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Grooming and caring for your horse as well as you can is a given. But what does it take to do this in the best way?
Everyday care of your horse includes brushing, grooming and picking out the hooves so that your horse gets really clean. While you groom it, you go over the horse to check for tenderness, swelling and sores. The more you do this, the quicker you will discover if something is not right.
Your choice of brushes and other grooming kit depend on the coat of your horse; if it is long-haired, clipped, gets muddy often etc. If you have a long-haired and very dirty horse, it may be preferable to start out with a dandy brush or a flick brush, with slightly harder bristles. If, on the other hand, you have a clipped horse that is skin-sensitive, you should choose a softer brush.
There are several brush models. Some are made from synthetic materials, and other from natural bristles, such as horsehair. If your horse is prone to static electricity shocks, the natural bristles are preferable. Brushes also come in several sizes, and you should pick one that suits your hand well as this will make your job easier.
Grooming not only makes your horse clean and shiny, it also improves its blood circulation. When you brush and groom your horse, you should always go with the direction of the hairs. The horse may be particularly sensitive around the head and eyes. You may therefore want to use a softer face brush for these areas.
The hooves need to be picked out every day, but the choice of pick is purely a matter of taste. There are hoof picks with hard bristles on one end, which may be helpful for brushing off loose dirt. While you are picking the hooves, also check that the shoes are properly fastened, that no seems are sticking out and that any studs you have on have not become worn or come loose.
You should also untangle the mane and tail. For this you can use a mane/tail comb, or simply use your fingers.
The nostrils and eyes should be wiped clean, which can be done with a slightly dampened sponge or cloth.