As horse owners, we take pride in our horses' health and appearance. A well groomed, radiant horse makes a statement. Here are some essential grooming tips that will make your horse be the envy of the barn and a statement of your care!
Want a longer and more healthy mane and tail? The secret is to mess with it as little as possible. If you need to brush the mane, use a detangler spray or serum and run your fingers through before using a brush. For the tail, only run your fingers through when it’s wet or freshly washed and dry. As with the mane, it’s best to apply detangler and then finger pick the knots in the tail out. When brushing either, start from the bottom and gently work your way to the neck/base of the tail. If your horse rubs their mane or tail, be sure there are no medical reasons they may be doing this (such as worms) and try your best to remove whatever they are rubbing on from their pen. If you cannot remove said object, covering the area with a fly sheet or sleezy can help the hair grow back and protect it from further damage.
Clean equals clean:
This one is a no-brainer. Clean your brushes. Brushing a horse with dirty brushes is about as effective as washing your face with a dirty towel. For a supreme clean, clean those bristles! We recommend cleaning brushes, curries and any other grooming tools at least once per month, but honestly the more the merrier and of course if you use your brushes daily on multiple horses, they will need more care than someone who only grooms their horse as needed. A simple way to sanitize brushes with products you may already have in your home is to use Dawn dish soap and a few capfuls of Listerine mouthwash. Follow these steps to clean your brushes:
1: Collect two 5 gallon buckets.
2: Fill both with water.
3: In one bucket, add a generous splash of Dawn and Listerine. Stir until the soap becomes agitated and bubbly.
4: Clean brushes before getting them wet by shaking them, tapping them against a hard surface or rubbing them together.
5: Add brushes to the soapy water and use your fingers to work the water in and scrub out the dirt. For heavily soiled brushes, allowing them to soak for an hour or so may be helpful.
6: Once you think your brush is clean, dip it into the second bucket that has clean water and rinse it out.
7: Stand the brush up on its bristles in the sun so the bristles dries straight, once mostly dry, flip the brushes bristle side up to the sun and allow them to finish drying this way. Believe it or not, the sun also helps with the disinfection process!
Say no to sweat and yes to oils:
If your horse becomes sweaty after a workout, simply make sure to clean the sweaty areas before turning them back out into the sunshine. Sweat contains salt and when left on the coat and exposed to the sun, the salt can cause the coat to dull and fade. An easy way to remove sweat after a workout is to rinse your horse. If it’s cold, allow the sweat to dry completely and then curry it away. You can also use a warm washcloth to easily remove sweat from the coat. To keep the coat at it’s healthiest - spread the skin’s naturally created oils! Grooming your horse regularly helps to distribute the oils the skin naturally creates across the coat. This natural oil helps soften the shaft of the hair and keeps it healthy and shiny. We recommend using a soft rubber curry or grooming gloves and using circles, gently rub the entire body. Follow with a soft brush to lay the hairs flat.
Purple (and maybe some blue) for the white:
Why does it always seem grey horses are aspiring to be bay? Grey horse owners certainly have their work cut out for them but so do owners of any horse with white markings! Keeping white clean is quite the challenge. However, purple shampoo can help make it easier. A secret pro grooming tip is to dilute purple shampoo with water/a small amount of witch hazel in a spray bottle and spray it on the area dry, whether it's on the coat or mane/tail, and work it in. Let sit for 10 minutes and then add water and rewash again either with a purple shampoo or regular shampoo and you will see the area vastly improved. For tough stains, it may take a few sessions OR you may have to bust out the big guns such as liquid bluing (but make sure to dilute and not leave on too long or you’ll have a blue horse) and follow the steps just mentioned.
Feed the shine:
This is perhaps the most important tip. An envious shine starts from within. Be sure your horse has a well rounded diet consisting of healthy fats. Healthy fats are those with an ideal omega-3 to omega-6 ratio (for more information about the importance of omegas visit THIS blog) such as that found in Twenty Four Carrots Inner Glow Booster. The name quite literally states what it does for the horse, boosts the nutrition and allows the horse to radiantly shine both inside and out (on top of a bevvy of other health benefits this awesome supplement provides!).
That’s it! These basic grooming tips are easy to implement and will keep your horse looking and feeling their very best.
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