The secret to horse grooming is oil.


What?  OIL?  Yes, the secret to horse grooming is oil.  And by that, I mean your horse’s sebum, that wonderful “natural oil” that comes from the skin.  


Harness the power of oil for epic horse grooming:


There are lots of sources for good grooming oils!  Like sebum, your elbow grease, nutrition, and even clipper oil.


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Your horse’s sebum


  • Your horse’s skin makes a substance, called sebum, which is like a little bit of magic on your horse’s skin. In the skin, which is part of the integumentary system of your horse, is a little gland called the sebaceous gland. It pumps out sebum. 


  • Sebum is part of your horse’s immune system, with amazing properties to protect the skin by providing anti-microbial assistance against wayward bacteria and the like.


  • The absolute bonus of sebum is that it creates MEGA SHINE. Just like a T-zone. And that’s my long way of saying that your horse’s natural oils are awesome.


  • The sebum also protects the hair, helping to prevent stains. 


  • And let’s picture the horse standing outside in the rain or snow.  Sebum is what creates a waterproof coat.  



full body shot of shiny chestnut horse
This is literally his normal. No grooming oils here, just my elbow grease and sebum brought on by good nutrition.


Elbow oil. Err, elbow grease. It’s the same.


  • Ah, the most accessible and often most ignored factor of horse care and grooming. Just groom your horse. Daily. But don’t just dust the dust off, up your game and spend some amazing massage time with your horse.


  • The more you can curry, brush, and massage your horse, the more his own sebum will be spread around. You bring up the dust and dander as you help the sebum cover his hair coat. You are left with a seriously reflective horse when the dirt is brushed away.



green hands on grooming gloves with some of the nubs showing

Part of good grooming is having good tools. I adore grooming gloves for daily care and bathing.


  • I have found that a deep curry, followed by some targeted wiping with a damp cloth with get most stains off. If a stain is particularly tough, add some no-rinse shampoo. Done and done.


  • When in doubt, just curry more. If you are wondering if your horse is oily enough, a quick spritz with water can tell you. Water should bead up on your horse in response to the oil.




  • A horse shines from the inside out. This is part genetics and part nutrition. There are many perks to having a properly balanced diet for your horse. This is such a custom thing that adding an Equine Nutritionist to your horse’s life is affordable and totes beneficial. Anyway… The primary ingredient of a shine-making diet is Omega fatty acids. Perhaps you have heard of these?


  • Many Omega fatty acids are super options for your horse – like flaxseed and rice bran. These are nicely balanced with Omega 6’s and Omega 3’s. Ground flaxseed and rice bran are not really “oils” in that they are tiny flakes of goodness, but you can get them in a liquid oil form if you don’t like the powdered variety. And there’s always fish oil. Besides being the stuff of nightmares, fish oil is actually one of the best oils you can give yourself or your horse. Some horses don’t mind the taste!


  • The point is that certain oils or oil-like things in your horse’s diet help to keep his entire diet balanced and add in that mega-shine.



hors supplements being put into tub


Grooming Oils.


  • When I first started my life with horses, our list of grooming supplies was short. A brush, a curry comb, a hoof pick. Science, marketing, and new materials and innovations make grooming your horse easier. I had no idea that grooming oils even existed for the first few decades of my life as a horse person.


  • Turns out, grooming oils can help with two major horse grooming things – conditioning your horse’s coat and adding shine.


  • Some horses just need a little boost to gain that shine and to get rid of brittle coats that soak up stains. Grooming oils help with that. There are tons of horses in the universe that need help with a dry coat, why not help them out.


There are various ways to use grooming oils, you can read all about oil buffing here. 


grooming oil on a horse after clipping

Grooming oils add back shine and conditioning after a clip.



  • The bonus with grooming oils is that your horse will get nice and soft, and clipping your horse will be infinitely easier. Your clipper blades will glide through your horse’s coat, making your clipping job fast and convenient. Your horse will appreciate this!


  • Some grooming oils can also double as highlighters for your horse’s face, if that’s your jam at a horse show. You can also use some finer grooming sprays on grooming oils to make quarter marks pop, and hooves shine nicely.


Clipper Oil.


  • There are a few ways to make clipping your horse easy for him, and easy on your clipper blades and clipper motor. Using proper clipper oil on your blades does a few things:


      • Help keep heat at bay.
      • Helps the clipper blades glide over your horse.
      • Helps the clipper motor work effortlessly.
      • Helps to prevent rust from forming on your blades.


  • When you are actively clipping your horse, re-apply oil to your blades about every 5 minutes. If you use a coolant while you are clipping, you still need to use oil after you use the coolant. After you are done clipping, clean your blades and oil them well before you store them away.


  • I’m not saying to use clipper oil like a grooming oil.  


close up of clipper blades and clipper oil

Seriously. Use a bunch of clipper oil.




All about sebum


Tips for oil buffing




Click these links to shop for horse supplies. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, which are not a penny more for you. I couldn’t be more grateful for your support! You can also visit my Amazon storefront here:  PEG storefront.

Shapley's Easy-Out No Rinse Shampoo 32 fl.oz

Spot removing, deodorizing, dust busting, shine adding spray.

02/23/2024 01:13 am GMT
Shapley's Hi Shine Shampoo, 1-Gallon

Other sizes, too! Adds shine with the most gentle formula.

02/22/2024 10:12 am GMT
SHAPLEY'S Medi-Care Med Shampoo W/Tea Tree & Lemon Grass, 32 oz

The best shampoo for shine and soothing.

02/22/2024 06:32 am GMT
Shapley's No.1 Light Oil
$19.99 ($0.62 / Fl Oz)

For shine, conditioning, detangling, and stain protection.

02/22/2024 11:22 am GMT
Shapley's No.2 Heavy Oil

For deep conditioning and detangling - coat, mane, and tail.

02/23/2024 03:27 am GMT
Rubber Latex Waterproof Dishwashing Gloves, 2 Pair Medium Long Cuff
$9.99 ($5.00 / Count)

It's fashion and function

02/22/2024 10:38 am GMT
Shapley’s 32 oz. Color Enhancing Shampoo - Whitening Formula

For all colors - to add shine and help lift stains.

02/23/2024 02:38 am GMT


Thank you!