Must-Have Horse Grooming Tools

Must-Have Horse Grooming Tools

Professionals and judges share their horse grooming tips and tricks.

gray horse halter class (Credit: Journal)

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The American Quarter Horse Journal logo

By Katie Navarra

There are no shortcuts or substitutions for hard work, and that proves especially true when it comes to horse grooming

We asked a handful of professionals to share their favorite tools that are part of their professional horse grooming routine. The advice they offer can aid in making horse coats shiny and help all horses look professional.
Rubber Curry Comb 
It’s an essential tool for any exhibitor, especially halter exhibitors. AQHA Professional Horseman and Judge Don McDuffee buys curries 250 at a time and uses a new one nearly every day. AQHA Professional Horseman Ronald Stratton says he wears out 20 rubber curry combs per month and once the teeth lose their sharpness, it’s time for a new curry.

Soft Brush 
Don instructs his staff to use a soft brush after a good currying. 

Soft Towel 
Don rubs the horse’s entire body with a clean, soft towel twice a day. The rag brings the natural coat oils to the surface and whisks away loose dust and dander. 

The vacuum suction effectively removes even the smallest dirt and dander particles. For the greatest effectiveness, vacuum up into the mane and into the tail dock to remove all dandruff. Consider a built-in vacuum system, which eliminates dragging electrical cords and carrying bulky equipment to each stall in the barn. 

Coat Conditioner
This type of leave-in conditioner, like Premier Rose Conditioner Concentrate, can take the place of a multitude of products and can be mixed a little heavier or a little thinner for daily or show-day grooming.

Insect Repellent
It kills gnats, fleas and other pesky bugs that detract from a well-turned out horse.

Gel Baby Oil 
On show day, Ron chooses a gel baby oil rather than a traditional face grease to create a more natural look.

About the Experts

AQHA Professional Horseman and Judge Don McDuffee of Ocala, Florida, has been associated with nearly 70 world champions through breeding, foaling, fitting, training and showing. He started showing horses as a teenager and began specializing in halter horses after relocating from New England to the Southeast.

J. T. Mitchell is an AQHA Professional Horseman and AQHA and World Conformation Horse Association judge based in Aubrey, Texas. He and wife Katie have accumulated more than 180 halter world championships.

AQHA Professional Horseman Ronald Stratton of Blountville, Tennessee, is also a carded AQHA and WCHA judge who has earned more than 20 world championships. He began showing halter horses 30 years ago after falling in love with conformation and grooming.