Sunday, April 21, 2013

Grooming: How do you Make your Horse Shine?

Let's imagine that you own a horse, or you are learning to ride. Part of becoming a good horseman or horsewoman, is learning to care for your horse. You don't want to just hop on him once an week and ride around. You should learn how to make your horse look his best. While you are doing that, you'll also be building a good relationship with him.
Where do you start?- Let's begin with grooming his coat (the hair covering his body). You start by using the curry comb, a round, rubber tool which loosens the old hair and dirt from your horse's coat.
In the spring time, horses shed their thick Winter coats that keep them warm and their lighter coat appears. When you're using the curry comb, be sure to make circular motions with your hand. Your hand will slide under the loop on the top of the curry comb. If it's spring time, you'll find lots of old hair flying around and some of it will land on you! But this means you're doing a fine job getting rid of the old hair. One word of caution; never use the curry comb on the horse's legs. It would be uncomfortable for your horse because you'd be rubbing on the bones.
The Dandy Brush- The next step is the Dandy Brush. The name makes this brush sound dashing doesn't it? The bristles are stiff so they'll do a great job at brushing away all of that old hair that you worked so hard to loosen up. Always go with the grain of the hair when your using the dandy brush and don't be afraid to press down with it. Most horses like that.
The Body Brush-  Now you'd look for the round brush with the short, soft, bristles. This one is just to polish your horse's coat. It will brush away the dirt that could be still lingering on the coat. You can use this brush on the horse's legs. It will be soft and comfy for him. You can also use the dandy brush on his head, if you like.
The Grooming Cloth: Now you can take a towel, or other clean cloth and wipe off any tiny bits of dust that might remain on your horse's coat. By now, he should be well polished. You could also use the grooming cloth on his head, if you like.
Cleaning  the Hooves:  You may already know something about a horse's hoof, if you read the blog titled: Does Every Frog Jump Around? You may also have learned something about it in the blog called, No hoof, no horse!  In any case, you would be sure to face the back of the horse and then squeeze the back of his leg until he picks it up. Now you can clean his hoof with a hoof pick, a metal hook. Start from the top and go down. You'll clean our all the debris from his foot. Take particular notice of the frog, the V-Shaped part in the center of the hoof. Are there any stones lodged in the sides of the frog? Does the frog look healthy? If it's too wet, with a strong odor, your horse might have thrush. Thrush is a condition that comes from too much moisture, usually from standing in a dirty stall. If your horse has thrush, you'll need medication to cure it. Now remember to use a good hoof dressing on the outside of  your horse's hoof. Start at the coronary band. That's the top of the hoof, where the hair meets the hoof. The coronary band is the part where the hoof growth begins.
The mane and tail: Now you can comb through the mane and tail, just to take out some tangles that might be there, especially in the tail. The tail comb has wide spaces between the teeth so you can comb through the tail more easily. The mane and tail combs are generally made of aluminum so they're very strong. Are you worried that you're hurting the horse when you comb his mane or tail?
Don't fret. Horses have no nerves in their mane or tail so they can't feel you pulling on them. In fact, when you shorten the mane, you push the short hairs up and pull out the long ones. Your horse doesn't feel any discomfort at all.
Stand back and admire your work! Now you've polished your horse from head to toe. You deserve to stand back and admire your efforts. Good job! You'll certainly be proud when you're working your horse because he looks amazing.

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