Equestrian Blog

News and thoughts from around the equestrian community

Why Groom?

Grooming isn’t just about removing the dirt from your horse’s coat and making him look smart. Whether you ride your horse or not, they should receive daily care in the form of grooming. Here’s why:

1. Grooming gets your hands on your horse. A good daily groom doesn’t have to take an hour. If you do it daily, your average time expenditure should actually be minimal. But during this daily routine you have an opportunity to get your hands on every inch of your horse and what better way to quickly assess your horse’s health? Touching your horse tells you so much more than just looking at it over the fence. Is the horse sensitive in a particular area? Are there any weird lumps or bumps? Any rashes, scratches, or swellings? A good grooming session will let you pick up on these things before they become a major issue.  

Horse grooming

  2. Grooming acts as preventive medicine. A good grooming session increases blood flow to the skin’s surface, massages large muscle groups and daily hoof picking keeps the feet clean and helps prevent common hoof issues such as thrush, which is a fairly common bacterial disease of the sole. Horses out in the wild don’t have this luxury, but they have each other, and mutual grooming takes the place of brushes and combs. When you remove a horse from its natural environment and stick it alone in a stable, you need to take on the responsibilities of herd mates for the health of the individual.

3. Grooming increases the human-animal bond. True, there are some horses out there that don’t like to be groomed. But the majority do tend to enjoy it and this is a great opportunity to bond with your riding companion. Engaging your horse in an activity where you are not requiring him to actually perform any work is a release from the demands we push on our horses. This is your chance to give back and let your horse relax. Quiet time with just you, your horse and a brush can communicate feelings of communal pleasantries that benefit both horse and rider. For those just starting a relationship with a new mount, this is a great way to build a bond and for those starting training with a young horse, grooming can re-assure an anxious animal.

4. Grooming can be more than a brush in hand. Sometimes, if you don’t have time to ride, a grooming session can substitute. Practicing some ground exercises such as lateral neck flexions or picking up hooves and doing some leg extensions are great equine yoga moves to help with flexibility and balance. Some people take the time to practice ground manners or teach their horses tricks. It’s amazing what you can do with your horse if you only have twenty minutes in the evening after work.

5. Grooming is excellent exercise — for you. So, this is a purely selfish reason for encouraging people to take the time to groom, but how many of you have worked up a sweat just brushing your horse? Working that body brush over the top line will definitely work your shoulders and triceps if you are doing it right! Who needs a gym membership when you have horses!  

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