Spring often marks the beginning of new things. New buds on trees, new songbirds singing and as all equestrians know, a new summer coat for horses. This transition means you need to consistently groom your horse to keep them looking their best.
Grooming is a vital part of horse ownership and has been proven to strengthen the bond between horse and rider. Horses should be thoroughly groomed once a week with smaller ‘touch up’ grooms in-between. This practice means any scratches, rain rot, or chaffing due to tack can be treated or avoided altogether.
Try out these five grooming practices for better equine health:
A rubber curry comb may be the single most powerful tool in a grooming bag. Great for tackling dust and dander, a curry comb is a universal tool that can do several jobs.
Currying your horse during every grooming session can loosen dirt and dander, allowing them to be flicked away with a brush. It also increases blood flow, promotes thermoregulation, and stimulates the skin’s natural oils called sebum. Plus, currying in large circular motions means you’re massaging muscle groups on your horse, keeping them supple and loose for exercise.
If a rubber curry isn’t getting the job done on thick, shedding hair or caked-on mud, it might be time to call in the shedding blade and metal curry comb. Similarly constructed, these two items gently rake hair and mud out of the coat with tiny metal teeth. To keep your horse comfortable, rake with the direction of their hair.
Keeping mud to a minimum is hygienic and lets you look for bumps and scrapes more easily. It also allows better winter-coat shedding.
As the temperatures warm up, flies begin their yearly siege on all living things. Not only are they annoying, but they can carry infectious diseases such as equine infectious anemia. Horses’ constant foot-stomping to clear flies can also lead to foot soreness and cracks in hooves.
To avoid this, liberally apply fly spray once a day (or more) to keep your horses comfortable.
We highly recommend Citraquin® Environmental Defense Spray.
Cute and conditioned
Currying will help bring out your horses’ natural oils, but sometimes their coat, mane, and tail need a little extra help. To avoid dry hair and itchy skin that comes with increased sunshine and springtime allergens, invest in a coat conditioner to spray on their body.
Conditioners such as Healthy Hair Care Moisturizer uses lanolin to hydrate hair and control dandruff.
Watch for thrush
As springtime rains turn parts of pastures into mud pits, vigilantly watching for thrush in horses’ feet can save you a lot of headaches. Thrush is caused by bacteria that inflame the horse’s frog and at its worst, can cause lameness.
Picking out feet with a hoof pick on a daily basis and offering horses a dry spot to stand are the best preventative measures. If a horse contracts thrush, which is identifiable by a rotting scent, contact your farrier or veterinarian for the best steps to treat it.
PRO-TIP: Silver Hoof EQ Therapy® by Draw It Out is great for improving dry, cracked, and chipped hooves and helps increase hoof strength and pliability to prevent cracks and also helps restore and support flexible, healthy hooves.
(Bonus!) Body clip
Horses with a metabolic disease called Cushings might need some help shedding their winter coat. As the days grow warmer a wooly horse can become uncomfortable and is more susceptible to heat stress.
Partial or full body clipping of a horse with Cushings is a common part of their treatment plan. Select clippers that are robust enough for the job and research clipping patterns and methods to best help your horse.
Remember, grooming consistently is the best way to groom for health, and staying vigilant to any changes throughout the body will keep your horse happy and healthy. Now get out there and groom!