Having worked with plenty of horses, all with different personalities, and sensitivities towards grooming, I can say this with confidence: having a complete basic grooming kit that is put together with care and attention will make grooming sessions so much easier. Having the right tools on hand makes the experience less stressful and turns grooming into an opportunity through which you and your horse can bond.
Although, you may have the urge to buy fancy tools and gadgets for your grooming kit, a small collection of brushes and combs are all that is necessary to keep your horse clean, well groomed, and healthy. Each brush or comb in the kit should serve a different purpose. For a basic kit, I suggest you stay away from the lure of pricey horse grooming gadgets.
Here is a list of the essentials every expert suggests that you must have in your horse grooming kit:
A body brush is an absolute essential in every horse grooming kit. It is a versatile soft bristled brush that is used to remove grease, dirt, and dust from the coat. A body brush with soft bristles can be used on sensitive areas including the head.
Besides the soft bristled body brush you will also require a brush with long stiff bristles in your kit. This type of brush is used to remove dry surface dirt off the coat. Due to the stiff nature of a dandy brush, it should not be used on the sensitive parts of the horse’s body.
The water brush is another brush with stiff bristles designed for the purpose of applying water to the horse’s coat, mane or tail. Many people use their dandy brush as a water brush, however, most experts agree that it is best to have a separate water brush with synthetic bristles.
Mane and tail brush
Another important brush in the equine grooming kit is one to brush through the horse’s mane and tail to easily remove knots and tangles. A good quality mane and tail brush minimizes breakage and allows you to brush through quickly.
Metal and rubber curry combs
A rubber curry comb should be used at the start of grooming to remove the majority of mud and loose hair from the horse before following with the dandy brush for stubborn grime. In late winter/early spring you should start with a metal curry comb to remove unwanted winter coat from the horse.
The best quality and durable mane combs are usually made of metal, and their purpose is to comb the mane and tail of the horse. Experts suggest using mane combs for pulling manes, and to comb sections of manes that you plan on plaiting, but a mane comb is also great for daily maintenance.
Another essential in the equine grooming kit, hoof picks are used to remove dirt and stones packed into the underside of the horse’s hooves. Hoof picks are usually made out of plastic or metal. Hoof picks with a brush on the other end are also a great choice.
No grooming kit is complete without a selection of sponges. This versatile tool can be used for cleaning eyes, nose and dock area during washing, as well as for cleaning wounds. You can also use a sponge for fine dust removal, making it an absolute essential. A sponge can be used to groom the sensitive areas of the horse.
Used to remove access water after washing or sweat from the horse, a sweat scraper consists of a handle and rubber edges on an arched head, known as the half-moon sweat scrapper. Variants made out of metal and plastic are easily available.
Grooming kit bag
Organization is the key to an enjoyable grooming session. Having each tool readily accessible allows you to move from one stage to the next efficiently and with confidence. This saves time and makes the whole experience more relaxed for both you and your horse.
Invest in a durable kit bag with enough space to keep each tool organized so that you can reach for it easily. You never want to take attention away from the horse while you dig though your kit bag looking for the right brush or comb, especially when the horse is young or unfamiliar to you.
There is a wide variety of choice of grooming kit bags or boxes, so you are sure to find something that fits your needs.
Grooming is not just about making the horse clean and looking good, it is an important opportunity to get to know the horse and to learn its personality. You should also be using this time to check the animal for early signs of injury or discomfort. Investing in good quality durable combs and brushes will make this easier and more gratifying, and most importantly, it will minimize danger and stress.