Grooming Your Horse: An Overview For The Inexperienced Owner

While most pets and animals need grooming to maintain a sleek-looking coat of hair, grooming your horse is even more important. Grooming horses regularly helps to prevent serious medical problems, especially those that are hoof related.

Since a horse is so big and powerful, it is important to have complete control over your animal, even if he is well trained. It is also important to note that even your most well-behaved horse can easily become distracted and startled by strange noises and possibly cause him to bolt. This is the reason why you should never groom your horse without first checking to be sure his halter is in place and that he is attached to both cross ties. You need to have cross ties in your stables before attempting to groom your horse in the stall; otherwise, this could turn into a very dangerous situation if he were to move sideways, trapping you against the wall! Have cross ties installed right away if you don't have them installed already!

In larger stables, it is rarely the owner of the horses doing the grooming. Instead, they usually hire specially qualified individuals just to care for their horses. However, most of us who own a horse or two cannot afford to hire qualified help to care for our horses, so we are forced to do all of the grooming ourselves.

Will you be grooming your horse for the first time? Feeling a bit overwhelmed? If this is the case, you may want to ask another horse owner if you can watch them while going through their grooming routine before picking up that curry comb. You may even want to consider asking them to let you help out. If you're like most people, you'll learn better with a supervised hands-on approach; after all, this is an important task and you would like to be comfortable with grooming your horse.

You will find that it is so tempting to skip grooming sessions, especially if you don't ride your horse on a daily basis. If you remember, we talked about how important grooming your horse is so at least carry out part of the grooming process each and every day to help keep your horse healthy and clean.

It is important to check to make sure his halter is fastened securely and then place him in the cross ties before you start grooming. You can begin the usual routine once he is fastened to the cross ties. Check your horse's eyes, ears and teeth to be sure they are all in good shape. Look for any scrapes or unusual bumps. Also run your hands along down each of his legs, checking for any kind of damage.

Pick up each leg and clean the hooves to be sure that no sharp stones or other foreign debris is compacted around the frog area. Be especially careful that you keep the hooves clean and free of debris, because thrush, a serious hoof infection which can cripple a horse, is often caused by dirty hooves. Don't neglect your horse's mane and tail. You will need to comb out tangles and snarls to keep that flowing mane and tail looking beautiful.

If you will be riding your horse, it is especially important to complete the final part of the grooming routine, combing your horse's coat. This removes dirt, loose hair and debris from his body. The reason for this very important step is that saddle sores can develop on your horse if a saddle is placed on top of a dirty coat for a long period of time.

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