Grooming tips for Friesian and Baroque horses


As with most things grooming, it’s a marathon, not a sprint for the Baroque and Friesian horses. However, there are some last-minute touch-ups you can do. For the marathon portion of your grooming, you must do what all horse owners do, groom from the inside and out. Add to that the trademark jet black color you need to maintain. For tips on preventing sun bleaching and the like, this article can help you.


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Feather and tail care


  • You also must deal with tons of mane, lots of feathers, and massive amounts of tail with Baroque and Friesian horses.


  • For the mane, keep things clean, conditioned, and detangled. I suggest long and loose braids for everyday wear to prevent wind knots and interference with reins.


  • I like to use grooming oils as detanglers instead of sheen sprays.  Grooming oils condition the hair and help any tangles escape much easier than a spray.  These oils go a long way and will soak into the hair if you don’t use too much.  A capful should be enough for thick manes and tails as a weekly treatment.  Adjust as necessary. 




Lots of mane = lots of stuff in the mane. Long and loose braids can help with that.



  • For the tail, keep the top natural. It’s fairly common also to see the bottom natural and not banged. Banging a tail can create a very wide bottom, which for a Friesian or Baroque horse, can be ridiculously wide and thick.




Banging the tail of a Friesian horse will only make the bottom wider. This is probably not a good idea.



  • For the feathers, leave them be if you will be in a keuring or breed show. No trimming of hairs along the coronary band.  This means extra diligence on your part when feeling for scabs and inspecting for mites and the beginnings of skin infections under the feathers.  The coronary band is where the hoof begins, and even small wounds can create bit problems for the hoof.  


  • For other types of shows or if your Baroque is a sport horse cross, you may consider clipping the feathers for ease of management and daily care.  You do not have to clip all the way down.  You can easily tidy things up with your clipper blades pointed down.  Rake down the leg to tidy up feathers.  Or don’t.  


  • If your feathered friend is a mud magnet, borrow a tip from the Cob owners in the UK.  There, feathers are drenched in grooming oil before turnout.  The oil repels a vast majority of the mud.  Yes, it’s messy, but easier to manage in the long run.  


  • Excessive feathers can interfere with your ability to detect swelling, heat, and cuts or scrapes.  This means extra diligence on your part when feeling for scabs and inspecting for mites and the beginnings of skin infections under the feathers.  The coronary band is where the hoof begins, and even small wounds can create bit problems for the hoof.  




Feathers – a trademark of the baroque horses!



Become friends with your horse clippers.


  • Some Baroque breeds and Friesians tend to grow wild “goat” or “elephant” hairs on their faces, necks, and legs. These are common on the cheeks, chins, and behind the knees.  You may want to trim these hairs to prevent tack from interfering or yanking them out.  


  • For ease of clipping, use your blade with the direction of hair growth to trim up these hairs. On the legs, you may want to do the very tops of the feathers along the cannon bone.


  • Avoid going too low and clipping into the width of the feathers. Focus on just the stray hairs that poke out.



Long and loose braids can help with keeping the mane tidy.



  • If you are showing your Friesian or Baroque horse in a keuring or breed show, check your breed association regulations regarding specific grooming standards.


  • For example, in some keurings, you are prohibited from using hair dyes, tail and mane extensions, or wedge pads on shoes. Additionally, you will likely need to show with an unbraided mane.  You can add color back to your bleached horse with color-enhancing shampoos.  For tails, you may be allowed to use a spray pigment like Show Touch Up to mask any lighter hair.  






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