The Top 47 Horse Care Tips
If ever there was a way to condense this entire website of horse grooming tips down to one article, this is it. To take care of your horse in the best possible way, you will need to address his grooming and health in the stall, in the cross ties, in turnout, and even in the wash rack. Here are the top 47 horse grooming tips I have!
Horse Health Tips
- Take your horse’s temperature every day, along with his pulse, respiration, and digital pulses. These will tell you something is wrong long before your horse will.
- Pick your horse’s feet several times a day. Before and after riding, turnout, and first thing in the morning. This is also a chance for you to keep your horse’s legs inspected often and catch scrapes and injuries and swollen tendons early.
- Spend as much time scrubbing feed tubs and water buckets as you do curry combing your horse. Which should be a lot! Also, avoid sharing feed tubs unless they are cleaned in between horses.
- Notice and inspect and feel your horse’s eyes, nose, ears, and other sensitive parts, like sheaths, udders, and under tails. New or unusual swelling, discharge, stains, or irritations often require Veterinary attention.
- Keep excellent horse records detailing dates of vaccinations, fecal egg counts, deworming, Farrier visits, and any training issues. Make this information handy to the barn manager in case you are not available during an emergency.
- Keep accurate records of your horse’s feed and water intake and output. How many pounds of hay a day? Pounds of feed and how many feedings? Allergies, how much turnout on dry lot or pastures, how many gallons of water a day does your horse drink? Keep this all logged and note any changes to the routine.
Horse Grooming Tools and Horse Grooming Tips
- Clean tools mean clean horses! Thoroughly disinfect your horse’s brushes weekly or so and don’t share them between horses.
- If the air is very dry, spritz or mist your horse with some water or horse grooming oil to cut the static. This also helps the loose hairs from sticking on you.
- Use grooming gloves to enjoy the feedback your horse gives you while grooming. Grooming gloves also help your hands stay clean.
- You can also use a damp rag in one hand to swipe your brushes against as you groom. This helps grab the dust and also reduces static.
- If you vacuum your horse, spray the inside of the nozzle with water or grooming spray to reduce the static generated from the vacuum.
- Use a damp cloth or towel to wipe the edges of your horse’s nose and inner ears to remove any dust.
- Before you attempt to remove a stain from your horse, curry comb or use your grooming gloves to buff most of the stain out. Follow with a deodorizing dry shampoo and let that sit for a minute before buffing out. If the stain persists, follow up with a barely damp cloth to help wipe it away.
- Pay attention to your horse’s tail and mane every day. If you pick it or brush it, it usually doesn’t matter if you keep your horse’s mane and tail clean and untangled daily. Use the method that works for you and apply it every day.
- For buffing out dried sweat marks in summer and winter, use a cactus cloth. These are also great to use in the wash rack.
- Work on training your horse’s mane to one side every day if you want to. Use a damp brush to lay the hair to one side. You can also use training braids if you like, as long as your horse doesn’t rub them out.
Horse Shedding Tips
- Grooming gloves are your best friend during shedding season. Use them on all parts of your horse until your arms quite literally will fall off. Then do some more!
- Grooming oils are great to use during shedding season. If you wipe on some grooming oil before you start a curry session, the oil can keep the hairs from flying away a bit. You can also use after your arms are gone to wipe up any loose stragglers of hair.
- If your horse is blotchy, consider using a color-enhancing shampoo. This is a great way to start to even things out as you help your horse shed his coat.
- Let your horse roll. In some nice sand if you have it. This does a lot of the shedding work for you. For an almost guaranteed roll, give your horse a bath and then bring him to the sand. You will be grooming sand out of his coat for a bit, but it’s worth it.
- Avoid using metal shedding tools. These are not good for use across shoulders and hips, down legs, and on faces. I also think they damage the summer coat’s hairs coming in.
Horse Bathing Tips
- Before you bathe your horse, make sure he really needs it, and that you won’t be shampooing a horse that doesn’t have any natural oils. Spray your horse with water, it should bead up due to his natural oils, called sebum. More curry combing and less shampoo is called for.
- Save some time and skip the buckets and sponges by just squirting some shampoo onto the palm of your grooming glove. Then apply and swirl around your wet horse.
- After you have shampooed your horse and he’s quite bubbly with shampoo, use your sweat scraper to remove the suds before you rinse. Save water and time!
- Use the fan setting on a spray nozzle to run down your horse’s legs. This water squeegee pushes all of the suds and remaining dirt of your horse’s coat.
- Use a piece of baling twine as a sweat scraper if you don’t have one handy. Hold the twine taut between your hands and run the twine along your horse.
Horse Tack Care
- Clean and condition your horse’s tack daily. This is the best thing you could ever do to prolong the life of your expensive saddle and bridle.
- Open all of the buckles on your horse’s bridle as you clean. Any cracks in the folds are indications that the leather’s internal structure is failing and breakage can happen.
- Use your dishwasher to get some of your horse stuff clean. Stirrups, nylon halters, spurs, and more can go in the dishwasher for a deep clean.
- Save the neatsfoot oil for infrequent conditionings. Daily conditioning with a lederbalsam or conditioner is easier, less messy, and keeps your leather healthy.
- For your horse’s sheepskin girth covers and saddle pads, use a dog slicker brush to fluff them up. You can machine wash them with specialty cleaner, and skip the dryer.
- Frequently check the condition of your horse’s girth elastic. It can be gently cleaned, and look for areas of pulling and unevenness.
- Be sure your horse’s saddle rack is not denting the underside of your horse’s saddle. This changes how the saddle fits and can be quite uncomfortable for your horse.
Horse Blankets and Blanketing Tips
- Use old leg quilts or wraps under the wither area if your horse needs some extra padding there.
- Grab some body glide that hikers and runners use to coat possible rub areas, like the shoulders. Monitor daily and switch the style of blanket if you notice a rub getting larger or the skin is getting irritated.
- Consider using blanket liners or horse hoods under blankets. These can help prevent rubs, and you can keep your horse a bit cleaner.
This dirt comes off with a stiff brush and some effort.
- In between major blanket cleanings, keep your horse’s blankets brushed off with a thick and stiff brush.
- Hit the car wash for big-time blanket cleaning, or do this at home with a power washer if you have one.
Horse Clipping Tips
- Start with a wickedly clean horse and then use a grooming oil on your horse. The oil helps the clippers glide through your horse’s coat, and it helps the hair clump together and fall to the ground.
- Use fresh and clean clipper blades. No good clip comes from rusty, dirty, or pitted out blades. This is also highly uncomfortable for your horse!
- If your blades are running hot, you may need to change them. This is a sign your horse is not clean enough or you have not used enough oil on the blades.
- Use coolant/cleaner as you clip, every 10 minutes or so. Always follow with oil. Coolant can strip the blades of oil so replace it. When in doubt, add more oil.
- Take breaks during your clipping session! Your horse may want to pee or have a rest or eat a snack!
- If you are getting lines when you clip, it might be because your clipper blades need more oil or they are dull. It also might mean that you are not holding the clippers evenly along your horse or have uneven pressure.
- To fix clipper lines, cross over them diagonally with an x shape to clip off the line from both sides.
- Pick up your horse’s legs to clip them. The skin around the tendons gets a bit softer and easier to glide the clippers along.
- Follow up a body clip with some more grooming oil to restore shine.
To pick up any of the previously mentioned grooming supplies, you can use these links! As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This is absolutely no extra cost to you, and it helps me keep this giant website going! I truly appreciate it.
HandsOn Grooming Gloves – also, use code PEG for some free shipping!
There are more great horse grooming tools on my own storefront here if you want to shop around.