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Grooming Tools for Horses

Guest Author - Susan Hopf

The rubber curry – this medium hard, round rubber comb is great for lifting dirt and dried sweat off of the skin and bringing it to the surface. Works well for shedding and can be used everywhere on the body except for the lower legs and face. There are softer models of the rubber curry made specifically for these more sensitive areas and they work equally as well. Most horses love the massaging effect of these handy combs making them a must have for any grooming kit.

Plastic currycombs – these are stiffer versions of the rubber curry and not as effective in any aspect. These relative newcomers to the grooming kit are rigid and most horses do not like them – especially those very thin skinned and sensitive breeds such as Thoroughbreds. They do however make a great mane and tail comb and with a bit of care (don’t pull the hair out) will help keep the longer hair of both the mane and tail well tamed.

Stiff brush – either made of plastic or plant fiber and can have either long or short bristles. The long bristle stiff brush is also called a “flicker” brush and as its name implies does a good job of flicking the dirt from the coat. The use of the curry brings the dirt to the surface and this brush removes such dirt from the horse. Can be used on all parts of the body except for lower legs and face. Also makes a good brush for finishing the mane and tail.

The soft brush – often made from horse hair this brush is for the face and lower legs as well as to produce a shine once the dirt has been removed. Safe enough for the most sensitive areas, including around the eyes, it is also called a finishing brush.

The hoof pick – as the name implies this is the tool that will help pick out mud, stones and other debris from the hoof. Some are just a pick and some include a stiff brush adjacent to the pick. Having both on hand is a good idea as the picks that come with a brush are too weak to pick out stones that may have lodged under a shoe – they also fail to hold up to ice balls that often occur when horses wear shoes without pads in the winter.

Some specialty items:

Bot knife or block – both are designed to remove bot eggs from the coat of the horse.
Bot eggs are most often found on the inside of the knees and are laid by the bot fly. Horses lick and ingest the eggs, which will then mature into bot larvae where they will feast on the intestines until a de-wormer is administered – best to remove them as soon as they are noticed.

Clippers – these come in a multitude of sizes and brands. The smaller, battery operated clippers are great for trimming muzzles. The heavier, medium-sized clippers to a good job with trimming fetlock feathers, bridle paths and in the right hands for trimming manes as well. Heavy-duty clippers with wide blades are necessary for body clipping regardless of the clip style that you wish to produce. The medium clippers will become hot and the blades will dull and clog too fast to efficiently complete this tough clipping job.

Pulling combs – designed to pull the mane hair in order to thin it for braiding. Pulling manes is a painful process and one that should be retired. Thinning blades and scissors work just as well for trimming the mane and preparing it for braiding.

Shedding blades – a long metal saw-toothed band with a handle on each end designed to grab onto the long winter hair of the equine coat. These make shedding season bearable but take care – as soon as the coat is shedded these tools can dig into the skin and cause irritation.

There are a myriad of brands and styles of grooming products out there – most horse people have personal preferences. As long as you understand their intended purpose as well as their limitations with time you too will design your own grooming kit to fit you and your horses’ needs making grooming more fun and efficient.

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Content copyright © 2014 by Susan Hopf. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Susan Hopf. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Kim Wende for details.

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