Tips for a Well-Groomed Horse

Tips for a Well-Groomed Horse

Learn some easy, day-to-day horse grooming tips and bathing basics for horse-showing success.

grooming a horse with a brush (Credit: Allison Daniel)

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A horse relies on his hair, skin secretions and a thin film of dust to protect against insect bites, scraping, chafing and chapping. The natural grime hosts friendly bacteria; however, regular grooming is still necessary to help ensure a healthy and happy horse. A good horse grooming routine also helps stimulate the natural oils in the coat that help make the coat shiny. 

Even if you cannot groom your horse every day, make sure you at least curry and brush him to remove dead hair and dirt. On other days, when you have more time, follow these horse grooming tips:

Quick Tips for Horse Grooming and Washing:

  • Do not let dirt build up on brushes during grooming. Knock off the coarse dirt and hairs after each session.
  • Practice makes perfect. The best way to be good at clipping is to practice (preferably not right before the show).
  • Keep it natural. A horse’s mane and tail are supposed to look natural, even after they are clipped.
  • Go easy on the soap! Excess shampoo is difficult to rinse out, can leave skin itchy and strips away essential oils from your horse.
  • Have different-size sponges handy: a large one for the body and a smaller one for the sheath, other delicate areas and for the face.
  • Use a mild conditioner for the mane and tail after washing.
  • Towel dry when done, and dry your horse’s heels to avoid cracking and drying.

Daily grooming also prevents saddle sores from forming on or around his back, enhances circulation and stimulates cold muscles, and helps prevent problems by spotting minor scratches, rashes, cuts or swelling before they become serious. 

Horse Grooming Supplies:

  • Curry comb.
  • Medium- and hard-bristle brush.
  • Soft body brush.
  • Rub rag or grooming mitt.
  • Hoof pick.
  • Plastic comb or brush for the mane and tail.

Horse Bathing Supplies: 

  • Rubber curry comb or mitt.
  • Adjustable-spray nozzle and a hose.
  • Bucket.
  • Shampoo formulated for horses.
  • Mane and tail conditioner.
  • Sponges.
  • Sweat scraper.
  • Towels.