Horse Brushes & Benefits of Grooming
I, like most other riders, find that the most obvious benefit of owning a horse is the ability to hop on for a jaunt through the woods or or down the road. It's a real pleasure that I wish everyone could experience. However, it's important to realise that horses are like cars in that if you don't carry out regular maintenance, their performance suffers. It can be easy to forget about maintenance, particularly if you've enjoyed years of good performance with minimal effort. Horses should receive daily care in the form of grooming with a variety of horse brushes. Here's why:
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="512"] Dandy brushes - for removing dirt and mud[/caption]
Grooming allows you to assess your horse's health
Grooming provides you with the ideal opportunity to get your hands on your horse and assess their health. Touching your horse tells you so much more than just looking at him over the stable door. It'll let you know if he's sensitive in particular area, or if he has any strange lumps or rashes or scratches. A good grooming session – which won't take long if you do it every day – can let you pick up on these things before they become big issues.
There are different types of horse brushes for different purposes. Dandy brushes have stiffer bristles and are good for getting caked mud and dirt off a horse's coat but go gently on more bony or sensitive areas and avoid using on the face. Rubber curry combs are good at lifting dirt and loose hair out of the coat and shedding blades are very effective when they are moulting. Body brushes have softer bristles and help to bring your horse's coat up into a shine and you'll even find sheepskin grooming mitts that do the same job too. There are also many other types of horse brushes and combs available so you can create the perfect horse grooming kit.
Grooming increases the bond you share with your horse
Whilst it's true that there are some horses that don't enjoy being groomed, the vast majority do (my Henry certainly does!). This provides the perfect opportunity to bond with your horse in a situation where you're not requiring him to perform any work. This is a release from the demands that you place on him each time you ride him. Grooming is a chance for your horse to relax and for you to give back something to him. Quiet time with you, your horse and a stable brush can go some way to building that special bond that will continue to grow throughout the years.
Grooming is excellent exercise!
If like me you regularly work up a sweat brushing your horse, you'll know that grooming can be great exercise. Working those horse brushes over your horse's top line will definitely work your shoulders and triceps (if you're doing it right!). So if you don't want to splash out on a gym membership, simply increase the amount of time you spend grooming your horse! It'll do wonders for your physique, as well as your horse's wellbeing!
Grooming is more than horse brushes in hand
I often find that if I don't have the time to ride Henry, a grooming session is a good substitute. As well as brushing him, I'll practice some ground exercises with him, such as lateral neck flexion or will pick his hooves up and do some leg extensions. Equine stretches are great for helping with his flexibility and balance. Grooming time in the evening after work is the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with my boy.
I'm lucky enough to have a horse to call my own, and some of my favourite times have been spent grooming my beloved Henry until his beautiful coat gleams.
By BLW (Own work) [Public domain],