Equine Spring-cleaning time is here! With longer days and warmer weather comes....shedding. If your horse isn’t clipped and/or blanketed, he’s probably a delightful fluffy fur ball and as mud season gets underway his color has migrated to a dark crusty brown.
Horse Grooming Tip: Before you begin grooming, discard any fleece jacket or fabrics that you are wearing that will attract dirt and hair before you start. A plastic apron such as dog groomers use, is a great aid in keeping you clean.
Option 1: Body Clipping Your Horse
The quickest way to clear all remnants of the equine winter coat is to body clip the entire horse. It’s one way to make a clean sweep of the task.
It is always best to bathe and clean your horse prior to clipping. Use a deep cleansing shampoo such as Corona Concentrated Shampoo. It's economic and pH balanced plus lanolin enriched for stronger manes and tails.
Horse Bathing Tip: For stubborn stains on a horse's tail, lather the tail with plenty of shampoo and leave it to soak several minutes before rinsing.
Option 2: The Old Fashioned Way
If you are up for doing your makeover the old-fashioned way using a horse grooming kit, here are some valuable tips.
Grooming provides great bonding time with an activity the horse enjoys, and gives you an opportunity to examine your horse for wounds, scratches, or for lumps and bumps. Minor abrasions can be treated with Theracyn Wound & Skin Care or Corona Ointment.
Your horse's skin & coat is a valuable resource in determining his health. While regular grooming will bring oils to the coat to make a shine, the only true way to resolve a dull coat is by good nutrition & proper horse de-worming practices.
Horse Grooming Kit Tip: Retire tired old brushes, dirty brushes, and brushes that simply don’t fit your hand. These will all make your grooming job more arduous and less effective. 6.5 to 7 inch horse brushes suit most women, 8 inch brushes are designed for the larger handed woman or man. Face brushes are smaller and softer to allow more access to the nooks and crannies of the face of the horse.
To remove mud on the horse’s coat, let any mud dry and then vigorously curry comb in a circular motion to loosen the scurf and mud. Work softly over bony prominences and let your horse indicate how hard he likes you to work. A soft jelly curry can be used on the legs over the cannon bones.
Use a mud brush made of tough union fiber to remove stubborn patches of mud effectively and with minimum effort.
Next, brush your horse over with a dandy brush. Union Tampico bristles tend to work best to gather scurf and dirt. Use a flicking motion to work deep. Start at the neck and work toward the back of the horse and then work down. Do not use a regular curry comb, mud brush, or dandy brush on your horse’s face, as these are too harsh for use in these areas.
Follow this with long strokes with a body brush over the entire body of horse. Regularly clean the brush on the curry comb as you progress.
Then, use a soft horsehair brush over the coat to help bring up the oily shine.
To clean the horse’s face, use a damp clean towel to wipe the eyes and then the muzzle. Then brush the face with a soft brush.
Trim the ear hairs with scissors or clippers. Hold the ear folded together and just trim off the excess longer hairs. Leave hair inside the ear to protect your horse from bug bites.
The mane and tail require special attention and patience to clean properly. Use a detangler such as Corona Detangler & Shine before combing them out with a large toothed mane/tail comb (if you are trying to grow an excessively long mane and tail, lots of finger combing is required plus braiding & tail bags...but this is another topic!)
Work carefully with the tail from the bottom up and take just a few strands at a time until all have been completed. You can use your fingers instead of a comb. A horse's tail takes a long time to grow so don't use human hairbrushes or yank on a horse's tail or it will break the hair. When finished spray the tail again with Corona Detangler & Shine to protect the hair from dirt and to keep hair in peak condition.
Horse Grooming Tip: A good way to stimulate tail hair growth is a daily dandy brush on the dock of the tail. This will stimulate blood circulation.
The dock area of the horse should also be cleaned using an old damp towel (not the same one you use on the eyes and face!).
The mane should be carefully combed out. If the mane will not lay flat you can use a warm damp towel over it to settle it to one side. If the mane is excessively long you can pull it using the mane comb.
Horse Grooming Tip: If you pull the mane do it a bit at a time each day when the horse is warm and his pores are open. If your horse dislikes mane pulling try thinning scissors.
Next, take a sheepskin mitt or towel and spray Corona Detangler & Shine on it and apply across the coat to add a shine. Avoid the saddle and girth area as these conditioners can make the coat slick and cause tack to move.
Powder white areas of your horse such as socks and stockings with cornstarch or baby powder to make them super bright and white.
Well done! Dress him in a stable or turnout sheet and keep him clean!
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