After a long day, there’s nothing quite like heading over to the barn to spend some time saddling up or grooming your equine friends. Horses have a certain way of understanding your mood and allowing you to unwind with a creature that seems to understand you better than most humans do. For this level of companionship, you want to ensure you’re caring for and grooming your horse with the top-notch practices, so here we’ve laid out a simple guide full of lesser-known tips for grooming for your best companion.
Know Your Tools
In all skilled trades, professionals know the right tools for every job and use them strategically to ensure the best possible outcomes, and grooming your horse should be no different! Making sure you use the correct combs and tools for grooming is vital in keeping your horse’s coat healthy and beautiful. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Currycombs: Devices with concentric teethed ovals for removing dried dirt and shedding hair off your horse’s coat. Newer, non-traditional currycombs are often made with softer bristles that are better at penetrating the coat, but aren’t as useful for scraping off dried mud.
- Dandy Brushes: A stiff-to-medium bristle brush that can often be used in place of a currycomb, great for removing smaller patches of dried dirt.
- Body brushes: Softer bristles that are very close together, made to remove fine dust and dust.
- Sponges, Rags, and Wipes: Great finishing touch for spreading silicone spray and finishing touches when grooming. Be sure to keep seperate the rags for the horse’s eye region and groin region to avoid infection.
Check for Fungus and Infection
When grooming your horse, it’s important to make sure you are caring for your horse’s health in addition to its beauty. Horses are very susceptible to fungal infections like ringworm, rain rot, sweet itch, and aural plaques, making it important to be knowledgeable on proper treatment. Luckily, these fungal infections can often be taken care of at home. Fauna Care - a company dedicated to provide top-of-the-line animal wound and fungus sprays that prevent and speed healing. Some of their touch-free products include:
- Equine Anti-Fungal Spray: formulated with ketoconazole and zinc to promote healing while reducing itch and irritation
- Equine Protect & Condition Spray: Moisturizes and Protects your horse’s skin
- Equine Zinc Spray: Treats infections & irritators with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial formula
With proper care and treatment of common infections your horse may have, your horse will stay happy and healthy,. However, always know when your horse’s ailment is a little more serious and need veterinary attention.
The key to making sure you are shampooing your horse properly is not overdoing it. Shampooing your horse’s coat too frequently strips it of natural oil, called sebum, that gives the coat its beautiful shine. Sebum not only provides shine, but protects your horse’s skin from various fungal infections and parasites. Shampooing too frequently can leave your horse’s skin dry and itchy, so as a whole it is best to leave the shampooing to a minimum.
An expert solution for this is to rely on plain water for most bathing, and only relying on high-quality, properly-formulated products when shampooing. Even when shampooing, only use a small amount of the shampoo while cleaning a rinse thoroughly.
Mane and Tail Care
The mane and tail are the most difficult parts of your horse to groom do to the amount of care needed in while grooming. Most professional groomers do not use tools when grooming a horse’s mane and tail, but rather use only their hands and fingers. Starting from the ends, comb your fingers through your horse’s mane and tail to remove tangles and keep the hair flowing freely. When cleaning is needed, be sure to rinse all soap thoroughly to avoid drying and irritation from the soap.
Much like in humans, a horse’s diet is heavily responsible for the appearance of its coat, mane, and tail. To ensure your horse’s coat is as healthy as possible, it’s important to start with a vitamin and nutrient-rich diet. Some of the key nutrients for your horse’s coat include:
- Omega fatty acids
- B Vitamin
These nutrients can easily be supplemented into your horse’s diet, or you can feed your horse nutrient-rich foods to ensure that they are healthy both inside and outside. Additionally, horses’ coats benefit greatly from ingesting vegetable oils, so taking the time to pour a small amount of corn oil or another vegetable oil over food is vital.
The key to trimming your horse’s hair is finding the balance between tidiness and maintaining the horse’s wellbeing. Trimming is important because it will allow you to spot any scabbing, fungus, or infection more easily. Here are a few key areas to trim on your horse:
- Chin area: botflies and other pests like to lay eggs in the long hairs of a horse, so it’s important to be diligent in keeping this area trimmed.
- Muzzle hairs: Muzzle hairs can be tidied up if they get extremely long, but should be kept at a decent length because they are vibrissae that help your horse sense what is close to its face.
- Ears: While you should never trim the hairs inside the ears, trimming the hair that extends beyond the edge of the ear will keep a tidy-looking horse.
- Cat Hairs: Older horses and horses that are shedding will have extra hair under the belly, so you can carefully trim these hairs with shears in the direction of the hair.
Horse grooming is about so much more than a show-worthy equine and is vital in maintaining the health and well-being of your horse. For a great line of horse care sprays, check out the variety of treatments offered by Fauna Care.