Horse lovers across the globe are well aware of the joys of getting to own their own horse. Without a doubt, horses are lovely creatures. They are faithful, they are agile, and they are beautiful. If you happen to be a landowner or live somewhere in the country, you’ll be aware of the pleasures of riding your equine friend during lazy summer evenings.
But, as with any pet, there is a lot consider before making the commitment to buying a horse, and you need to make sure you can provide the space, money and, above all else, time the horses in your care deserve.
Once you have bought a horse, you need to take good care of it. Most owners opt to stable their horses. But even if you believe in letting them roam free, you still need to provide a shelter that they can use when needed.
The most important part of owning a horse is grooming. And quite frankly, if you you don’t think of grooming as a fun activity, maybe you should reconsider ownership. They are riding clubs etc, that offer the pleasure of riding horses, without the daily chore of grooming. Grooming a horse regularly is necessary as it lets you keep track of the injuries that your equine friend may have suffered during intense riding sessions.
I wrote recently that there are number of accessories needed to groom your horse well. I recommend you read that post, but in summary here are the essentials that you need to buy:
- A curry comb and combs for the mane and tail
- A soft body brush, a dandy brush with stiff bristles, and a water brush
- A hoof pick
- A cotton cloth or sweat scraper to wipe off moisture and sweat
- Several sponges
- A finishing brush
Furthermore, it is important to keep all your tools well organized. Choose a durable bag or box with suitable compartments to keep each item separate and easy to find. If possible, designate a spot in the stable or shed to keep all your grooming stuff.
Don’t go for the cheapest stuff on the market. Buying cheap and sub-standard accessories can lead to irritation and rashes. But at the same time, don’t overpay for fancy gadgets that claim to do this or that, keep things simple.
Once you’ve bought your grooming kit, make an extra effort to be observant for a few weeks, as not all accessories go well with all the horses. Different horses have different requirements. You may need to try out a few models and designs or to employ different grooming techniques in order to keep the horse happy and healthy at first, which is another reason not to go all out on the most expensive kit straight away.
Here are a few handy grooming techniques that will help you ensure that the horse stays comfortable and cheerful.
Keep the grooming brush clean
Always invest in heavy-duty grooming brushes. Buying a low-cost brush can be a false-economy. Also, it is equally important to keep the brush clean and tidy. Using a dirty brush can lead to skin irritation and infections. Furthermore, it goes pretty much without saying that a well maintained brush will last much longer than a dirty brush with scattered bristles.
Don’t use the same brush for grooming all of your horses
Also, it’s best if you don’t use the same brush to groom all your horses. If one of your horses is suffering from an infection, using the same brush might transmit any infectious agents to your other healthy horses.
Curry the horse regularly
Currying allows the oils present in the horse’s skin to come up on the surface. Curries also help remove hair whenever your horse sheds. In case you’re a first-time horse owner, you’ll be surprised to know that different seasons call for different curries. Metal blades are used during winter whereas rubber brushes are used frequently during summer. Currying is something you should do at the start of every grooming session. Use plenty of elbow grease, it’s the best and has no substitute.
I advise to brush the hair in the direction of hair growth, and special attention should be paid while brushing the mane and tail to make sure that the hair isn’t tangled. Using products like Equi-Spa’s Fairy Tales line, make this task easy by preventing the buildup of debris and tangles in the hair. This means you don’t have to brush as often, which is good, since over-brushing can cause the hair to become weak and easy to break.
How frequently should the horses be groomed?
Groom your horses daily. Grooming will help them relax especially after a long and tedious workout. Make sure all the muck and dirt is removed, these can cause skin irritation, rashes, cracked heels, etc.
Grooming removes sweat, which can cause a lot of problems in the long run, including skin irritation, saddle sores and other skin issues after it turns into salt.
The different types of combs that can be used
As stated earlier, different seasons call for different kinds of curry combs to be used. Here are a few curry combs you can choose to buy:
This one’s a beast. It lacks flexibility and can cause discomfort if your horse’s skin is sensitive. Using a metal comb vigorously can cause rashes. It is advisable to not use the metal combs over areas that are bony such as below the elbows and shoulders. These combs are mostly used to remove dirt and fallen hair. The traditional metal combs are mostly used to remove shedding hair, so you should use these mostly in late winter/early spring (or as appropriate for your local climate) once the weather starts to get warmer.
These are used the most frequently because they are cheap, readily available, and come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. These combs have different degrees of flexibility as well. You can choose to buy a stiffer one if your horse feels comfortable. Rubber combs cause less discomfort and so are suitable to use on horses that don’t like metal combs. Rubber combs are used to remove the majority of mud and loose hair from the horse at the start of grooming, and can be used all year round.
These have been made keeping sensitive horses in mind. You can use these combs on on the underside, face, and lower-legs and other sensitive areas. They can be folded and can reach every nook of a horse’s body. Furthermore, these combs are optimally-sized and can be cleaned easily as well.
These are known to be quite versatile. They can be folded with ease. meaning you can take them along on a long ride. Jelly mitts rarely cause discomfort and can be used frequently even on particularly sensitive horses.
Now, that’s pretty much about it. Just make it a point to groom your horse regularly. It will not only keep them healthy, but will also help strengthen the bond between you both.