Horse people certainly do not need the groundhog to make an appearance to know if spring is coming! They just need to look at their shedding horses and piles of loose hair after grooming to know it is SPRING! When your horses have been replaced by wooly mammoths over the course of the winter, you learn what grooming tools are really worth keeping in your grooming kit!
The first essential tool is a shedding blade. In my opinion this is a much more flexible and efficient tool than your standard metal curry comb. You can open up the shedding blade which allows you to cover more area and apply more even and consistent pressure along the horses body to remove the most hair or mud in the least amount of time. This will reduce your grooming time… you gotta have one! These also can double as a squeegy if you turn it over and use the flat side…dual purpose!
If your horses hair is still not quite ready to come out you can use a rubber curry comb in a circular motion across your horses body to encourage hair to come out. This one had a hand strap so you don’t have to hold it, however, I really like the Furbliss rubber curry as i feel I have a better hold and can use this one more efficiently. This will also increase circulation to the skin, help distribute natural oils in your horses coat to bring out a nice shine also is a great massage for your horse! You on the other hand will feel like the Karate Kid in the Wax on/ Wax off scene when you finish but your horse will LOVE you!
Next you need a good stiff bristle body brush. This brush is great if your horse has rolled in some mud in the summer and you need to get that off… but they no longer have their winter coat. This brush is also great for hooves or any other tough areas to get clean. You will also need a soft body brush or finishing brush. This brush will help get the finer dust particles or dander off your horse while distributing the natural oils and making your horses coat soft and shiny. You may also want to consider a face brush – this is just a smaller soft brush that you can use more easily around the delicate features of your horses face.
The one tool that is really the MAGIC WEAPON of grooming, I was shocked to learn many of my students had never seen or used one! If you have never used a Slick and Easy... now is the time! This is a jack of all trades tool… it is must for shedding out horses, and giving a great finish and shine to your horses coat. If you were thinking of spending a bunch of money ( like 40 bucks!!) on a strip hair tool… save your money and purchase a few of these Slick and Easy’s for a fraction of the cost and these will do a better job! They are a porous sulfur based block… right? Sulfur! .. but they don’t smell too bad! You can press these firmly against your horses body and use it just like the shedding blade…. and watch the results! Best secret in your grooming box!
If you have lesson kids, grand kids or even neighbor kids you need braid binders... as kids love to braid manes and tails. These are perfectly sized rubber bands for using on manes and tails AND they come in different colors to match your horse. The best brush hands down I have found for trails is the professional’s choice mane and tail brush. It has flexible teeth, and does not rip out the hair like regular combs.. and sensitive horses like my horse Dreamy that hates her mane brushed… definitely tolerate it much better! This brush also is fabulous to use on shedding horses or muddy horses. They even have a smaller hand held version that comes in fun colors like PINK!
Don’t forget your Hoof pick… as they say no hoof… no horse! I like the picks with a brush, so you can really get the foot clean and make sure there is nothing hiding in there!
To finish off my Must HAVE’s… I like to finish my horse off with some laser sheen. I like to purchase the concentrate and mix it myself… I can get the equivalent of 4 spray bottles that way and it is much more economical to buy and to ship! This stuff is fabulous for getting tangles out of ratted manes and tails, adds an awesome shine to your horse… and helps repel dirt to help keep your horse cleaner and easier to groom next time… Bonus!! Use caution though… use this AFTER you ride or do not apply it to your saddle area… it will make your horse a bit slippery!!
Finally you will need to put all your items in a grooming tote. You can get a standard tote in plastic of different colors… or you can opt for the newer versions of fancy grooming bags!
If you use all these items …and especially my favorite secret weapons… the Slick and Easy… the Professional’s Choice Mane and Tail Brush and the Laser Sheen… your horse will be show ring ready! Happy Grooming!