9 Simple Time-Saving Tips for Horse Grooming


In fantasy land, we should all be able to spend unlimited time with our horses! In reality land, we know better. While every minute is precious, we can do some things to be more efficient while grooming our horses and save some time.


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My top 9 ideas for saving time while grooming your horse:


  • Use both hands for horse grooming. While this seems logical, pay close attention to how much you do with only one hand at the barn. Before I used grooming gloves instead of a curry comb, I spent a lot more time going around my horse in circles. I have also carried that to dandy brushing, I’ll use one hand to brush my horse while the other hand works on a tick inspection. This will feel weird. It will feel wrong, even. But you will start to develop coordination and strength in your less dominant side, which will ultimately help you in the saddle. And it’s a definite time-saver.


grooming gloves and two brushes

Get your hands on some grooming tools and use two hands at a time!



  • Make sure your horse’s grooming tools are clean. If you develop the habit of regularly washing your horse’s brushes, everyone and everything stays cleaner. The same can be said for fly sheets and blankets – keep it all as clean as possible and your grooming time will be shorter!


  • Use a horse vacuum. There is nothing more efficient than a horse vac to get rid of all of the dirt, dander, and loose hairs that your two-handed grooming and curry action created. You’ll still need to brush off legs and faces, but the vac will make quick work of your horse’s body. This is especially helpful in the winter if you are grooming through a thick winter coat!


horse after grooming with vacuum

Your horse vacuum is also a source of tomfoolery and shenanigans.


Get organized


  • Get organized. I must spend hours a month looking for my keys, glasses, and favorite pen. But I waste no time at the barn because my grooming kit is organized. All of my daily items are stored together, everything else has a home, and I spend ashort amount of time returning things to their rightful spots.



  • Being organized has also helped me get a grooming routine down to a science. It’s the same grooming routine almost every day, which helps speed things along, too. Within my routine is a simplified brush selection, which also helps with staying organized. Grooming gloves, an all-purpose dandy brush, hoof pick, mane and tail brush and that’s it. Add some stain remover, sheen spray for the tail, and my thermometer and stethoscope for vital signs. That’s it.


grooming brushes and sprays

Keep it simple with the grooming tools.



  • I keep all of the sprays I might need handy. If you have drippy bottles, be sure to switch them to the off position, and you can pop them in used mushroom trays from the supermarket to catch any goops. I have a shelf that I use for fly sprays and grooming sprays, or you can string a line in your cross-tie area and hand all of your sprays from the string.


  • When it comes to saving time grooming, the best time-saver is to groom every single day. I prefer to groom twice daily, usually before and after a ride. Or after a particularly dirty turnout session. More grooming = more natural oils = cleaner horse = stains slide off. You won’t ever be stuck behind the eight ball with a hot mess of a filthy horse. Usually. The same goes for a horse’s mane and tail. Attend to it daily, if you pick or brush it, just do something every day so you aren’t stuck with a huge chore at the end of a week.


zebra print fly sheet on a horse



  • Let your horse’s clothes do the work for you. Use a fly sheet in the warm weather and rain sheets or blankets in the cold weather do a lot of “barrier” protection to keep your horse cleaner. In the winter, you can also use blanket liners or a thin under-sheet. These are easy to clean, and then your horse stays cleaner.





If I absolutely have to skip something at the barn to save some time, I’ve got a few ideas.


  • Skip a saddle cleaning, as it touches a pad, not my horse. I won’t skip a bridle cleaning.


  • Tossing some dirty wraps/pads/buckets aside and busting out clean ones. I can take care of the dirties another day, but I don’t want to use them again.


  • I’ll skip talking in the tack room to other boarders. While I typically love this, horse time > people time sometimes.


  • I’ll trade chores if I know I’m pressed for time one day.


dressage saddle with rolled up stirrup

Should I clean this after every ride? Perhaps. But it doesn’t directly touch my horse so I might skip it every so often to save some time.



  • I’ll say “screw it all” and just be late for work instead of skipping horse time. Not recommended if you are not your own boss.


  • I’ll try and combine chores or work ahead. Can I work on my horse’s mane when he’s hand grazing? Can I make meals in advance for a few days so the next day I have more time?


  • I will also say NO. While I love to help, and I love to be asked to help, there are some days when it just won’t work for me. And you know what – no one has ever gotten mad. That I know of.



How do you save time at the barn grooming?




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