While we are all stuck, more or less, at home let’s share some grooming tips! (And for those that want to know… it’s snowing AGAIN here in Montana, so no body clipping will be happening around here for some time, just lots and lost of brushing!)
Keep Your Brushes Clean
First off, it’s a good idea to keep your brushes clean. It’s very difficult to clean your horse with dirty brushes. And don’t use the same brushes on different horses that don’t live together. Obviously if they live together, groom each other and share a bed down spot, using the same brushes on them won’t really matter. Disinfecting your brushes is a great thing to do in the spring as well. I use essential oils to disinfect my brushes, but a bit of bleach in water works wonders as well!
Use the Correct Brushes
Use the correct brushes for the time of year. Shedding blades in the spring, soft brushes in the summer or on clipped hair coats. For my ponies I also use a good old fashioned Furminator in the spring. The one I have is probably about 15 years old! And from the sounds of things they used to make them a bit better than they do now. There are other types of shedding tools as well. I am going to give this one a try!
Brush the Hair in the Direction it Grows
Brushing against the hair growth is very uncomfortable for the horse or pony. Grooming time should be a time for your equine to relax. I take the time to find all the itchy spots and really take my time scratching them. Some horses will want you to brush quickly. They like the movement across their skin. Some horses want you to brush slowly. It’s up to you to pay attention to your animal and make this as nice for them as you can.
Mane & Tail
When brushing the mane and tail, start at the bottom and work your way up. This will prevent you from pulling out too much hair. Also using a detangler spray is helpful! It will make the tangles easier to comb as well as condition the hair. If you live somewhere it’s cold use a detangler that is not water based, as the water based detanglers tend to freeze and cause hair breakage.
To stimulate growth brush the tail dock daily with a mud brush, one with the stiffer bristles. This will bring the natural oils to the surface and encourage tail growth! It will also give them a nice scratch. Keeping this area clean and brushed will help keep the dander and dirt from building up and causing them to itch. This may sound weird, but I also use some coconut oil under the tail area to keep that spot moist and clean. A build up of dirt and manure under there can cause itching as well! I make sure there aren’t dried pieces of manure stuck under there daily.
There is not much better for bringing out the shine in your equine’s coat than good old fashioned elbow grease and a good brushing. If you do decide to body clip, using a nice hot oil after clipping really helps bring the natural oils up in the skin. The oil treatment will also help with the itching that typically follows a body clip! We have Shapely’s #1 Light Oil as well as Shapely’s #2 Heavy Oil. Both are great to use following a body clip. I will heat up some water in a bowl or bucket, put the bottle of oil in the hot water -to heat it a bit – apply it to the coat by either spraying or wiping with a cloth, then curry it into the coat. You can then cover the pony with a blanket and let them stand for a bit. You will be amazed at the health of the clipped coat if you do this!
Jasper’s before and after photos from his spring clip this year!
Here’s to wishing you bright sun shiny spring weather!