Grooming Tips for Horses

Get ready for horse-showing success.

From Tractor Supply Co.

Grooming is an important part of horse care, especially for horses who are used in competition or show. Regular grooming improves the health of the skin and coat, decreases the chances of various health problems, such as thrush and skin problems, and helps to build a relationship between horse and handler. Get your horse show-ready with these helpful grooming tips.

Grooming Tools of the Trade:

•    Curry comb or textured mitt
•    Shedding blade or textured block
•    Stiff-bristled dandy brush
•    Soft, short-bristled body brush
•    Rub rag
•    Hoof pick
•    Hair brush or plastic comb for mane and tail
•    Vacuum cleaner (optional)

Winning runs are more than just gifted horses and great horsemanship. Showmanship is just as important to showcase your talents and 'wow' the judges. AQHA's "Showing to Win" DVD series helps horseman in many disciplines develop the edge to win in the show pen.

Using a Grooming Vacuum on Your Horse

A grooming vacuum can be used on dry horses who have already been curried. Vacuuming in the direction of the hair is most comfortable, but you can go against the grain for dirty spots on tolerant animals. Afterward, a quick brushing and wipe-down will push the hair flat and add some shine.

Protecting Your Grooming Tools and Supplies

Prevent dirt buildup on brushes by swiping them across a curry comb every few strokes. After each session, rub brushes together to knock off the coarse dirt and hairs. For a monthly deep cleaning, vacuum brush bristles down to the roots.

Then soak them for 10 minutes in two gallons of water containing a quarter cup of bleach. Rinse, then put them in the sun to dry.

Protect your grooming tools by storing them in a sturdy plastic carrier with a secure lid. Arrange brushes so their bristles won't be flattened; a good technique is to press two brushes together to interlock their bristles.

Conditioning: Check. Grooming: Check. Tack: Check. All the components are there to be successful in the show ring, but there is still something keeping you and your horse from securing a spot in the winner's circle. Find the missing component just in time for the Novice and World championship shows. AQHA's "Showing to Win" DVD series provides all of the information you need to be successful at your next event.

Bathing Tools of the Trade

•    Rubber currycomb or mitt
•    Hose with adjustable spray attachment
•    Bucket
•    Shampoo
•    Mane and tail conditioner
•    Sponges
•    Scraper, chamois or special synthetic grooming cloth
•    Towels

Bath-Time Tips

Excessive shampoo is difficult to rinse out and can leave skin itchy, so go easy on the soap. Use only about half the amount you think you need. Have three sponges handy: a large one for the body, a smaller one for the sheath and other delicate areas, and another small one for the face. If your horse fusses when he's rinsed, keep the face sponge soap-free. Rinse, scrape and rinse again. Outfit him in a cooler and/or walk him until he is dry to prevent pneumonia. A fabric softener sheet works great for preventing frizzies down your horse's tail.

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