Horse grooming is one of the most important aspects of horse care and is the process by which their coat is cleaned, and otherwise attended to enhance their physical appearance for horse shows and similar competitions. However, this is not the only reason to groom a horse, as it can massage the horse’s muscles and improve blood circulation. Grooming also includes cleaning mud and dirt from its fur. It should be noted that grooming is not necessary for every horse. Wild horses for example, get by just fine without ever being groomed. Domestic horses are expected to be clean so grooming ever so often is recommended. The grease in a horse’s coat help maintain and regulate body temperature so if the horse is worked outdoors regularly, grooming it too often is not advised. Grooming requires certain specialised tools including several types of brushes such as bristle brushes, curry combs, mane brushes to care for the fur, as well as hoof picks, sweat scrapers, and sponges to clean the dirt more thoroughly. A grooming session is also a good time to check the horse for other injuries, diseases or changes in behaviour that might assist in diagnosing different issues or those that require medical attention, missing horseshoes and weight loss are other things to look out for. Horseshoes have a substantial impact on a horse’s hoof health and finding good quality horseshoes for sale can go a long way in preventive care for a horse.
The primary objective in grooming a horse is to wipe its coat and clean the mud and dirt that can accumulate over several days of work. Other than the coat, it’s hooves and legs should also be cleaned. The coat can be groomed with a brush gently, while avoiding sensitive areas with the thick bristles of the brush. The hooves can be cleaned with a hoof pick, which can remove any dried mud and dirt that might be stuck there. A damp sponge can be used to clean the horse’s eyes, nose, and other sensitive areas. Larger sponges are used to clean the legs. Once the horse is clean of the mud, a comb can be used to brush the coat. This massages the horse’s skin which improves circulation and encourages secretion of various oils that nourish the horse’s skin.
Inspection and Treatment
Grooming is a good opportunity to inspect the horse for any injuries or indicators of such, marked by the horse’s behaviour. Bot fly eggs might be present on the horse’s skin which should be removed. A bot knife can be used for this purpose. The eggs are usually laid on the legs or shoulder and cling to the fur. They are about the size of a grain of sand and can be removed by scraping the area with some pressure.
Maintaining the horse’s appearance is also important if it competes in events. The mane can be brushed to remove knots, and the coat can be made shinier by thoroughly brushing it. Hood polish can be used to give the hooves a more striking appearance as well.