While almost any animal should be groomed to keep it looking sleek and glossy, grooming a horse is even more important. Grooming a horse regularly can prevent serious medical problems, especially those that are hoof related.
Since a horse is so big and powerful, it is important to have complete control over your animal, even if he is well trained. After all, even the most well behaved horse can become startled by a strange noise and attempt to bolt. This is why you should never groom your horse without first checking to be sure his halter is in place and that he is attached to both cross ties. If you don’t have cross ties in your stable, you may be tempted to simply groom your horse in his stall, but this could be dangerous, as he can move sideways and trap you against one of the walls. You should have cross ties installed immediately, instead.
In large stables, the horses’ owner rarely grooms horses. Instead, there are special employees who are hired just to care for the horses. However, most horse owners cannot afford to hire someone to care for their horses and do all of their own grooming. Of course, grooming your own horse for the first time can feel a bit overwhelming. If you haven’t groomed a horse before, you may want to ask another horse owner if you can watch the grooming routine he or she goes through before you pick up your curry comb. Even better, ask if you can help groom the horse. After all, there’s nothing better than doing it yourself when you are learning how to do something this important.
If you don’t ride your horse every day, you may be tempted to skip grooming sessions. However, you should complete at least part of the grooming routine every day. Don’t forget to be sure his halter is securely fastened and place him in the cross ties before you begin. Once your horse is fastened to the cross ties, you can begin your routine. Check your horse’s eyes, ears and teeth to be sure they are all in good shape. Look for any strange bumps or scrapes. Then, run your hands down his legs, one at a time, to check for any damage.
Pick up each leg and clean his hooves to be sure that no foreign matter or sharp stones are compacted around the frog area. Be especially careful that you keep the hooves clean and free of debris, since thrush, a serious hoof infection that can cripple your horse, is often caused by dirty hooves. Don’t neglect your horse’s mane and tail. You will need to comb out tangles and snarls to keep that flowing mane and tail looking beautiful.
If you will be riding your horse, it is especially important to complete the final part of the grooming routine, combing your horse’s coat. This removes dirt, loose hair and debris from his body. The reason this is such an important step is that your horse can develop saddle sores if the saddle is placed on top of a dirty coat for a long period of time.