Find a horse grooming routine that works for you.


It dawned on me today that in all of the months and years of writing about grooming for you guys, I have never shared with you my usual horse grooming routine.  So here you go.  


Jump to shopping


The order of things while grooming your horse


  • This is the same for horses that I groom for others, and also for my own horses. Establishing a routine has served me well in high-pressure situations, you can rely on “routine memory” and then you won’t overlook something when you are at a show or under pressure.



Easy routine – temp, hooves, mane/tail, curry, brush, stain removal, and shine.


My horse grooming routine:


  • Gather all of your tools, tack, and equipment in the cross ties. This includes your grooming box full of brushes and tools, your saddle, bridles, etc. This may also include your boots, helmet, and other riding essentials, but usually, the rider is responsible for gathering their own gear if you are a groom for someone else. I don’t leave my horse in the cross ties unattended.


  • Go fetch your horse! Pick your horse’s feet before you leave the stall or paddock. This keeps the barn aisle a bit cleaner and can also alert you to any problems before you start walking. For example, some horses are talented at tweaking shoes in their stalls, which is something you may not want walking through the barn. You can also feel their legs for heat/swelling before you leave the stall.




Pick feet before you head to the cross ties or tack-up area! You can also do a quick leg inspection in the stall, too – just in case your horse needs to stay put.


Your horse’s vital signs


  • In the cross ties, the first thing I do is insert a thermometer to take my horse’s vital signs. I have a string attached to a tight barrette so I can clip it to their tail hairs just in case it gets “farted out”. Yes, that’s an official grooming term. Or use a digital thermometer which takes a lot less time. Checking TPR regularly is critical to notice what is going on with your horse. Most horses will act fairly normally despite a fever, so I check anyway. It’s also good desensitization for your horse.


  • Remove and read the thermometer. If I suspect a horse is feeling under the weather, I will take his temperature in the stall. Otherwise, you run the risk of “contaminating” the cross ties. Anything above his normal temp and vitals is something to watch to see if it keeps going up. Any temp above 101.5 is cause for alarm and is a signal to call the Veterinarian.


Get to brushing


  • Curry comb! I always start on the same side and work top to bottom, front to back. I use a rubber curry for the horse’s body, then I come back with a jelly scrubber or pimple mitt for the face and legs and sensitive parts of the belly.




Grooming gloves > curry comb


  • I like to vacuum after a curry but before the brushes. Some days, I find I don’t need the vacuum, but it usually saves me a bit of time for extra dusty horses. If you curry before the vacuum, you have less to brush away and more dirt comes to the surface.


  • After the curry is when I attack manure or urine stains. The dried stain will be diminished by a curry, and then you can use a damp washcloth to wipe it away. You could also add in a waterless shampoo if you need to. For horrible stains, you can learn some tricks here.


  • Hard brush to flick away the dirt. I always like a natural bristled brush! If you have used water or waterless shampoo to get rid of a stain, you may need to let it dry a bit before brushing on that spot. You can also use a dry towel or rag to wipe away any moisture.


  • Soft brush and/or finishing brush to lay the hairs smooth and bring out some shine. (Almost done – hang in there!) You can add any finishing sprays now, or in some cases, you may just want to rub them with a cloth. You can also apply your finishing spray or shine product to your final soft brush.


Manes, tails, and hooves


  • Put a detangler on the tail if you use one, then pick or brush the tail. You may not need to use a detangler or conditioner on your horse one every day. Comb out the mane and forelock. This is a good time to check to see if your horse’s bridle path needs a trim.


  • Brush off the hooves, I like the rough side of a double-sided sponge or the brush on the end of a hoof pick. Now you have a smooth surface to apply your polish of choice if that’s what you like.


  • Wrap and protect your horse’s legs. Use your preferred choice of leg protection and/or bell boots. Always run your hands down all tendons and joints again before you wrap, just in case.




I like all of my tack in the cross ties when I’m getting a horse ready. I am also searching for a way to make only ONE trip from the grooming station to the tack room.

Tack up


  • Saddle up. I am often asked about when to tighten the girth and how much, and I wish there was an answer for you on this one besides “every situation is different.” I do like to leave the girth snug but not totally done up as I walk to the mounting block. This allows for the girth to be tightened bit by bit, and the short walk can allow the saddle to settle a bit. After mounting, the rider should check again and tighten again if necessary as the rider’s weight can smoosh things down a bit.


  • Bridle up. I really don’t like to see horses with bridles on wearing halters on top in the cross ties. It’s uncomfortable looking, and the reins can slip to the side if not knotted up and cause a hazard. It’s typical for me to put the bridle on at the last second before heading to the mounting block.


Do you have a set routine for grooming your horse? How does it go?




Stock up here for your horse supplies! As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, but it’s ZERO extra cents to you.  You can also visit my Amazon storefront here:  PEG storefront.

Shires Cactus Cloth
$17.07 ($17.07 / Count)
05/31/2024 02:18 pm GMT
HandsOn Finishing Gloves - Double Sided
$19.99 ($19.99 / Count)

The jute side buffs to add shine, the other side is fuzzy for lifting dust and applying fly sprays and grooming products.

06/13/2024 10:32 pm GMT
Handson Ergonomic Hoof Pick
$19.99 ($19.99 / Count)

This is the strongest hoof pick available!

06/13/2024 10:38 pm GMT
Farnam Slick 'N Easy Horse Grooming Block
$5.49 $4.24

Good for grooming, shedding, and bot egg removal

06/13/2024 02:53 am GMT
06/11/2024 10:43 am GMT
06/11/2024 10:48 am GMT
Haas Lipizzaner Brush
$42.00 ($42.00 / Count)

This brush is luxury and will help your horse shine!

05/07/2024 04:34 pm GMT
06/12/2024 03:08 am GMT
Electric Cleaner Co Rapid Groom Horse Vacuum
$605.00 ($605.00 / Count)

It's always satisfying to vacuum your horse!

04/10/2024 01:46 pm GMT
HANDSON Pet Grooming Gloves - Grooming, Bathing, Shedding

These are HandsOn Gloves with special pricing! Only in the color gray.

06/13/2024 10:43 pm GMT
Shapley's Easy-Out No Rinse Shampoo 32 fl.oz
$16.23 $14.64

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

05/13/2024 04:53 pm GMT
Shapley's No.2 Heavy Oil

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

05/11/2024 02:28 am GMT
Shapley's Hi Shine Shampoo, 1-Gallon
$43.95 $41.87

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

06/12/2024 02:13 am GMT
SHAPLEY'S Medi-Care Med Shampoo W/Tea Tree & Lemon Grass, 32 oz
$18.95 $17.99

The best shampoo for shine and soothing.

06/06/2024 02:03 pm GMT
Shapley's No.1 Light Oil
$19.82 ($0.62 / Fl Oz)

For shine, conditioning, detangling, and stain protection.

06/12/2024 04:38 am GMT
Shapley's Equitone 32 oz. Color Enhancing Shampoo, GOLD

Brighten duns, palominos, and golden colors.

05/09/2024 01:58 am GMT
SHAPLEY'S 32 oz. Color Enhancing Shampoo, RED

For chestnuts and some bays

05/08/2024 01:33 am GMT
Shapley's 32 oz. Color Enhancing Shampoo, BLACK
$23.49 $17.65

For dark bays, black points, and black horses

05/08/2024 01:08 am GMT
05/17/2024 03:39 pm GMT
Farnam Excalibur Sheath Cleaner 16 OUNCE
$13.49 $9.74 ($0.61 / Ounce)
05/17/2024 03:28 pm GMT
05/28/2024 04:13 pm GMT
06/11/2024 11:13 am GMT
Magic Sheen Spray 1Qt
$22.45 ($22.45 / Count)
06/13/2024 03:38 pm GMT
Big Hoss - Outlaw Nutrition

Omega 3's plus gut health support in a delicious cold milled flax formula. It's delicious and it will turn your horse's coat into a mirror.



Thank you!