When you show up with your horse in the arena either in halter or under saddle, the first thing the judge is going to assess is your horse’s overall appearance and performance. Much like us, you never get a second chance to wow the judge with a first impression. That’s why we are going to dedicate this post to essential horse grooming tips.
Many horse exhibitors devote a load of time training, practicing, or perfecting their horse’s performance, and understandably so, but only to short-change themselves in the ring with a poorly-tuned horse. To the judges, the presentation of your horse is as good as its performance. Grooming, as they say, plays an important role in the eye appeal to viewers, and can tell if the rider is proud of their jobs. An appropriately groomed horse is clipped, cleaned, and thoroughly groomed.
Horse grooming, especially for showtime, doesn’t happen minutes before the gates opening but it should start long before that. Because, what do you think the judge will think when you show up with a horse tainted with shavings on the tail, or manure stains on their coats? That said, let’s shade more light on this subject.
Grooming is as much as a routine to the horse as it cleans their coats while adding beauty, appearance, and also promoting the overall health, trust, and emotional bonding between the horse and rider. And according to the popular equine site http://www.ayrequestrian.com/, horse grooming should is as much as a horse’s everyday routine as its feeding because it encourages blood circulation and helps the horse release the natural body oils into its coat that protect it from hostile weather elements such as rain and wind. As part of grooming, we shall further split this subject into categories.
Grooming your horse’ hooves
Stable horses should be groomed daily for better coat and skin health. However, if your horse lives more naturally in vast lands and pastures, sometimes they get to groom themselves by rolling or rubbing on trees and fences.
When it comes to grooming your horse’s hooves, dirt and mud removal are key. And to pick up the foot, gently run your hand down to her leg and squeeze the tendon. As the horse lifts her leg, grab it and use a hoof pick to remove all debris, rocks, and dirt that might be trapped in there. And by picking up the horse’s feet, you can prevent lameness by removing debris and any foreign objects that could potentially pierce the frog and cause bruises. Moreover, a shod foot doesn’t do self-cleaning as the horse walks, and that’s why cleaning can make walking much more comfortable for your horse. And the ideal time to pick your horse’s feet is before and after a horseback ride.
Grooming the coat
First and foremost, use curry combs as they are designed to remove loose hair from the horse. By doing so, they loosen up the stuck mud, dirt, or bits that might be caught in the coat. The curry comb is effective if rubbed in a circular motion as you work your way from the horse’s sides, to the neck and the barrel.
Furthermore, flies caught up in the horse’s coat can be a major irritant. They mostly build around the face, can bite the sides, and could cause infections. And especially during summertime, which is the time they are likely to infest your horse, the best way to eliminate them from the coat is to spray it with fly spray. Among other coat grooming tips, ensure the following:
- Use high-quality brushes and keep them clean before and after use.
- Don’t use your horse’s brush on other horses to prevent fungal infections.
- Curry your horse daily to enhance coat and skin health.
- Brush the hair in the direction the hair grows.
And when you brush the mane and tail, start at the end and make your way upwards. Also, as you hose your horse, stream the water from the front to the back to avoid squirting accidentally to the face.
Clipping your horse
- Use the following tips:
- Always bath your horse before clipping him.
- Use clean and sharp clipper blades.
- During cleaning, always check the clipper blades to ensure they don’t get too hot.
- For showtime, clip your horse at least two weeks earlier.
- Thoroughly condition the horse’s skin and coat after clipping.
- Pull your horse’s mane after a ride because doing so opens the pores, hence making it easier to remove the hair.
Horse grooming is as much a daily routine to the horse as feeding it. grooming helps to clean their coats, add beauty, improve appearance, and also promote the overall health, trust, and emotional bonding between the horse and its owner. A horse that is appropriately groomed horse should be clean, clipped, and thoroughly groomed.