Grooming your horse can be one of the most satisfying parts of horse ownership. This daily routine is not only a bonding time for you and your horse but also a good opportunity to check them over for minor injuries or irritations they may have acquired in their stall or out to pasture.
- Mane & tail comb
- Curry comb
- Body brush (with stiff bristles)
- Body brush (with medium bristles)
- Finishing brush
- Hoof pick
- Damp cloth or sponge
- Hoof dressing
- Mane & tail detangler
- Thrush treatment
- Swat (fly repellent)
- Grooming block
Tip: Before grooming be sure that your horse is tied in a safe location (with some type of quick release knot or system), and that your grooming tools/tote are not in a place where they could be accidentally kicked by your horse. An accident during grooming can make it a frightening experience for your equine friend.
The best way to start your daily horse grooming routine is by picking out your horse’s feet. Starting at the hooves gives you the opportunity to check for any changes in the hoof that could prevent you from riding that day, e.g., cracks, heat or even a lost shoe.
When running your hand down your horses leg to pick up the hoof also feel for any strange lumps, bumps or scrapes. Then remove all dirt, manure, or anything else (sometimes small rocks) in your horses hoof. Picking your horses feet everyday also keeps you on top of bacterial infections like thrush, which can be treated and prevented. Take time to notice (especially during the summer months) the inside for your horse’s legs for bot eggs; they attach to the hair and are small and yellow. Bot eggs should be removed with a grooming block to prevent the horse from ingesting them.
Now the brushing begins:
Using the curry comb in a circular motion, start from the neck and comb backwards (moving towards the rump of the horse). Currying loosens dirt, stimulates the skin, massages muscles, and most importantly distributes the natural oils in your horse’s skin called sebum which helps waterproof the hair and make it shine.
Tip: Find that really itchy spot on your horse with the curry comb. They just love to be scratched.
The next step is to locate your stiff bristled body brush. Starting again at the neck and moving back towards the rump, use a quick flicking motion to remove dirt and hair that the curry comb loosened. This normally results in a cloud of dust and hair floating in the air around you. After the stiff body brush you can use a medium bristled brush to remove anything that the stiff brushed missed.
Tip: Don’t forget to brush under your horse’s belly. Most days there will be dirt that has been kicked up under there.
The last of the body brushes is the finishing brush. It’s soft bristled and you can use long strokes from the neck heading back towards the rump to remove any remaining dust and really bring out the shine in your horses coat. The finishing brush can also be used on your horses face, under the throat, and on the ears.
Tip: You can also use a damp cloth or sponge to clean your horses face. Taking special care to remove dust and dirt from the area where the bridle will lay.
Last but not least, it’s time to tame the mane and tail. Start at the bottom in small sections until you can eventually comb from the top to the bottom without getting stuck in a knot. You can also apply any of the mane and tail detangler products that are on the market today to assist you in your efforts.
Tip: Separating the hairs with your fingers is a good way to remove any major tangles or dreadlocks before combing.
Above and Beyond:
If you are looking to go above and beyond the regular grooming experience there are a few other things to be done. You can apply hoof dressing to your horse’s hooves for a stronger, but still pliable hoof; hoof dressings also help to absorb and retain moisture.
Coat polishes can be applied to aid in repelling dust and give your horse that extra shine. Sunscreen is available and should be applied especially to horses with the pink skin on the end of their noses. Bug spray can also be applied after grooming.
Happy grooming everyone!
Horse Training 101: How to Train a Horse
By: Chewy Editorial Published: August 24, 2017
BeWell / Wellness / Horse Training 101: How to Train a Horse
Horse Training 101: How to Train a Horse
Though horses don’t “sit” on command, and most aren’t up for a game of daily fetch, proper horse training can turn a 1,200-pound animal into a devoted companion and teammate. Learning how to train a horse is a long-term process that takes persistence, patience and often years to learn, but the multitude of horse training methods available for specific horseback riding disciplines can turn an unbroke horse into a loyal and willing partner. It can seem overwhelming, but we’ll go over the basics and show you where to start.
Start by building a relationship.
Whether you are working with a young, unhandled horse or a seasoned 16-year-old trail horse, any level of horse training starts with a relationship. “Building a relationship with a horse is just as complicated and easy to break as it is with humans,” explains Amy DuKate, head coach of the Indiana University Equestrian Team, barn manager and horseback riding instructor at Crimson Stables in Bloomington, IN. “Have patience, and come in with an open mind. If you get frustrated, you can potentially take ten steps back before taking one forward again. There is a lot of compromise and question asking when it comes to building a relationship with your horse, but once established, that bond is beyond comparable to anything else.”
When it comes to horse training, most horses are very willing to learn and seek direction. By building a relationship before you start horseback riding your new mount, you establish a level of trust and teach your horse to seek your guidance. “Horses need leadership,” says DuKate. “Show them what they are capable of, and they will give you their all. Show them what they do wrong all the time, and they will shut down.” By making each training a positive and sequential experience, you teach your horse what is expected of them and provide them with instructions for how to achieve it. For example, before asking your horse to cross a river in the forest preserve, ask him to cross a puddle at home. By taking steps in a simple order, you begin to build a foundation and set your horse up for success.
How do you build a relationship with a horse?
When introduced to a new horse, “Start by learning their likes and dislikes—where their sweet spots are—by spending time with them outside of work and training,” suggests DuKate. “Every horse has their own personality, and it’s your job to figure it out.” From tacking the horse up for horseback riding, to carrying out the daily tasks involved in caring for the horse, spending time with him outside of horse training will make your time in the saddle much more productive. Bring a Horsemen’s Pride Mega Ball Horse Ball out to the pasture to play with your horse. Or hang a Horsemen’s Pride Jolly Ball Horse Ball up in his stall, and show him how to use it. By spending relaxed time together, you make him more comfortable and build trust by showing him that there’s more to your relationship than just work.
Wondering how to train a horse?
Much of horse training is a mental practice. “Learning to train takes years and years of experience and learning. It is important to understand that every horse learns differently, so come to the table with an open mind,” explains DuKate. To effectively train a horse, “You must be able to problem solve and take your time to figure out what works for your horse, because how you train one may not be how you train another. The key to learning the art of training is to keep educating yourself. Read books, attend clinics, take lessons and never stop learning.”
Most importantly, end each training session on a positive note. Reward your horse when he does what you ask him to with a simple rub on the neck or treats, like Stud Muffins Horse Treats or Mrs. Pastures Horse Cookies. This will grow his confidence and allow you to build on the basics. “I love ending my sessions with stretches that incorporate treats,” adds DuKate. “Not only is the stretching good after a workout, but the treats are a perk on top of it all.”
Horse training takes time, patience and dedication. Most of the people who choose to professionally care for and train horses, dedicate their lives and lifestyles to it. Though not for everyone, working with a professional trainer will allow you to gain experience riding horses to see if training might be for you.
How to Trim Horse Hooves
Last Updated: March 29, 2019 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Ryan Corrigan, LVT, VTS-EVN. Ryan Corrigan is a Licensed Veterinary Technician in California. She received her Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology from Purdue University in 2010. She is also a Member of the Academy of Equine Veterinary Nursing Technicians since 2011.
There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
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Trimming your horse's hooves is a great way to connect with your horse and help keep it healthy. However, don't trim the hooves unless you are experienced and comfortable around your horse. When you first start trimming the hooves, do short sessions and be extra careful, since improperly trimming your horse's hooves can injure or even lame it. Additionally, have an experienced farrier walk you through the process the first few times you do it.
Pampering 101: Grooming Tips for Pets
Just like us, our pets need regular grooming. It helps them look their best while keeping their fur and skin healthy. Here are some easy grooming tips and tricks to help your pet put his best paw forward:
- Wear 'em out! Before each session, spend some time playing with your pet. Take him on a long walk or toss his favorite toy to put your pet in a good mood and burn off extra energy.
- Easy does it! At first, keep the grooming sessions short. Gradually work your way up from a couple of minutes to get your pet used to the process.
- We should do this how often? If your pet has short hair, you'll only need to brush or comb him once a week. Long or easily matted coats need daily care.
- Unsure of what brush to buy? Slicker, pin, bristle, rubber — there are so many choices! Check with your veterinarian or a professional groomer to get recommendations for a specific type of brush that will work best for your pet.
- Rub a dub in the tub! Pets also need to be bathed every few months. Dogs need more frequent bathing than cats, who keep themselves relatively clean. Be sure to use a pet-friendly shampoo!
- You want to do what to my nails? Before you jump into nail clipping, spend some time getting your pet accustomed to you handling his paws. Give a gentle paw massage a few times a day for at least a week before you attempt to clip his nails. Cut just the tip of each nail, being careful to avoid the quick (the pink area inside the nail).
- Share the love! To help your pet associate good thoughts with grooming, give him plenty of praise throughout the session. When you finish, offer his favorite treat.
Caring for your pet's skin and hair doesn't have to be a painful process. Use these grooming tips to make it fun and easy for both you and your pet!
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