How to groom a horse for beginners. Hmmm…
If you’re reading this, then odds are you’re learning how to groom your horse as a beginner. Horse grooming is an essential responsibility of an equestrian. As humans, our jobs often require us to be well-groomed.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that our equine friends need to be regularly well-kempt, too in order to perform at their best. A saddle sitting on a dirty horse can cause sores and discomfort—ouch! Plus, a tangled mane and tail look shabby and prevent hair growth.
But the benefits of grooming a horse are many. Not only does it improve the bond between horse and groomer, but it’s excellent for skin health and improves the horse’s mood. So, it’s safe to say that a healthy horse means a well-groomed horse.
How to Groom a Horse for Beginners – Use These Tools
The following items are what you’re going to need to groom your horse. They’re not listed in any particular order of importance. In fact, all of these tools are important. So don’t stress. Also, I’ll provide links for where you can buy some of these items.
8 Must-Have Tools for Grooming Your Horse
A curry comb loosens dirt and helps remove mud and hair from the horse’s coat. With this particular rubber curry comb, you can actually brush your horse’s face as well as his full body. It’s ergonomically designed so that it’s easy to grip, but comfortable in your hand.
I recommend Wahl Professional Animal Equine Grooming Rubber Curry Horse Brush. Wahl’s is a reputable hair grooming supplier for animals and humans. They’re also super affordable. You can buy it on Amazon. Here are the other tools you’ll need:
Tail conditioner and detangler
How to Groom a Horse for Beginners – Step 1
First things first – tie up your horse. This step probably seems obvious, but it’s important not to skip even if your horse is great about staying in place. Horses suddenly move their feet and shift their weight, causing issues while grooming. So, to avoid any problems mid-groom, it’s best to tie your horse up.
How to Groom a Horse for Beginners – Step 2
The curry comb, hard brush, soft brush, and a wide-toothed comb are your friends.
A horse is all coat. So the next few steps in the grooming process are brushing. Now, you can add all kinds of brushes to your collection, but you’ll really only need four to get the job done.
The Curry Comb
Old hair, debris, and dirt can get stuck in your horse’s coat, and this is where the curry comb comes into play. Start with very small (palm-size) circular motions from the neck, down each side of the horse. This will begin loosening the mud from the coat. But remember, stay away from the legs, ears, face, and tail with this comb, as these areas are more sensitive.
The Hard Brush
After using the Curry comb to break up all the dirt, it’s time for the Hard brush. Using short but brisk strokes, go over your horse’s coat. You’ll need to avoid the sensitive areas with this brush as well, as it can irritate. The below Wahl Combo Brush combines soft and hard brush in one.
The Soft Brush
Next comes the soft brush. The soft bristles of a soft brush release the horse’s natural oils and provide an overall sheen. It might even be worth investing in a higher-quality brush if you’re looking to achieve that extra slick and smooth appearance.
The Wide-Tooth Comb
A wide-tooth comb is used for the mane and tail. Some groomers avoid using a comb on their horse’s mane and tail to prevent pulling out hair. However, if using a wide-tooth comb, then keep in mind that it works best when coupled with a detangler.
But there’s more to this step, so here are some other items to keep in mind:
Mane and Tail – It’s Kind of a Big Deal
In addition to a wide-tooth comb, several other items will help ensure beautiful hair. First, a tail conditioner is needed to soften the hair. Make sure to run your hand gently through the tail to help loosen any major knots and kinks.
Next, holding the bottom of the tail, gently begin to comb upwards. The more course the hair, the more tangles there are, and adding an excellent detangler to the mix will help solve this problem.
How to Groom a Horse for Beginners – Step 3
Now we’re getting into a really sensitive area. The horse’s hooves. You really need to be careful. If you don’t have a good relationship with your horse, he may not comply. So read below how to gingerly clean your horse’s hooves.
Cleaning Hooves – Not As Scary As You Think
This step requires a bit of patience as you’ll need to have your horse lift its legs so that you can pick and condition its hooves. To do this, you’ll first need to establish a positive connection between you and the horse.
Hopefully, you’ve been establishing a positive connection with your horse all along so that he’s not alarmed by what you’re asking him to do.
Next, you’ll want to run your hand slowly down the horse’s leg and gently squeeze its ankles. This lets the horse know that you want it to lift its hooves. Then, using a hoof pick, begin digging out the dirt. Finally, apply a small amount of hoof conditioner depending on how brittle they are.
Keeping the horse’s feet moisturized is vital. Otherwise, the hoof wall will dry up.
How to Groom a Horse for Beginners – Step 4
Now, you say, what about the face? No grooming session is complete without a face wash. Gently wash around your horse’s eyes, face, behind the ears, and dock area (by the tail) using two damp washcloths (one for the front and the other for the behind).
How to Groom a Horse for Beginners – Step 5
Don’t Forget the Horsefly Spray
Last but not least, it’s now time to apply the horsefly spray. Flies are pesky little things, and they can be a nuisance to both the rider and horse. The latter is particularly true during the hot and sticky times of the year.
So, when finished with the grooming process, spray your equine down with some horsefly spray to help prevent your horse from getting bitten.
Super Important – Never, Ever Stand Behind a Horse!
Whether you are a seasoned rider or a brand-new equestrian, it’s necessary to consider the potential dangers. Always groom your horse from the side and never from behind. A bonus is to touch your equine regularly while tail-grooming as a friendly reminder that you are still nearby.
Now You’re All Set and Ready-to-Go
Now that you have the basic steps in grooming a horse, it’s time to put them into action. It takes practice before getting into a proper grooming routine. But patience is your friend. And in no time, this daunting task will become a soothing therapeutic session for both you and your horse.
By the way, now that your horse is groomed, you’ll want to keep your saddle cleaned too! Don’t know how? Then, read my post, How to Clean a Western Saddle. Was this post helpful to you? Please leave your comments below. I love hearing from my readers.