Grooming Horses and The Many Benefits of Horse Grooming
Grooming horses – the many benefits of grooming that can so easily be forgotten with your daily care.
Keep these thoughts in your head and keep your eyes sharp…
When you are grooming horses it is an easy way of going over and feeling, seeing and assessing their physical body. You will be able to detect and find any recent injuries, cuts or swellings. You are also able to assess their weight and condition:-
- e.g. are their ribs showing too much or too little?
- are they getting too cresty?
- what is their coat looking and feeling like?
Regular grooming will help you pick up things that can so easily get missed. It can take a while to appreciate how sharp your eyes can become at noticing little things, when you are grooming and handling a horse on a regular basis. What you detect may see small and insignificant and unimportant, but over time it can and will build up a picture in your mind as to how this horse is doing.
If anything catches your eye or seems unusual e.g :-
- Bumps and Swellings,
- Mud fever,
make a mental note of if and investigate. Some of what you find will need treating and looking into. See the Horse Ailments page for further advice.
You also get to see and feel, when grooming horses, their muscle outline, their tone or lack of tone and their weight. Then as they work and come on, you will see changes and improvement in their outline, muscle development and condition. All this is a very important benefit of grooming.
You will pick up and see early signs of poor fitting tack, where it may be rubbing and making them sore, another benefit of horse grooming.
This has always been a very important part of horsecare and horse grooming.
Many people working with performance horses, will be running their hands down the horses front tendons and checking them,
- often, several times a day.
This is because the tendons are particularly vunerable to injury with shod horses, due to the:-
- strain that is put on them
- and the poor blood circulation to the area
especically from and due to their metal shoes.
When checking the tendons you are predominantly looking for heat and swelling and puffiness.
(If your horse is barefoot the circulation is much better in their legs and hooves and their tendons are far less vunerable. This without question is a huge advantage with barefoot horses.)
If they are sore in the leg or foot, this can sometimes show up by them resting one leg and not weight bearing on it. If this is the case, it is normally easy to spot when you are grooming them.
So just a lot of little things, but all of which will continually help you monitor and care for your horse.
A big benefit of grooming horses is how they can look after you have worked on them.
If you keep in mind natural horsecare, their coat contains lots of oils and grease that will be protecting the horse and keeping him warm. So you do not want to be removing all of this all the time.
There is a balance between what is best for them and what looks good.
Day to day you can lightly groom them and remove any mud and sweat that is situated where the tack will sit if the horse is to be ridden.
Then with events, outings etc you can do a more thorough groom, so he is gleaming if that’s what you want. See Horse Grooming Products for more advice on grooming for appearence.
Another benefit with grooming horses is that you are able at the same time to be communicating with them.
When one is handling a horse you are all the time communicating with them.
- Your body language,
- your hands
- and your voice
will all the time be having an effect on them.
If you are:-
- too strong this will create fear and tension
- if you are too weak and they walk all over you, this will also create tension and problems,
as they need clearness and a sense of direction from you.
The challenge is:-
- finding the balance.
When grooming them you will be able to pick up and feel how they are feeling and many small things which maybe very helpful and relevent when you are riding them.
How kind you are with your hands when grooming him is what your horse will be feeling and what you will be relaying to him.
Touch is one of the most important things in healing and maintaining health. A horse can feel a fly land on them they are very sensitive to touch just as we are.
So when grooming you are talking to your horse with your hands. Are your hands:-
- kind or are they in a hurry?
- are you focused on what you are doing or are you thinking about something else?
The above covers some of the main benefits of grooming horses.
By keeping these thoughts in your mind when grooming, this may further contribute and help you towards the:-
- Care of your horse(s),
- Assessing their health
- Building up trust between rider and horse.