Everyone knows that there are horses out there that just don’t want to listen. They don’t want to move, go anywhere, stand still or let you brush them. Amongst these, foals and yearlings are more likely to have issues with this. However, if you have a horse that has struggled with this since it was a foal, then this is what you need to do.
Most horses are used to either being tied or put in cross ties. What is tying? When you tie your horse you are taking the lead rope and ‘tying’ it to a pole, tie hook or another tie accessory. Cross tying is when you have two opposing walls and on each wall is an attached lead line, these are often ‘Quick Release’ lines that are often used in trailers. If the space is bigger than this will accommodate, putting a bungee tie on will help. Many horse owners prefer cross tying, since it keeps the horse in the middle of the walkway or wash rack. You have room to go around the horse without worrying about them all the sudden moving on you. This is often common for Farrier’s as well. Since they have access to all four hooves without worrying about the horse moving around.
When it comes to grooming however, either way works. If your horse is extremely disobedient and rather pushy then cross tying is recommended. When beginning your grooming lesson make sure your horse is securely tied and you have the proper equipment.
Let’s take a minute to go over some ideal needs for grooming. When grooming your horse on a daily basis for basic care and needs you will need: A soft brush, a hard brush, curry comb, hoof pick, regular comb and a horse ‘hair’ brush. Hairbrushes for horses are made more durable and from stronger materials. Horsehair is very hard to brush through so having a good, sturdy brush will help immensely.
If you’re going to be trimming your horses bridle path having a good clipper set is ideal. A good favorite is Oster, they make several different models in varying prices. Finding your best fit is essential.
To Begin: If your horse hasn’t had a bath in awhile, complete that step first. Working with clean and wet hair is often easier when it comes to clipping. Working with a fresh, clean and dry coat is much easier when it comes to brushing. If you’re not in an area where you can bathe, or the weather is too cold that’s fine too. You’ll just need to put a little more elbow work into it.
To begin brushing always follow your horses hair direction and go from shoulder to buttocks, never backwards. Always follow the direction of your horse’s coat; going with your horses hair is what gets the guff and muck out. Using your rough brush first, this brush is hard bristled, longer and used to get the primary dirt up and out. Brush from shoulder to buttocks using smaller, stronger strokes when you see more dust and relaxing a bit when you don’t see as much. If your horse is shedding, using your currycomb to get the hair off your brush helps keep it clean. Once you’ve finished grooming both of your horses sides, legs, buttocks, shoulder and neck you can move on the soft brush. A soft brush is the only brush we use on the face. Skin there is much more sensitive and using the softer brush will get the dirt and grime out. Following the same procedure shoulder to buttocks. If you’re horse is bouncing around in a particular area, brush in the same spot until he calms down. Use very little pressure if you’re there for a while, more than 5 to 10 minutes. Once he’s calm, move on. This will teach him that you’re working and you’re going to keep working until he calms down.
If you’re horse is a mud covered mess, your currycomb should be used first to get most of the dirt out. Be careful with your currycomb though, since it has sharper ends to get past the tough stuff it can cause some irritation if used too roughly. Once all mud is gone, follow the same steps using your rough brush and soft brush.
There are products you can buy that are sprays, which detangle your horses mane and tail. One such product is called “Mane and Tail Detangler” another good brand is “Show Sheen” but be careful with show sheen. If you buy the small bottle that isn’t diluted you’ll have to do it yourself and if you get it wrong you’ll be wasting product.
And important thing to remember is: ALWAYS stay by the horses shoulder when using spray for the first time. You have better control here. Only when he is calm should you move on. Water in a spray bottle is a good first alternative.
If you’re against the “Spraying” than you can spray some on a cloth and just rub it on as well. If you do it this way, be sure to rub in the same direction as the coat. Not Against. This will also help to keep dirt off of your horse and make it easier to brush them.
Your final step is cleaning the hooves. This is, sadly, where most people have the problems. Cleaning hooves can be tricky because you trust your horse to let you hold its hoof. If you experience any trouble just tell your horse, ‘quit’ or “stand still’ and make sure you stay close to the shoulder when working the front and close to the body when working the back. Don’t dig too hard with your hoof pick, work slow to bring out the mud and rocks. A really nice hoof pick is one that has a brush on one side. This is very nice for getting the loose dirt out and keeps your horse’s hooves clean.
Once you’ve finished that, your horse should be completely groomed. You should have a nice sheen to your horses coat and have a silky texture if you have used a product like ‘Showsheen’ on your horse.
Remember, never spray showsheen on the area where your saddle will sit. You should only spray here if you’re doing a showmanship class or competition, and only if this is your only event. It will take two to three days for the showsheen to leave your horses coat.