Almost all of us, at some point, have seen the training pyramid for horses. The bottom of the training pyramid represents the basics of riding and horse training, and the subsequent higher tiers represent the other onion layers of the training scale. You must have the bottom layers before you can have the one above it. In the grooming scale, you must have good nutrition - this is your foundation. You build up from there!
So I was thinking of what it truly takes to have a horse that BLOOMS. A horse with a good bloom exudes health, good grooming, and shine. There is that amazing sparkle in the eye, the spring in the step, and a coat that screams “I double as a mirror”.
I created my own “Grooming Scale” to represent what it takes for BLOOM to happen. There are so many factors that create bloom in a horse, and this is what I came up with. I would love to hear your thoughts on this!
- Nutrition. Your horse must be fed correctly in order to develop that amazing bloom. This is not as easy as just saying 4 flakes of hay and a scoop or two of your favorite supplement. Factors such as local soil, access to pasture, type and quality of hay, exercise demands, temperament, medical issues, metabolic challenges, and age all play a part in determining a correct diet. An Equine Nutritionist and/or your Veterinarian can help you figure things out. Why is nutrition the foundation? Because it helps to create the energy for your horse to exercise, the minerals and vitamins for his body to function correctly, and the healthy oils in his coat.
- Exercise. This is my second tier of the Grooming Scale. A good exercise program tones muscle, promotes good cardiovascular health, trains the horse’s brain, creates a strong topline, stimulates their skin and coat, and contributes to longevity and elasticity for your partner.
- Veterinary Care. You must have proper disease prevention, treatments, and pro active care to create a horse’s bloom. No short cuts here! Vaccinations, worming, soundness exams, dental care, proper disease and injury treatments and preventions.
- Elbow Grease. Use your own muscles and brushes and curry combs to massage, stimulate your horse’s natural oils, and beautify your horse. Twenty minutes of daily grooming can never be replaced by anything else on the planet. AND - you have the added benefits of building a strong bond with your horse. As you get to know and memorize their very landscaping, you will be alerted to any changes, which can only help keep your horse healthy. But most importantly, daily elbow grease creates that mirror like shine on your horse.
- Quality Grooming Products. Quality ingredietns, gentle application, and shine enhancing. A little can go a long way, especially if you have done your basics. I love products - they can make your job as a Groom a lot easier. Last minute stain removal, color enhancing products, and polishers can all help you do your job better, especially at shows where time is limited and standards are higher!
- Clothing. All of the horse clothing out there can do two things: protect your horse, and protect your elbow grease investment! Fly protection, sun protection, cold and wind and rain protection, and muddy dirt protection are all benefits of sheets, coolers, blankets, fly masks, and the like. Make your horse more comfortable with what he needs, and your grooming elbow grease will likely stay more brilliant longer!
What are your thoughts??