Whether you are for competitive sporting, personal riding exercise or just as a companion, owning a horse can be a fun and fulfilling experience for anyone. To keep your horse happy and healthy, you need to make grooming a crucial part of your routine. This involves taking care of the coat, hair, hooves and any other horse care related activities.
Therefore, you need to understand that owning a horse is not only a long-term commitment, but also calls for your time and energy. Besides, you need to invest in the best grooming tools such as horse clippers, hoof pick, brush and a comb to make the grooming session enjoyable for both you and the horse. Below are some of the benefits of grooming your horse:
- Regular horse grooming gives you the opportunity to examine the animal’s general health and well beings like identifying swelling, cuts, lameness and abnormal temperament.
- It helps to improve the coat and skin.
- Creates an opportunity for bonding between the horse and the handler.
- Reduces the risk of other health-related issues.
- It keeps the stallion clean and fresh, giving it the feel and looks of the champion it is.
While most handlers understand the basics and importance of horse grooming, some still wonder how often they need it. This post will help you understand how often you should groom your horse and some extra tips for horse owners.
Make it a Habit to Groom your Horse Regularly
Not all horses are equal and they are accustomed to different conditions. Therefore, the grooming schedule depends on a number of factors including the season, environment and lifestyle. However, your pony deserves thorough grooming on a daily basis, especially before and after riding or exercise.
Basic Horse Grooming Routine
- Daily Currying – Whether you are riding the horse or not, it is important to set aside some time to curry every day. Currying makes the hair particles soft, making them smooth to give the horse a shiny coat. Moreover, it removes dead skin, lifts the dirt and distributes the natural oil on the coated surface, making your horse shiny.
The technique involves using a stiff/hard brush to curry in circular motions against the hair grain. You should then use a soft/ dandy brush to remove the specks of dust and finer particles, adding extra shine and soothing the horse. Currying provides 3 major benefits:
- Lifting dirt and shedding hair.
- Massaging and stimulating the muscles and skin.
- Spreading the natural skin oil to add shine and keep the hair healthy.
- Bathing Your Horse – You can either bathe your horse by wetting it down with a hosepipe or sponge it off using water in a small container, preferably, a bucket. Horses do not require daily bathing, but it is important to sponge them after a ride or a usual turn out to remove dirt especially on the face and the ears.
It is always good practice to bathe your horse before a horse show to remove any dirt on its coat. You may use a human or horse shampoo and then hair conditioner/cream, rinse thoroughly to moisturize the fur.
It is also a great idea to hose your horse after a heavy exercise to cool it down. Rinsing your horse after a daily workout or an intensive exercise is also necessary to get rid of the sweat. However, you should limit the shampooing to at most once a week as it may dry out the hair.
- Leg and Face Cleaning – It is important to wash the face and the legs daily with baby shampoo and a gentle antibacterial soap respectively. After washing, you need to keep them completely dry for maximum health.
Tips for Keeping your Horse Clean
You can minimize the bathing with the following tips:
- Keeping the stalls clean – Picking the stalls twice or thrice a day can help to keep your pony cleaner.
- Clipping the Horse – Short hair makes the horse look neat and is easy to maintain. You can use a damp towel to clean your clipped horse. Clipping can also help to prevent scratches (a chronic disease of the skin).
Tips for Grooming the Hooves
It is important to examine and attend to the hooves of your horse every day to prevent serious foot infections. Use a hoof pick to carefully remove all the dirt and debris from the hooves, examine the hooves for any issues and dress the hooves to prevent cracking, tender feet and lost shoes among other issues.
Additionally, hooves require trimming every 4 to 10 weeks to ease the discomfort because of overgrown hooves.
Grooming Your Horse Before and After a Ride
Before you take a ride on your horse, you need to examine the entire body to ensure that it is fit to ride. Check the health of the hooves as well as the grit under the girth/saddle to prevent sores.
Also grooming after the ride removes the sweat and dirt that accumulates during the exercise. The thorough inspection may also help to detect health problems at an early stage to treat them before they escalate into bigger issues.
Conclusion Generally, it is important to groom your horse every day to keep it happy and healthy at all times. Daily grooming techniques include: currying, hoof picking, face and leg washing and detangling the mane and tail. However, some grooming depends on the horse’s daily activities, season and horse activities. The above guidelines should help you determine when and how you need to care for your horse.