Grooming feathers on a horse!
Grooming feathers isn’t too complicated – just time-consuming. The most important things to consider involve monitoring all the things that feathers hide: tendons and ligaments, lower leg skin, and the coronary band. Clipping is optional; some horses may benefit from a tidy lower leg with less feathering.
- 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 an excellent 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. These 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 leg care a little easier.
A few things to remember when grooming feathers:
- Your horse should have a well-balanced diet to maintain healthy hair-growing habits. Omega 3 fatty acids support healthy skin and coat.
- 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.
- 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 after a shampoo. Apply liberally and brush it in. Oily feathers literally repel mud and water from your horse.
- Feathered legs tend to have many 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 grows 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 along the direction of the hair growth.
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Wahl Professional Animal Bravura Lithium Clipper – this includes the 5 in 1 blade that goes from a #9 to a #40. Perfect for designs!
Professional Animal Stainless Steel Attachment Guide Combs for Wahl’s Bravura, Arco, Chromado, Figura, and Motion Pet Clippers (3379) – these combs match the 5 in 1 blades.
Professional Animal Stainless Steel Attachment Guide Combs for Detachable Blade Clippers (3390-100) – for detachable blades.