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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Gonzales

Basic Grooming Guide for New Horse Owners

Horses are beautiful, highly intelligent, and soulful creatures, but they require a lot of attention and work. If you are thinking about becoming a first-time horse owner, then this guide is for you! Be sure that you have the time, energy, and patience for this undertaking. If you don't, it's not fair to the horses. Just like every other four-legged family member, they need just as much love and attention, if not more.

Photos by @colonial.farms. You can find more images located in 'The Gardeners Portfolio".


There are specific tools that you are going to need. It's very important to make sure that you are keeping up their grooming. Just like us, their skin can get irritated, dry, or form rashes so it's important to keep the excess dirt, dead hair, and moisture off of them.

  • Curry Comb - this is used to loosening the extra hair and dirt, bringing it to the surface. Be sure to use this brush in a circular motion.

  • Hard Brush - after using the curry comb, you will use the hard brush to remove the dirt and hair that the curry comb brought to the surface. Be sure to use this brush in quick, short flicks.

  • Soft Brush - this is also known as a body brush and is used to get rid of any extra dirt that the other two did not get and to smooth and shine the coat. Be sure to use this brush in smooth long strokes.

  • Hoof Pick - this is a must-have! It is a hooked metal tool used to remove dirt and rocks from a horse’s hooves. Be sure to start from the heel and work towards the toe, carefully removing debris.

  • Mane & Tail Brush - you want to make sure to keep the mane and tail from constantly having knots and tangles. These brushes are often made from sturdy plastic since horses have coarse hair.

  • Mane and Tail Detangler - sometimes you need some assistance getting those knots and tangles out. Detangler works wonders!

  • Shedding Tool - you are going to defiantly want one of these, especially when your horse is shedding its winter coat! They are made to safely remove horses' winter coats and consist of a metal blade with teeth. This loosens their hair with ease without irritating their skin.

  • Sponge - you will need a sponge for baths and cooling them down with water after a ride on a warm day.

  • Sweat Scraper - these are used to remove any excess moisture off a horse. They come in either metal or rubber blades.

  • First Aid Kit - you want to make sure you always have a first aid kit on hand, especially when out riding or working. This will have a cotton roll, gauze pads, scissors, a hoof pick, tweezers, a flashlight, antiseptic soap, disinfectant, and pliers.

Make sure to always groom your horse before and after your ride, especially on a warm day. Brushing them before your ride removes any dirt and debris where the saddle is going to sit. Brushing them afterward removes any sweat and accumulated dirt, but be sure to use the right tools. Also, if it's a warm day, it's a good idea to spray them down to help them cool off before grooming them.

Your grooming is also going to be different depending on the seasons! They do shed coats seasonally to help them adjust to temperatures.

Photos by @colonial.farms. You can find more images located in 'The Gardeners Portfolio".

Be sure to consider the intended life for your horse (pasture horse or working horse), and the size of your land, and make sure you have the proper housing, pasture, paddock, fencing, feed, and health care (everything from foot to dental).

Like all other children, they are not cheap! But just like all of our other children, they are worth it.

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