Grooming is the perfect opportunity to improve your relationship and connection with your horse. It improves your horse’s health and appearance, promotes circulation, and allows you to check for injuries, irritations, bumps, or scrapes.
There are times we rush through grooming. When we do that, the horse is not even sure what just happened. Grooming can be enjoyable and relaxing for both you and your horse. It should be done daily regardless of what you are or are not going to do with your horse that day.
Many people never get to experience the country cowgirl’s way of life. Slow down and learn to enjoy the simple things with your horse. Grooming is one of those things. A great grooming session can help in finding inner peace and a connection with your horse. A beautiful day is not just perfect for riding, it is perfect for a relaxing day in the sun spent grooming and talking to your horse. Mix it up by occasionally changing where you groom. Make it more interesting by seeing if you can stay in one place and move your horse around you until you have reached every spot.
Grooming starts with the right tools:
* curry comb or grooming mitt
* body brush with fairly stiff bristles
* mane and tail comb (plastic causes less breakage than metal)
* fine, soft-bristled finishing brush
* hoof pick
* clean sponge, soft cloth, and/or soft face curry and brush
Also nice to have:
* Grooming spray or wipes
* Mane and tail detangler
* Hoof ointment if recommended by your farrier
* Scissors or clippers
* Rubber Bands
1. Brush from front to back, top to bottom, for the most efficient effort.
2. Curry first in a circular motion to loosen dirt and hair. Then use your stiff brush to whisk away the loosened dirt from the surface. You can use a brush (the stiffer version and the softer version) in each hand to help with massaging.
3. As you groom, check legs for heat or swelling.
4. Brush the mane and tail and braid it if you like. Using detangler makes this easier.
5. Clip or pull a mane if necessary for showing.
6. Pick out your horse’s feet. Check for bruising and rocks.
7. Gently wipe the face with a dampened cloth or sponge.
When you approach grooming with awareness of yourself (are you being soft in body and mind?) and of your horse (did he move away from you or give you those puppy dog eyes that say “more please”?) you are making a deposit in your relationship account with your horse that will pay off big. Don’t let the quickness of today’s society creep into your horse life.
Horses can teach you a lot about people. Listen when they whisper. Slow down and smell the horses.
AQHA professional horsewomen Angelia Robinette-Dublin and Jenny Lance of www.LiveToRideHorses.com are authors of the article series “Who Says a Trail Horse Isn’t a Performance Horse?”
Others who read this article have also inquired about: equine massage, equine health, horse health, equine therapy and holistic horse