Grooming your horse is not only a way to clean him up a bit; it’s also healthy for them. Most horses enjoy being groomed, and grooming helps with blood circulation and also to bring out the natural oils in the coat to give it a nice shine. There are a large variety of grooming tools available, but the most basic needed are the rubber curry comb, the stiff or “dandy” brush, the soft or “finishing” brush, a hoof pick and usually a mane and tail comb. If you plan on working on your horse’s mane and tail, using a detangler is a good idea, so you don’t harm your horse’s hair.
Start off using your rubber curry comb. Plastic curry combs aren’t the most comfortable for horses, and metal should never really used. Curry combs should be used in a circular motion, like your waxing your car. Make sure you press gently but firmly so you can get the caked dirt to the surface of the coat and to aid in blood circulation. Curry the horse’s neck, barrel [torso area], hindquarters, and legs. Be careful when currying near the face, as some horses aren’t too found with this. The belly and flank and also areas where should be careful,, horses tend to be ticklish there.
Once you’ve worked the dirt to the surface with the curry comb you can begin using the stiff or dandy brush. It’s usually made of stiff, plastic bristles. Start brushing from the top line of your horse and work your way downwards. Use the brush in short, quick flicks to maximize dirt removal. When used in long strokes, you’ll find all it really does is spread dirt instead of whisking it way. Brush all the way down to your horse’s hooves and fetlock area. And if you’d like you can even brush the dirt and dust off the hoof wall, but be careful not to do this often as it can ever-so-slightly thin the wall and dry it out. Finish off by using the soft or finishing brush all over your horse’s body to sweep away and dirt you missed. This brush is also useful around your horse’s face because of it’s very soft bristles.
When picking out a hoof, always pick in the direction away from yourself. You don’t want to get dirt on yourself, or worse, accidentally injure yourself or your horses. Be gentler around the frog [triangular shaped portion], as this is more sensitive than the rest of the hoof. Get your hoof pick in all the grooves of the hoof and horseshoe. Finish off by taking the brush on the back of your hoof pick or an extra stiff brush to get out any remaining dirt. Repeat for all four hooves. When detangling the mane or tail, apply detangler to your hands and use your fingers to get out the worst of the knots. Then take your mane and tail comb and run it through the hair to neaten it and find any knots you may have missed.