Sunday, January 5, 2014
One of the most important things you will ever do to and with your horse is to groom him. Remember, a clean horse is a healthy horse. It’s a wonderful way to bond with your horse and get to know him. It’s also a great opportunity to inspect your horse and make sure he doesn’t have any dings or bangs or cuts. You can inspect his feet for thrush, or other foot disorders when you pick his feet.
When brushing my horse, I normally use a rubber curry. It’s not as harsh as the metal combs, and it feels better to him. Let’s face it; wouldn’t you rather have someone scratch your back with a rubber comb instead of a metal one? You should brush him all over, including his mane and under it. Sometimes horses with a long mane could cover an injury underneath.
Next we want to discuss bathing your horse. I’ve often heard that you shouldn’t give your horse a bath to cool him down. This is absolutely false. It’s been proven in several studies that horses cool down much better, faster, and safer when bathed in cold water. So don’t be afraid to hose down your hot horse.
First you want to tie up your horse using a quick release knot. Choose a space where the water will drain away to tie him. Most stables have a wash rack or a place to tie them specifically for bathing. You can either fill a bucket with warm water, or you can simply wet him down with the hose. Next, I fill the inside of a rubber curry comb with shampoo. You can use the mane and tail shampoos or you can simply use people shampoo. This is usually cheaper and works just as well. Taking the curry, you want to work the shampoo into his body, scrubbing him good. This includes his mane, his belly and his legs. Horses are more than just a broad back.
You should also wash his tail, especially if it is light colored. Washing the tail won’t give him a chill, so you can wash it any time. Again, you can either fill a bucket with warm soapy water, or you can wet it down with the hose. Next, you want to apply the shampoo liberally to the tail. Scrub it in good, making sure to scrub the tail bone as well, top and bottom. Let it set a moment or two, then rinse it well. Make sure you have all of the shampoo out of his hair, on his tail as well as his body. Leaving shampoo in his hair isn’t good for him, and may cause hair loss. When you have all the shampoo rinsed from his body, you can condition his mane and tail. Apply the conditioner, and no need to skimp on it. Once you have the conditioner thoroughly worked into his hair, you can let it set for a couple of minutes, then rinse. You can actually leave just a little bit of conditioner in the mane and tail and it makes it easier to comb out, and won’t hurt them at all.
Brooks Gaited Horse Training