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    Horse Grooming Kit

    Authored by Katie Navarra

    Putting together a horse grooming kit can be as basic or elaborate as you’d like. Read more about the benefits of horse grooming and a list of tools to keep in your horse grooming bag.

    Horse grooming

    Grooming is an essential part of horse ownership. It stimulates circulation bringing the coat’s natural oils to the surface. Regular brushing allows you to check your horse’s overall health. Look for wounds or skin issues that might need additional attention when they begin rather than wait until they develop into larger problems. 

    Brushing also creates a relationship with a horse that can be enjoyed on the ground and extends to riding. Groom before every time you ride to be sure dirt and debris don’t rub under the saddle pad, girth, or other tack.

    Beyond the reasons mentioned above, grooming replicates a horse’s natural herd instincts. Horses living in the wild or those turned out together in a paddock can be seen grooming one another with their lips and gentle nibbles.

    5 must-have horse grooming tools

    1: Hoof pick

    This hook shaped tool is used to clean mud and manure from horses’ hooves. Regular picking reduces the chance for hoof infections like thrush, caused by a buildup of muck. 

    2: Curry comb

    Most commonly, curry combs are made of rubber or plastic and are the first step in a thorough grooming session. Work in a circular motion that follows the direction of hair growth to loosen dirt on the neck and body. Avoid sensitive areas like the face and legs.

    3: Stiff brush

    The stiff brush is milder than a curry comb but is firm enough to remove caked on mud. This grooming tool, also called a “dandy” brush, comes in various bristle coarseness. 

    4: Soft brush

    Sometimes also called a finishing brush, a soft brush is made from synthetic or organic materials. The fine bristle brush flicks away tiny dirt and dust particles on the coat's surface. It is gentle enough for use on the face and legs.

    5: Fly brush

    Pesky insects can carry disease and annoy horses and humans alike. Finish a grooming session by applying fly spray to deter bugs while riding or during turnout.

    Grooming kit upgrades

    Interested in creating a more elaborate horse grooming bag? These additional tools can provide a more thorough cleaning and polishing routine.

    1: Sponge

    Whether you’re looking to bathe your horse or simply cool him off on a hot day, a bucket and a sponge can make the job easier. A sponge offers a gentle way to wash the horse's face. 

    2: Sweat scraper

    The sweat scraper removes excess moisture after an intense workout or a bath. Sweat scrapers come in multiple styles, from long flat rods to curved models with handles made of plastic, metal, or rubber.

    3: Mane and tail comb

    Thick flowing manes and tails are the envy of every horse owner. Keeping them tangle-free takes effort. Choose a comb or brush with wide teeth and start from the bottom of the hair, working up toward the roots to gently release knots and avoid pulling or breaking hairs. 

    4: Shedding blade

    Even though you’ll only use the shedding blade in the spring, it can make removing heavy winter coats easier. The metal teeth lift and pull loose hair from the horse and can also be used to remove hair build up in other brushes. 

    5: Shampoo

    Specially formulated horse shampoo provides a deep clean without irritating a horse’s sensitive skin. There are many equine washes to choose from, ranging from basic cleaners to color enhancing shampoos, and stain removers, as well as cleansers for addressing irritated skin or fungal infections.  

    6: Conditioners and detanglers

    Spray conditioners and detanglers restore moisture to the coat, reduce static and protect mane and tail hairs against breakage. Some formulations repel dirt to create a long-lasting shine, while others reduce the chances of a coat fading under the hot summer sun.

    Addtional grooming kit supplies

    Over time you may find it handy to add other tools to your grooming kit, especially if you’re riding year-round and competing. If so consider these two additional grooming kit supplies.

    Clippers: Your horse-owning goals can help you decide if you need a set of clippers. Many riders choose to clip the horse’s bridle path—a small area behind the ears—to make haltering and bridling easier for horses with thick manes. Riders may clip a portion or the entire body during winter riding to help the horse dry faster before blanketing.

    Clipping is part of horse show prep. Traditionally, the legs, eye whiskers, muzzle, and ears are clean-shaven about one to two weeks before an event. However, be aware that some rules are changing and require riders to leave whiskers intact because these are the horse’s natural “feelers” in their surroundings.

    Vacuum: A horse grooming vacuum loosens and removes dirt with less elbow grease. A vacuum also does a more complete job of removing every speck of dirt or dander to create a dazzling show-ring-ready look. 

    Nutrition matters

    No amount of grooming, bathing, or coat conditioners will transform a dull coat into a sparkling coat without good nutrition. Horses need key nutrients from their diet. High-quality forage may be enough of a ration for some horses. Lower-quality pastures and hay lack essential vitamins and minerals. Feeds and supplements can fill in those gaps. Consider the horse’s age, working status, and other health conditions to determine which type and how a horse’s feed needs. 

    More horse care tips

    If you plan to ride a horse you'll need to know how to tack. Read more about the basics of horse tack here.
    Horses need a balanced diet of hay, alfalfa, oats or grains, and vitamins and minerals. Learn tips and tricks for how to feed horses in our helpful guide.