Regular grooming is essential for a horse, not only because it cleans the coat and improves appearance but also because it helps develop trust between the horse and its owner. Understanding the importance of that trust, Emma Ford has decided to give every horse owner some cool grooming tips in her new book.
Cleaning Hooves Before and After
A horse’s hooves need to be cleaned before and after you ride. The first step is to lift the horse’s foot. You can do this by reaching down the leg of the horse and squeezing the fetlock, or the horse’s ankle. Use a hoof pick to clean out dirt and grime by moving the hoof pick away from your body as you don’t want to get injured if the horse tries to release its foot. Start at the heel and move forward towards the toe but be careful not to use the hoof pick around the frog, or the soft V-shaped part of the hoof, as it is very sensitive and using a hoof pick on it incorrectly can cause lameness. Cleaning the hooves before riding will help prevent thrush, a kind of fungus, and make it more comfortable for the horse to run.
Combing Your Horse
A curry comb is used in the first step of combing a horse. It is used to dislodge the loose hair and dirt caught in the coat. Use a vigorous circular movement against the direction of growth of the hair and avoid bony areas as it may cause discomfort to the horse and cause it to misbehave. Start from one side of the neck and work towards the hindquarters. Then repeat for the other side.
After the curry comb, a dandy brush is used to remove the dirt and hair dislodged by the curry comb. It is also known as a hard brush and should not be used on the face and legs of the horse. You may start from the neck and work your way to the tail. If the horse has been running in the mud, a mud brush is used which has very hard bristles to remove mud. Make sure that the mud is completely dry before brushing it off or the mud will get carried under the hair.
These, and many other tips are sited by Emma Ford in her new book that aims to answer all the questions that horse owners might have about grooming. She is a top-tier groomer who has groomed horses at multiple four-star events. With over 1,200 pictures, the book aims to help groomers in an easy to understand way. Ford, along with her colleague Cat Hill, is also teaching at some grooming clinics around the country. If you need some cool grooming tips, do take a look at World Class Grooming for Horses by Emma Ford. It will cost you $39.95, which is a very small price to pay in order to have your horses feeling and looking fresher and better.
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