If you own a horse, then it is quite likely that you might have witnessed some issues with your horse regarding cleanliness, comfort, and health. In fact, these are a few of the important factors that decide for how long your horse is going to stay well with you. Therefore it becomes very pertinent for you to come up with a regular grooming routine for your horse.
A clean and healthy horse is always a source of pride for its owner. It is always a delight to ride a well-groomed horse. Not just reaping maximum benefits from the horse, grooming also helps you in establishing a healthy bond with him as well.
Why Groom Your Horse?
Just like we need to take care of ourselves, the domesticated animals like horses need daily care too. So it is also in your interest to take a day off once in a while and groom your horse. The grooming benefits horses in many ways. The regular massage stimulates blood circulation on their skin and helps the coat to get rid of parasites and diseases. Some horse grooming experts suggest not wearing any gloves while grooming the horses because you may miss out unexpected lumps or injuries that might become a cause of worry for them.
It is always better to groom your horse outside in open air if the weather allows you to do so. You and your horse may not enjoy grooming process inside enclosed areas because of the presence of dust and unwanted smell. A full grooming session of a horse should take around 45 minutes or more to yield good results.
What Steps Should You Take to Groom Your Horse?
Grooming doesn’t only constitute removing dirt, broken hair, massaging and oiling the skin; it is much more than that. So if you really want to provide a comprehensive grooming to your horse, the following tips will be valuable to you:
- The first thing you need to do is to gently pick up the feet of your horse and check for trapped stones, injuries, and bruises. You can use a hoof pick to clean his grooves and to remove dirt and debris.
- Always use a clean grooming toolkit as dirty tools and brushes are not going to help your horse much.
- After you finish your ride, immediately brush your horse because this is the time when pores on his skin are open. Thus it will be easier for you to remove grease from the skin.
- While rubbing the skin of the horse use circular movements and do not forget to clean crest and rump. If possible use warm clothing to take care of knees and hocks of your horse.
- Try to use extra ten minutes per week to take care of mane and tail. But avoid excess brushing the tail as it can become thin.
- After using the grooming tools wash them every time in an antibacterial solution. Without using the sterile tools, the bruises sustained by your horse can cause infection to other parts as well.
- It doesn’t make any sense to use a dirty rug on a clean horse. Also, heavy rugs can’t be washed regularly, so a clean summer sheet can be used under the rug. This way your horse will remain dirt-free for a longer period.
- Use a well-prepared horse grooming routine and stick to it. In this way, you will be able to save a lot of time.
Essential Things You Must Know While Grooming Your Horse
Remember that regular grooming is very important for your horse but there are some important things you need to factor in while doing so:
- If the breed of your horse is Gelding or Stallion, it is better to clean his sheath every six months or so.
- Get shoes for the hooves of your horse from a good farrier because keeping him barefoot may cause him injury. The shoes in turn need to be changed every six to eight weeks.
- The use of gloves should be minimized because in that case you will not be able to feel abnormalities like heat, lumps and swellings. So if you come across any of these abnormalities on your horse’s body, immediately consult a veterinarian.
- Be careful while grooming the sensitive areas as it can make your horse feel uncomfortable, which will eventually make him misbehave or kick at you.
- At the end of grooming, use a stable cloth and run it through the body of your horse from one end to another.
- The dried mud under the surface of the skin should be brought to the surface by using slightly damp terry cloth as it picks up a lot of dirt.
- Inspect the body of your horse carefully to take note of fly bites or scabs. Moreover, the little scabs might be ticks, lice or even allergies. Contact the vet in case you have doubts.
- Do not brush your horse’s mane and tale too frequently as a frizzy mane looks unhealthy. By doing so, the mane and the tail might lose their shine.
Grooming Allows Deeper and Stronger Bonding with Your Horse
Riding can’t always be the best approach to train your horse, and it is certainly not the best one to bond with your horse. People do ride their horses daily as a method of training them, but having said that, there are better ways with which you can build loving relationship with your horse. As a result, your horse will respond you very positively.
So at the outset, taking break from riding may sound counterintuitive. But it allows you to build relationship with your horse on the ground. Indulging with your horse other than riding inculcates a mutual respect in both of you. It is very important for you to establish your importance in your horse’s life. You can incorporate some exercises such as conquering obstacles and enhancing agility, which will make him enjoy himself. Grooming cannot be completed if you are not communicative with your horse as it is a very important factor that strengthens your bond with him.