If you are anything like me you probably spend as much time grooming your horse as you do riding. Grooming is an essential part of horse ownership and important for horse care. Regular grooming allows us to check on the horses general health and well being and also strengthens the bond between you and your horse.
Some of the main reason we groom include protecting injuries and lameness, maintaining healthy skin and coat. If you are a regular competitive rider you are likely to have an even more rigorous grooming routine in order to have your horse ready for show day.
An essential tool in the grooming process is the grooming kit. The nature of the riding, climate, and terrain will determine your exact grooming kit needs but there is a few essentials every kit should have. Here are a list of some of my favorites.
#1. Curry Comb
A rubber curry comb is an essential part of any horse grooming kit. It is usually the first tool used in daily grooming and is great for loosening mud, brushing coats, and even massaging the horse. They are also great for stimulating the horses skin to release its natural oils.
There are many types of curry comb depending on your needs and time of the year. Rubber curry combs with softer teeth are great in summer for brushing down short-coated horses. In the winter you might prefer to use a thicker curry comb to take out the heavier caked mud in a longer mane and coat. Metal curry combs are also great for cleaning the rest of your brushes.
#2. Trimmed dandy brushes
The Dandy brush is a stiff hard bristled brush that is typically used for taking off thick mud off the legs and body of a horse. The stiffness of the bristles can vary depending on the brush. Dandy brushed are great for keeping the legs, fetlocks, and body clean of dirt that if left on the body could result in infection and funguses.
You should exercise caution when using the dandy brush as the bristles can be uncomfortable for the horse if used on sensitive skin.
#3. Body brush
A body brush is usually a soft brush that is used to remove the finer bits of dirt and dust that the heavy brush does not get. It is typically used to add a shine to the coat and is the last brush to be used on the horse.
Horses enjoy the soft bristles of the body brush and usually find it to be very soothing. Body brush bristles should be soft while at the same time composed of a hard wearing material that is durable. Brushed made from polyester, and horse/pig hair are popular.
#4. Hoof pick
A grooming case is not complete without a hoof pick in my opinion. It is an essential piece of kit as every horse needs their hooves picked regularly.
Picking the hoofs are key to ensuring the soundness of your horse and the hoof pick is the perfect tool for getting th mud, stones, and various other picks that get trapped. Take your time to find a good hoof pick that suits your horse. I try to make sure my hoof pick is not too sharp with a good quality plastic brush on the side
#5. Baby wipes
Horse grooming is a messy business. Oil, dirt, and grime quickly attaches itself to you, the horse, and your gear as you go through the process of grooming your horse. Baby wipes are a great way of cleaning as you go and getting some of that nasty grime off you and your horse. They are perfect for wiping, faces, hands, body, bridle, saddle and any other bits that gather mud. Make sure to get a pack that is water based as some baby wipes can be scented or else have chemicals which may affect your horse negatively.
Sudocrem is a water repellent cream that is primarily used to avoid nappy rash in babies. It has antibacterial and anti-fungal agents which also make it effective when treat scrapes and cuts. It contains a mild anesthetic to help soothe pain.
Although not marketed for horse many equestrians including me use it in a similar fashion on our horses. It is a great for treating damaged and tender skin, minor cuts, bites, and acts a barrier cream in the same way as Vaseline. Just Google sudocrem for horses to check out some of its other uses.
#7. Sweat scraper
A sweat scraper works like a window cleaner for horses and is a great way of wiping the sweat and excess water off a horse when you are washing them. It is much more efficient than drying with a towel. There are different angles and shaped sweat scrapers that depend on the type and size of horse that you have.
#8. Trimming scissors
Trimming scissors are a great for getting those long awkward hairs under the jaws and fetlocks. Trimming scissors are must if you do dressage or showjumping and need to trim the back of the horse to show off their hind quarters
#9. Pig Oil and Sulphur
This is a great one if you live in a climate with lots of mud. Pig Oil acts as a barrier to stop the mud sticking to the skin and the Sulphur helps to fight bacteria. It is also helps to prevent mites. If using for the first time make sure to do a test patch on the horse in case of a bad reaction.