The right brush can make or break your horse's grooming routine, so it’s worth investing in the best ones for their skin and coat. Fortunately there are many options for every budget. Let's take a closer look at the different types of brushes, as well as the best brush for each situation.
Step 1 - Curry Comb
Curry combs should be a staple in a grooming routine. They are usually round ridged with a strap, have a place to slide your hand, and sometimes take the shape of a glove. Curries have short dull teeth on the grooming side made from rubber, plastic or sometimes even metal. They are intended to break up any hard clumps or caked on dirt from your horse’s coat and loosen dead hair from within their coat to make it easier to remove. In addition, when used correctly, curry combs help stimulate a horse’s skin to encourage their coat to shine.
How to Use: To use a curry comb, begin by gently currying the hair in the opposite direction of growth in a circular motion, using caution in boney areas such as their spine or legs where sensitive. As you continue this circular motion across your horse body, you will notice the loose hair and dirt coming to the surface ready for removal with brush number two.
Step 2 - Dandy Brush
Dandy brushes are essential! It's the tool to use after a curry comb as they help to further remove any dirt and loosened hair from your horse’s coat. The dandy brush has stiff bristles made of nylon or natural fibers that help to break up stubborn dirt and dead hair and whisk it away from your horse’s coat. You can use a dandy brush on any section of your horse’s body, but it is great for those areas that are too sensitive for a curry comb, and of course it's Dandy brush for the win on the legs and face.
Dandy brushes come in many different sizes, shapes and colors and have differing levels of coarseness depending on what they are made from. The courser the brush the more effective it will be at removing that hard core caked on dirt, but we tend to favour the traditional feel of a natural fibers and quite frankly, that kind of spa treatment might require a bucket and pail with some soak and water before the brushing even starts.
How to use: Begin by brushing your horses coat in the direction of hair growth from top to bottom using short strokes. Use gentle pressure and flick the loose dirt and hair away from your horse's body. A flick brush is a specialty dandy type brush that helps make this easier.
Step 3 - Body Brush
A body brushes' primary use is to finish off your horse’s coat. They are designed to not only grab those last pieces of dirt and loose hair, but also massage your horse’s skin to ensure your horse's coat is shining. To cap off your brushing regime; a specialty face brush usually ULTRA soft, will almost certainly send your horse to cloud nine when used.
How to use: A simple sweeping action across your horse’s body in the direction of the hair oils all you need to do with this style of brush to stimulate a smooth and shiny coat.
Step 4 - Mane and Tail Brush
Mane and tail brushes are designed with long soft bristles that are spaced widely apart. These bristles help to detangle the mane and tail and remove any loose hair, shavings, or particles left behind. The long shape of the brush helps to reach those hard-to-get areas and in all honesty, the best types of mane and tail brushes look very similar to what you might brush your own hair with. If the teeth are flexible, this will serve in preserving your horse's tail into the long, and lush fly swatter it was meant to be.
How to use: We can’t stress enough to please BE GENTLE; horses have coarse mane and tail hair that can get tangled and break very easily. Start with a dry tail and go from the bottom up working in small sections while holding all the tail hair in your hand. Another pro-tip: "When in doubt..pick it out". You are best to finger pick through the hair and gently remove any knots or particles prior ensuring the fullest tail possible.
Step 5 - Hoof Pick
There is no right or wrong in which order you choose this step. Many people like to pick their horses feet out before leaving the stall to make sure they are leaving the barn isle tidy. Picking your horses feet out regularly allows you to check for infections such as thrush, remove stones or debris caught in crevices, and also ensure the quality/health of your horses feet. There are many different types of hoof picks available. Typically, they are designed with a metal hook and a wood or hard plastic handle that fits comfortably in your hand. Some have a stack of very coarse bristles on the backside to help sweep away stubborn or excess dirt and debris to ensure your horse is always moving in comfort.
How to use: First, gently pick up your horse’s foot, then starting on one side of the frog pick out any debris so that it falls completely away from the horse’s sole. Repeat this on the other side of the frog and be sure that there are no small stones or gravel that want to make that their new home. Pick any remaining dirt or shavings out until the hoof is clean and free of any dirt, mud, debris, or shavings.
Well, there it is in a nutshell, five basic steps that will help you keep your horse looking fresh and clean. At Ride Every Stride Inc. we offer grooming products that can help you get the job done, the best part is, they are all CUSTOMIZABLE! Add your barn or business logo, name, or even a monogram.
Thanks for reading!