Regular grooming keeps your horse’s skin and coat healthy, but do you know all of the related health benefits? Learn about the physical and psychological benefits of grooming, as well as tricks for how ShowSheen® products can make horse grooming easier, while amplifying the results.
Taking the time for daily grooming offers an opportunity to build a relationship with your horse outside of the saddle. This bonding time is enjoyable for your horse and a stress reliever for you, and it allows you to become familiar with each other’s habits and idiosyncrasies. You will get to know your horse on a detailed level and learn what is “normal” for him and therefore be able to tell when things may be abnormal. Connections built in this low pressure environment carry also over to your working relationship.
Checking for Minor Wounds
Grooming offers a daily time for you to “get your hands on your horse”. Use this time to check the following:
Assess your horse’s muscling and weight and determine how your conditioning and training program is progressing.
Identify potential injuries from too much play time.
Remove mud and dirt, especially from lower legs. This will reveal any cuts or abrasions, as well as prevent fungal or bacterial infections like scratches or rain rot.
Tip: Applying a hair polish over the coat before clipping helps to reduce friction, which keeps the clippers cooler. This means clipping is more comfortable for your horse and that the life of your clippers will be extended.
Use horse grooming time to look for external parasites, such as ticks and bot eggs, which can carry disease. Look for these under your horse’s jowl, as well as on their neck, chest, and legs. Additionally, grooming can be a way for you to notice indications of internal parasites that would otherwise be difficult to diagnose without a laboratory test. Is your horse itching all of the hair out of the top of its tail? Maybe he or she has a case of pin worms. Is your horse’s coat looking scruffy and lackluster? It may be time to ask your vet to test a manure sample for parasites.
Burr removal can be frustrating, but there are ways to make it quicker and easier. To make the process less painful and less damaging to the hair, try using a detangler spray or detangler gel like ShowSheen®. For tangled tails and manes, saturate the hair with a detangler spray and let it absorb and dry before working the burrs out. For tangled unicorn-style forelocks, use the detangler gel with its targeted applicator tip – the targeted tip helps get the gel deep inside a tangled nest of hair and is also the ideal way to work around the horse’s face.
Having a healthy mane and tail not only helps your horse look his best, but also helps to increase his natural fly defenses. When two horses are standing together in a field, end to end, brushing the flies away from each other’s faces, it is important to make sure they have the best tool possible: a moisturized tail free of knots and snarls.
Tip: When you have burdock tangles like below, don’t try to pull on the burdock. Instead, hold onto it and pull the hairs away from it. For severely knotted nest-like tangles, saturate the hair with the detangler gel or detangler spray and then gently work the hair loose with a clean hoof pick before removing the burrs.
Maintaining Healthy Skin and Coat
Grooming before and after a ride helps loosen and remove dirt and sweat, which if left on the skin can cause drying, buildup and irritation. Grooming before your ride ensures that dirt and loose hair are removed, which will help prevent girth and saddle rubs. All of the elbow grease that you put in during grooming also helps disperse your horse’s natural oils throughout his coat, helping to keep it moisturized and healthy. Sweat from workouts can wash away these natural oils, so using a spray to help moisturize, revitalize the shine and protect the hair after grooming can very beneficial.
Tip: Using a hair polish after post-ride grooming or bathing will help to repel dirt and mud, keeping your horse’s coat clean and shiny longer. It also reduces static and prevents rubbing, so is a perfect product to use when your horse wears a fly sheet or blanket.