Howdy Tumblies! Welcome to the second installment of our monthly blog about all things horses! New to the blog? Check out Horse Tails #1 here.
Now that you’ve established yourself with horses, it’s the perfect time to learn about basic care! There are many different techniques for grooming – especially when it comes to varying styles for showing. However, if you are only concerned with your horse being clean enough to jump on his or her back, then these steps are perfect for you!
My favorite tool is the curry comb (far left in the photo). Not only does the curry loosen much of the dirt in the coat, it can massage your horse into relaxation when used correctly. Take the curry and use in a circular motion all over the horse. The more elbow grease, the better! If you’re planning only a quick brushing before mounting, make sure to be thorough in at least the areas covered by the saddle and cinch. This will help avoid any discomfort caused by dirt or small rocks being compressed by the saddle.
Next I like to use a soft bristled brush to remove any excess dirt or hair brought up by the curry. Brush with the grain of the coat, beginning from the highest point on the horse and work your way down. This keeps dirt from being brushed into already cleaned areas.
There are also brushes designed specifically for all other parts of the body. We won’t cover them all here, but shopping for your perfect set sure is fun!
2. Hoof Cleaning
This next step is much more important than brushing. Keeping your horse’s hooves clean benefit not only their comfort level and performance, but also their health. Think of the hoof like one large finger nail. Just as you can get things stuck under your nails that can cause pain, infection, and numerous other issues, the same can be said for hooves.
Rocks are an easy culprit to see and remove. Run your hand down the back of the leg. If the horse is trained and responsive, they should pick up their foot for you. Take a hoof pick and work your way around the frog (the soft triangle in the center of the hoof). Be gentle against the frog. This is a sensitive part of the hoof with blood flow and nerve endings.
Keep an eye out for thrush, a common but potentially fatal hoof disease characterized by flaky white powder. It can be caused by wet or muddy conditions – this also brings up the importance of keeping your horse’s stall clean and dry!
Pay attention to the horse’s body language throughout this process. With your face so close to their feet, it is easy for accidents to happen if they become agitated and kick.
Your horse is all set for tacking and riding! On the next Horse Tails, we will cover tacking up and mounting.
Got any questions! Let us know in the comments!