Everything You Need to Know About Grooming Your Horse

Grooming is an important part of caring for your horse and so it is worth investing in the time and equipment to make sure that this is done properly.

In this article I have a video which shows the grooming process and at the end of the post I have information on specific grooming tools and their purpose.

Why DO You Groom a Horse?

One of the main reasons why we need to groom a horse is because we want to ride them. This means that they will be wearing tack such as a saddle and bridle which can rub against dirt or loose hair on the body. So even though horses in the wild are never groomed it is the way that we have used them in domestic settings that means this is now important.

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In the wild, horses will rub against trees and roll in order to get rid of loose hair. The mud acts as a natural cleaner.

Domestic grooming is also a beneficial way to bond with your horse and check over your horse’s body for cuts or injuries.

If mud is not removed then saddle sores or girth galls can begin to form, in places where the tack runs against bits of mud or dirt on the body.

The following image taken from horses.about.com illustrates how the skin can be rubbed raw if this is left untreated or not spotted early enough.

horse saddle sores
Saddle sore and scars on a horse’s back. Image Credit::Bob Langrish /Dorling Kindersley /Getty Images


How to Groom a Horse (video)

In the following short video Janice Plourd, courtesy of the How to Horse channel, provides a very useful and educational video on how to groom a horse at her own farm. She takes you through the tools and provides a systematic grooming regime that is easy to watch. This shows how to groom, pick out a hoof and groom delicate parts of the horse.

What The Horse Grooming Tools Actually Do

In grooming there are a number of basic tools that are required, which are described below.

  • Hoof pick – to clean the horse’s hoof and pick out any dirt or stones that may have got trapped in the foot of the horse.
  • Curry comb – to clean dirt out of the horse’s coat. Some horses are more sensitive than others and rather than using a metal or hard curry comb you might need a softer one (or a kit as shown below)
  • Body brush – this is a stiffer brush used over the horse’s body, again some animals can be more sensitive than others and may not like even this brush.
  • Soft brush – used to finish off grooming and sometimes preferred by more sensitive horses as a general grooming brush
  • Mane and Tail Brush – is useful for horses that have thick manes and tails, but thinner ones might need more gentle handling

If a horse is groomed regularly then less effort is obviously required per session. This is important especially for grooming the tail, where there is the risk of pulling out hairs each time it is groomed.


Buying Grooming Equipment

There are lots of options when it comes to purchasing grooming kits and most equine suppliers will have offers on cheap sets. If you are are new to grooming (or your old kit has just seen the end of its days) then buying a matching set of good quality equipment is the best place to start.

Apart from the saddle and bridle a horse doesn’t need that much expensive equipment and so an investment in a decent grooming kit will save money and time in the end. Like any craft tool the better quality it is the easier it is to work with, and with grooming tools you will be using them nearly everyday.

image horse grooming kit
A good quality kit is nicer to work with and will last longer. It is also more durable and can cope better with tough tangles.


Oster Equine Care Series 7-Piece Grooming Kit, Blue

In the Oster kit shown here are the following items;

  • Hoof pick
  • Course curry comb
  • Stiff grooming brush
  • Softer finishing brush
  • Mane and Tail brush
  • Mane and Tail comb

All of these items are also available individually if you just want to add to an existing kit.



Once you have a basic grooming kit you can add anything that you want to support your own style of grooming, for example in the video a grooming mit was used, which was an alternative to using a soft curry comb.

image equine curry mits for grooming Equi Star Rubber Grooming Mitt

In addition to the grooming tools there are plenty of options for shampooing and cleaning products to use on your horse. You only really need a general purpose shampoo (for horses) which is preferable to using ordinary domestic washing up liquid. Another article on this site looks at preparing your horse for a show and explains more about washing and shampooing your horse.

For further information on horse grooming equipment you might be interested in this article.


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