Questionable old-school horse grooming techniques!


Every now and again, I come across some “old school” ways of doing things that are part head-scratcher, and part there’s now an easier way. Some of my favorites:


  • Smear mustard on the outside of your horse’s throat if he has a sore throat. Nope! While mustard has many antidotal sore throat applications (mostly human, and by rinsing or gargling with it), the horse world can do without mustard now. One, it contains potential irritants, which is why some questionable horse trainers use it to sore legs. Two, if you think your horse has a sore throat, call your Veterinarian. This may very well be choke, a serious emergency that needs a Vet’s attention pronto. And also the stain it would make!



Mustard is for picnics.


  • Used motor oil is a fine hoof dressing. Oh heck no! Motor oil is toxic. Not many horses lick their own hooves, but they can still manage to get it on their lips and noses. I also notice a lot of horses stepping in their hay as they eat…. Motor oil is also highly regulated as to how you can dispose of it – think of the environmental impact! If you really need a way to seal in the moisture of your horse’s hooves, there are gazillions of products on the market already. And, a quick conversation with your Farrier or Vet for their suggestions may be good too – remember that hoof health comes from genetics and diet, among other things!


  • Flannel bandages and safety pins are the way to go for standing wraps. Meh – certainly there are easier ways! Flannel bandages are not very forgiving and stretchy, and safety pins are a definite invitation for a puncture, most likely on you! Modern-day inventions like velcro alleviate the need for safety pins.


  • Kerosene and diesel fuel make fine washes for your clipper blades. YIKES. So you not only have the toxic stuff going on here, but you also have a problem with modern-day clipper blades. Today’s clipper blade is not made from steel, and most clipper blades are easily and quickly corroded and rusted with kerosene and diesel fuel. The best alternative is to use a toothbrush to remove hair and the lubricant that comes with your clippers.



Keep the motor oil and diesel fuel in your vehicle!


  • If your horse is wet, you can stuff one of his sheets or blankets with hay or straw to help him dry. This is totally legit – if you have the time to do this and then watch your horse eat or shake out the contents of the blanket. Or, you can use a wool or fleece cooler.


What other “old school” tricks have you heard of?