Horse Grooming - Beyond the Basics
 By Saferaphus   •   11th Oct 2016   •   1,003 views   •   1 comments

Grooming your horse frequently is a good way to hang out with your horse. Not only is it enjoyable for both of you, while youíre grooming, youíll be able to notice skin problems, small injuries or hoof problems that you might miss if all you do check your horse over the fence. Grooming every day might not be practical for you. But, a few times a week is a good idea, and certainly before you ride or harness your horse up. And in addition to the practical reasons you might have for grooming, it makes your horse look its best.

Basic grooming doesnít have to be elaborate. Simply running a curry comb and dandy brush over your horseís body takes care of removing most of the dirt. A soft cloth cleans the face and a hoof pick looks after the hoof care. But sometimes youíre in the mood, or perhaps you have an event where you want your horse to look its best, and go beyond the basics. Here are a few things that can give your horse an extra finish.

Bridle Paths
A lot of pleasure riders donít bother with clipping a bridle path. But itís a must in the show ring, but for a few exceptions. A bridle path makes your horseís mane look neater, and its neck more refined. The practical reasons for a bridle path are that it gets the mane hairs out of the way when you put the bridle on, and on horses with a very thick mane, the crown of the bridle sits better when thereís not a thick clump of hair beneath it.

Youíll need sharp scissors or clippers to trim down a bridle path. And, to calculate how far to cut back into the mane, you can use the length of your horseís ear. Lay the horseís ear gently along the ridge of the mane, and use that measurement for the most flattering bridle path length. Use scissors to cut parallel with the horseís neck. Cutting horizontally leaves choppy marks. Itís easier to clip the hair smooth with clippers, but itís also too easy to take too much mane off. You probably donít want to hog your horseís mane off - so make sure to use restraint.

Many people like the look of a banged tail. There are some breeds and sports where a trimmed tail is not appropriate, so if youíre heading to the show ring, check the rules. Banging is useful when your horseís long thick tail has a tendency to tangle and pick up dirt. If your horseís tail is short, banging will only make it look shorter. If your horseís tail is long but thin, banging can make it look a bit thicker, just a thin hair looks fuller when you get a shorter haircut.

When you bang your horseís tail, you might want a helper who can hold the tail up for you. You want the tail lifted in the same way it would be if your horse was trotting. This can be done by placing the base of the tail over your helper's arm, or putting a plastic bottle beneath it. Then trim the ends of the tail hairs off straight across. Again, donít cut too much off. When you let the tail down again, it wonít look straight. But when the horse moves and holds its tail up a bit, the cut edge will be horizontal to the ground.

Baths should be given sparingly, especially if your horse lives outdoors. Bathing can strip the oils from the hair coat for a few days, leaving the horse without its natural waterproofing. And bathing can dry the skin out if a harsh shampoo is used. Use horse shampoo, and make sure you rinse thoroughly to get all the soap out.

There is clipping you can do to neaten your horseís appearance, and there are body clips you can do to keep your horse cooler. And there are degrees of each, depending on what you do with your horse. But, you might want to clip out those long tufts of hair that stick out of your horseís ears, without removing all of the hair from the ears. Gently fold an ear lengthwise and use scissors or clippers to clip off the longest hairs that stick out. Some horses have long wiry hairs that run down the chin bone. This can be clipped away for a neater look. Shaggy hair around the fetlocks and pasterns and down the back of the cannon bones can be clipped away.

There are several different types of body clipping that can be done, and while a fully clipped horse in winter looks sleeker and cools out quicker after hard work, youíll have to provide shelter and extra blankets to make up for the lack of warm hair. Just remember, when you do any sort of clipping, you are removing some of your horseís natural defense from bugs and weather.

Grooming Spray
Grooming sprays are great for putting a shine on and removing surface dirt. They can help detangle manes and tails and give them a bit of extra sparkle. Just donít put slippery grooming sprays over the saddle area or around the horseís face where it can cause irritation to the eyes.

Stain removing sprays are especially helpful if you have a light colored horse. These sprays help lift out and repel dirt. They are good for spot cleaning manure stains on any colored horse.

There are some products that you can use to enhance your horseís looks. Chalks and powders can help turn socks and white sports glistening white. Highlighting oils can make your horseís eyes look more soulful and its face more refined. Donít use oils too thickly, as they can look slick and attract dust. While you might not want to use a hoof polish for everyday grooming, many people finish off their work by brushing on hoof oil with the idea it can help condition hooves by locking in moisture.
Horse News More In This Category:  Care and Grooming      Horse News More From This Author:  Saferaphus
Pastel Retirement  
As mine lives out, she is brushed here and there. Essential areas where the tack sits but we don't use lotions and potions.
Suggesting people put oil around the eyes that can burn in the sun is shocking!
  Oct 11, 2016  •  991 views
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