The Dirty Deed Steed
Grooming Your Horse
“It is so nice having a horse who is never dirty, I can just grab my saddle, bridle and blanket and immediately ride” said no equestrian ever. I feel there are more than a handful of us who feel we have the dirtiest horse known to mankind. We spend hours, weeks and months trying to get our horses looking the best but even the most creative of us still wind up having a dirty steed. For those of you who are new to owning a horse you’re in for a surprise.
I work at El Tomaria Paso Fino farm and grooming horses is something I do several times a day. In my opinion having a well-groomed steed seems to start like a process over and over and over and…well you get the point it’s never ending. Grooming a horse is a process and with every process there is a hoof by hoof so to speak. So let’s assume you are able to catch this majestic beast now it’s time to groom.
Hoof 1. Cleaning the Hooves
When I bring in a horse from the fields, or stall I first start by cleaning their hooves. Some horses are better than others at letting me do this. Some will pretend their joints can’t bend while others like to see how much weight I can hold up. I use a Hoof Pick to clean their feet. This tends to be an easy to palm handle about five inches long with stiff plastic bristles on one side and a metal pick on the other. When using a hoof pick it is best to avoid the frog or center triangle of the hoof as this is sensitive just like under your finger nail. I scrap away from myself along the sides of the frog, and if the horse is wearing a shoe (not tennis shoes) I will scrap along the inner part of the shoe. While cleaning the hoof I will look for things such as; rocks, manure, shavings, and other objects that could cause harm to the horse. Once done ill run the brush over the hoof to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
Hoof 2. The Mane Attraction
The first image is about how the horses prefer to style their hair with the help of a fence post or the help of their friend. Horses like my buddy Atrivido have a lot of mane and tail causing it to tangle easily. First, I start with a conditioning spray; you can also use baby oil.
The brand pictured to the is what the stable uses. We use one part concentrate to three parts water in a spray bottle and shake well. This stuff makes me question my own choice in my personal hair care plus it smells amazing. You can buy it online at sstack.com for about $49. Spray generously on both the mane and tail and let it sit for a few minutes (longer depending on your horse’s hair art). Then run a mane and tail brush or even a regular human hair brush through the mane and tail. You can apply more of the spray if it doesn’t want to untangle.
Sometimes you may also have to cut the mane or tail. Never cut straight across, try pulling it apart first then cut straight down so to leave a more natural cut. Cutting straight across makes the hair look choppy and uneven (or hacked all to pieces with hedge sheers). Always be careful when grooming the tail; it’s best to grab the tail and pull it over to the side so you’re less likely to get kicked. A horses tail is also thicker than the mane (unless you have a Appaloosa horse). With the tail being so thick you will want to use more of the magic pink stuff in the bottle to make your life a lot easier and not so much like a game of tug of war. The image on the bottom is your goal for your horse’s mane and tail (not that it will stay like that but we can all dream).
Hoof 3. The Coat, you’ll get it clean beFURlong
It never fails, every time I go to get a white horse they always look like this. It is not just white horses that can be a mess though it tends to show more. One of my favorite go-to grooming tools is a SleekEz. The SleekEz is pictured below and comes in many sizes for your grooming comfort, at least that’s what the ad said. I just love it because it removes hair, mud and whatever other stuff the horses collect. This brush is easy to clean and maintain and i highly recommend buying one.
I also use the generic body brush for horse’s coat and for places like the ears, face and anything without a lot of fat covering. Once all the dirt, well most of the dirt, is gone I always grab the “pink miracle spray” and spritz it over the coat to keep them from getting dry skin plus we all love a shiny steed. While grooming always check for any type of cut or scrape because this could be causing pain to your buddy and you may never know.
To go along with the body grooming section is a short film produced by Equestrian Life. This video will show you the different types of brushes and equipment you will be needing to complete the grooming tasks. In the video the Curry comb is the same as the SleekEz just a different style and a cheaper option. There are many types of brushes out there for every grooming task, picking the right type is up to you and your horse.
Hoof 4. Saddle up and Enjoy!
How to ride will come later. . .
Written by: Elizabeth M. Owens