very thick winter coats, and others don't, shedding out quickly on their own. For those horses, you might not find much use for a horse shedding tool, but for some breeds with thicker coats—especially pony breeds—the shedding blade can be a great tool.
At the start of your grooming session, you'll probably want to work with a rubber curry comb to help remove the majority of the dust and dirt from his coat. Use a curry comb lightly in a circular motion to bring dust to the surface.
Be sure to only use a curry comb on the main areas of his body and avoid using on sensitive places like his legs and face. Don't worry if he actually looks dirtier at this stage—you'll remove all the excess in a minute!
Now you can take your body brush and get to work making his coat look fantastic. Generally you'll use a body brush with stiff bristles first to eliminate the majority of the dust and dirt, and, like the curry comb, you'll only use the stiff bristles on his body. Next, a body brush with soft bristles can be used as a "finishing" brush to remove the last bits of dust.
Very soft brushes can be used to groom your horse's face and legs. Some horse owners might alternatively opt to use a soft cloth for these purposes. Take care around the eyes and nose of course, and in general, be very gentle when working around your horse's face and legs.
Of course your horse's appearance won't be complete without a detangled mane and tail. Using a detangler product, like Vetrolin Detangler or Laser Sheen Volume-Enhancing Detangler, can help eliminate knots and increase manageability. Large-toothed combs designed specifically for horses do a fine job in many cases, although some horse owners prefer to use a stiff mane-and-tail brush for this task to avoid pulling out any hair. The choice of comb vs. brush really depends on your preference and your horse's individual situation.
When you're bathing your horse, it's a good idea to have a sweat scraper on hand. These plastic, aluminum, or rubber tools are great for removing excess water from your horse's coat after a bath. They're also handy to have on hand for drying your horse in case he gets caught outside in the rain. (This tool is not for use on your horse's face or legs.
Unlike the other grooming tools that provide instant gratification in terms of your horse's improved appearance, work done by the hoof pick doesn't create an automatically noticeable effect, but it's still a very important tool in your grooming kit. Regular hoof cleaning helps to keep the living portion of your horse's hooves—the frog—healthy, and also ensures that debris doesn't remain lodged in the hoof's collateral grooves. Cleaning each hoof also gives you a chance to regularly inspect and make sure everything looks healthy. Find a hoof pick that works well for you—some come equipped with a brush on one side to aid in removing loose debris after the grooves have been cleaned out with the pick's angled point.
For the finishing touch at the end of a grooming session, consider an application of shine spray. This is an especially good idea after a bath. A shine spray, such as Laser Sheen Dazzling Shine & Detangler Spray or Vetrolin Shine Spray, can act as a repellent for dirt and dust, which helps keep your horse looking good for a longer time, and it also adds that show ring-ready shine to your horse's coat. Shine spray can also be used to detangle manes and tails—another convenient benefit!
Grooming sessions should be an enjoyable time for your horse; a chance for you to connect while having the opportunity to give him a daily examination. Once your grooming kit fully stocked and ready to go, you and your horse will be ready to set off on your next adventure together.
Enjoy the ride!
Slick N' Easy, Laser Sheen, Vetrolin and Farnam are trademarks of Farnam Companies, Inc.