Your Guide to Grooming Your Horse

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Your Guide to Grooming Your Horse

Horses are an enjoyable pastime, whether the rider simply rides for pleasure or they aim to compete in show jumping competitions, it is vital that a horse is well groomed and cared for. But where does one start and what sort of tools does a rider need when grooming a horse? What sort of brushes do they need?

This guide will help the horse rider understand the stages of grooming a horse and also what important grooming equipment is needed. All of this can be found on eBay with ease.

How Grooming Benefits a Horse

Grooming a horse will hold obvious benefits such as keeping the skin and coat in good condition. Other benefits with grooming are being able to check the horse’s health during the grooming process. When grooming it is important to keep gentle contact with the horse and speak in gentle tones. Regular grooming helps encourage blood flow to the surface of the horse’s skin and picking the hooves clean of dirt and stones will help prevent conditions like thrush and lameness in legs.

The Essential Horse Grooming Kit

The following table breaks down everything that is needed for a grooming a horse:



Dandy Brush

A Dandy Brush is a big brush with long, hard bristles which is used to remove the dust and mud from the horse’s coat. This brush is best used dry.

Body Brush

Similar to the dandy brush, this Body Brush has softer bristles and is used to remove the grease and dirt from the horse’s coat. This brush can be used on the horses head but not on sensitive parts such as the muzzle.

Rubber Curry Comb

A Rubber Curry Comb is a small, square rubber with wide teeth around the edge. These are used to remove loose hair and mud from the horse’s coat.

Metal Curry Comb

This has more teeth than a rubber curry comb, and is never to be used on a horse, only to clean and remove hair and dirt from the other brushes.

Hoof Pick

A Hoof Pick is made from metal or plastic, these basic pick shaped tools are used to remove dirt and pebbles from the horse’s hoof.

Sweat Scraper

A Sweat Scraper is an arched piece of semi flexible rubber which is held onto a handle, this is used to wipe any sweat off the horse’s body in a downward motion.

Mane Comb

A Mane Comb is made from metal or plastic, a mane comb is used to help separate the mane when plaiting.


Useful for cleaning open sores or the eye and nose area of the horse’s face but it must be disinfected between uses in order to prevent the spread of infection.

Disposable Baby Wipes

A packet of Disposable Baby Wipes is handy for cleaning any discharge from the horse’s nose or eyes, these can be thrown away and prevent cross contamination.

Grooming Kit Box

A Grooming Kit Box in which to place all of the grooming equipment.

Preparing to Groom the Horse

Before the rider starts to groom the horse there are a few things that need to be done before hand. The rider must ensure that they have a level space on which to place the horse, preferably away from the horse’s stall. If there is a lot of dust on the horse’s coat, dust may settle in the stall and possibly cause respiratory problems for the horse.

Have all of the grooming equipment ready to hand, this will prevent the rider from looking for items and leaving the horse unattended. The rider should have a soft head collar and lead rope at hand to secure the horse to a secure post.

Step One: Secure Horse to the Post/Wall

Take the horse and lead it to the post and secure it from the head collar to the post. It is vital to use a quick release knot which can be undone with a swift, single pull. This is a safety measure to stop the horse from hurting itself in the event of it becoming distressed. The rider should watch for the horse’s body language to see how it is reacting to the grooming.

Step Two: Cleaning and Picking Out the Hooves

Taking the hoof pick in one hand, the rider should gently run their hand down the length of the horse’s leg and cup the hood in their hand and gently lift the hoof. The horse may fidget but a well-trained horse will be used to this action. Standing to the side of the horse (this will prevent the horse from kicking out at the rider), the rider should take the hoof pick and gently pick out the dirt in a downward motion, away from the body. All mud and grit should come away in a few practised strokes. Repeat as necessary with the other hooves of the horse.

Tip: Avoid the ‘frog’ of the hoof at all costs, this is a triangular shaped piece of tissue in the hoof which is extremely sensitive, and may cause the horse to lash out if the hoof pick comes into contact with the frog.

Step Three: Grooming the Body

Taking the rubber curry comb, start from the shoulders of the horse and working towards its rump, use the curry comb in small, energetic circles to loosen dirt and any excess hair off the horse’s coat. Avoid using on bony parts of the body like the legs, spine and neck of the horse as this could cause discomfort. Repeat on the other side of the body, working from shoulders to the rump again. Wash the curry comb in warm water and wipe dry ready for next use.

Next, take the dandy brush and by following the direction of the hair growth, use short flicking motions to get the dust out of the horse’s coat. Avoid using on the sensitive areas like the face, belly and legs of the horse.

Take the body brush or an equally soft bristled brush and carefully brush downwards to remove any surface dust. A very soft body brush can be used on the horse’s face and legs if little pressure is used. Clean the body brush with the metal curry comb, preferably away from the horse.

Step Four: Cleaning the Horse’s Face and Brushing the Mane and Tail

Taking a clean sponge and some warm water, wipe over the horse’s face, paying attention to the eye and nose area. Make sure to clean the sponge between each use. Disposable baby wipes are also good for cleaning the eye and nose area.

Separate the mane into a few sections and starting at the bottom, take a handful of mane in the free hand and work through a few knots at the bottom with the comb, slowly working upwards. A horse doesn’t have feeling when hair is pulled out but don’t be too hard as it may still cause the horse irritation. Work up the mane towards the ears, taking more care not to use sudden movements so close to the horse’s facial area. Ensure the mane is sitting on the correct side for the horse; this will be easy to tell as the hair falls to a particular side.

Taking the tail in one hand, separate into a few sections, and starting from the bottom, work up towards the top. Tease out any large knots with both hands and work the comb/brush through until the tail is free of knots.

Tip: Never stand behind the horse when brushing its tail; always stand to the stand of the horse.

Step Five: The Finishing Touches

Check the condition of the hooves and if they are in need of a little grooming, apply a good quality hoof ointment. Hoof oils are not advised to be used, as hoof oils tend to dry out the hoof.

Apply some fly protection spray to the horse’s coat if it is the season for flies. For horses with a pale muzzle, a little sun screen to prevent this sensitive area becoming sunburnt.


Grooming holds much benefit for both horse and owner; the horse can become used to close human contact and the owner can check the condition of the horse. Buying horse grooming products on eBay is simple, whether the buyer is looking for a complete set, or buying a particular body brush, or getting a young rider started in grooming a horse, everything can be found on eBay.

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