Horse riding is unlike other sports because you’re working side-by-side another living creature. Just like you care for your own health and wellbeing, you also need to care for your horse’s.
That’s where horse grooming comes in. It’s the way you can ensure your horse’s health and hygiene is in tip-top shape so that they feel their best. This, in turn, makes them perform better and helps you feel your best!
Here’s everything a beginner needs to know about horse grooming.
Why You Need to Groom Your Horse
Grooming refers to hygienic care for your horse—think of it as the equivalent of brushing your teeth and taking a shower!
In the wild, horses will naturally groom each other. However, stabled horses don’t have this benefit and so their owners and caretakers need to step in and to it for them.
Here are some other reasons it’s important to groom your horse:
- Promotes skin and coat health: Brushing your horse stimulates blood flow to your horse’s skin and massages large muscle groups. This keeps their skin and coat healthy.
- Prevents chafing: Grooming your horse keeps them clean and prevents chafing underneath their tack.
- Encourages bonding: Grooming is concentrated time to spend with each other, and your horse will grow to trust you as their caretaker. Mutual grooming between horses in the wild has been studied and show to promote cleanliness as well as social bonding and emotional regulation. Though you’re not a horse, you can also participate in this meaningful time of connection.
- Provides opportunities for exercise: As you groom, you can also use it as an opportunity to practice some standing exercises with your horse to boost strength, balance, and flexibility.
- Decreases stress and increases wellbeing: This goes for both parties! The soothing process of grooming will make both the horse and rider feel better. You can also regularly check in on your horse’s health and wellness, ensuring they’re free from illness and injury.
Simply put, grooming a horse is the way to care for them and make sure they’re healthy and happy. It’s an integral part of horse riding and something riders of all skill levels need to learn.
How to Groom Your Horse
Each person may have a slightly different routine when grooming a horse, but there are basic steps everyone should follow. Here’s how to groom your house:
- Tie up your horse: Start by ensuring your horse stays in one position by tying them to a post or beam.
- Clean the hoofs: After they’re secure, start by cleaning your horse’s hoofs. Gently pic up their leg, cup the hoof in your hands, and carefully use the hoof pick to remove debris.
- Curry your horse: Use a curry comb to loosen dirt in their coat by running it over their entire body. Then, take a softer dandy brush to remove everything off the skin.
- Add shine: The last brush over the body is with a body brush, which smooths everything down and makes their coat look great.
- Comb the mane and tail: Last step is to detangle the mane and tail and ensure it’s clean and clear.
FAQs About Horse Grooming
Here are some common questions new riders have about horse grooming:
1. How often should you groom a horse?
Most horse owners will groom their horse about once a week on average; some will aim to do so before each ride.
This may decrease if your horse lives in an outside herd environment and has some mutual grooming from other horses. The more you groom and are familiar with your horse, the easier it is to identify when you need to tend to them.
2. What do you need in a horse grooming kit?
We’ve put together a whole article about it—read on here!
3. Can someone teach me how to groom?
4. Do I need to style my horse’s mane and tail?
You don’t have to do this, but many competitive riders will spend time styling their horse’s mane and tail for an event. Choose a conditioner that gives them a silky-smooth finish and consider plaits for an extra touch of style.
Grooming your horse is an essential part of horse ownership and ridership. It’s a way to care for them while increasing the bond you have, making you a better rider!
We like to think of grooming as preparation for horse riding. Another way you can get prepared is to ensure you have the right equestrian clothing and accessories. A weather-appropriate horse riding coat, like our Equicoat that’s designed to keep you warm and dry, can make a huge difference in your horse riding experience.
Contact us if you have any questions about horse grooming, riding, or getting the right gear so you can get out and enjoy the sport!