To mantain his health, the stabled horse requires regular daily grooming
Grooming is a very important daily practice to maintain the horse’s health. The fit horse on a high concentrate diet excretes a considerable amount of waste products through the skin, so thorough grooming is essential. However there are circumstances when grooming should be reduced. For example, the sick horse, who has to be kept quiet, needs only minimal grooming, while one with an infection disease, for example ringworm, should not be groomed, since there is a risk of spreading the infection over the horse’s body. When not in work, the grass-kept horse doesn’t require grooming. The natural oils in his coat help to keep him warm. When in work, he requires only modified grooming: remove surface mud, check his feet and generally tidy him up.
Grooming the horse performs a number of essential functions:
- It cleans the horse and improves his appearence
- It improves blood flow to the skin
- It may help with muscle tone
- It allows us to develop good relation with the horse
- It gives us opportunity to check the horse over and ensure his well-being
In order to do a good work we must consider: how the horse is kept, outside temperature, level of fitness, time of year. Whether the horse is kept in or out and wheter he is rugged or unrugged will have a bearing on grooming. An animal living out needs to keep the grease on his coat. He shoulh have mud and dust removed and should have his eyes, nostrils and dock washed and his hooves good picked out. A horse who is stabled can receive a complete grooming.
Before starting grooming you must assemble all equipement needed. Tie the horse up. His coat should be dry; if the skin is wet it is almost impossible to get it clean with brushes and, on the thinskinned animal, mud can be brushed into the skin and cause infection.
Sensitive horse, particulary when fit, are often tricky to groom. They require firm but tactful handling. Corrections can be given by the voice or by a firm attitude but never a horse should be hit and even more he should never be treated by a junior or inexperienced people. Inexperienced people are liable to punish the horse at the wrong moment for the wrong reason because they don’t know the nature of horses and they natural behaviour.
Do only what you are able to do and learn what, how and when to do from experienced staff and horsemen.