Grooming feathers on a horse!
Feathered legs require some extra care.
- Grooming feathers isn’t too complicated – just time-consuming. The most important things to consider involve how to monitor all of the things that feathers hide: tendons and ligaments, lower leg skin, the coronary band.
- When there is a lot of feathering on your horse’s legs, it’s more challenging to do a daily leg inspection. Heat and swelling from a tendon injury can be hidden, and you might not see new wind puffs.
- You may also face a bit of a challenge delivering ice therapy to your horse’s legs, in which case I suggest wetting the leg and feathers to help the cold goodness reach its target.
- The hair around the pasterns and fetlocks is also a great way for scratches to remain partially hidden. The extra feather hair can retain moisture on the skin, making skin issues more likely. It’s also harder to apply medications through all of that hair.
- The top of your horse’s hoof is also covered a bit. Be sure to lift the hair and inspect the coronary band and heel bulbs daily. This is areas are the first to show cuts, scrapes, and quarter cracks. You can sometimes prevent some quarter cracks from traveling down the hoof if you can catch it when it’s just on top of the coronary band.
This horse, standing guard at Buckingham Palace, has his feathers trimmed. This makes grooming and care a little easier.
Grooming feathers is not too bad! A few things to remember:
- Your horse should be on a well-balanced diet to maintain some healthy hair-growing habits.
- Use grooming oils like No. 1 Light Oil and No. 2 Heavy Oil to condition, detangle, and ward away mud from your horse’s skin. Apply liberally and brush it in. Oily feathers literally repel mud and water from your horse!
- Clean and protect the hair with a gentle shampoo and your choice of detanglers. This will help to repel stains and keep knots out of the feathers. You may be experimenting with some products, as residues can be irritating and attractive to dirt. You can also use stain removal sprays to spot treat dirty areas.
- Feathered legs tend to have lots of extraneous, elephant hair type stragglers that grow up the legs and over the knees and hocks, front and back. These spikey hairs can be trimmed with your clippers used in the SAME direction as the hair growth to tidy up the legs. This presents a much nicer and cleaner show picture.
- Care for your horse’s feathers daily. This will save you time in the long run!
Although this horse doesn’t have feathers, his knees are crazy fuzzy. I touch up with the clippers every so often. Run the blade WITH the direction of the hair.
What do you guys like to do to maintain tidy feathers?
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Shapley’s No.1 Light Oil – this is the “secret” grooming oil to use before and after a clip.
Shapley’s No. 2 Heavy Oil– this one is a bit more suited to heavy-duty jobs! Like feathers.