How to Groom your Horse like he's a Top International Horse - Nine easy ways!
Not all horses will make it to the top levels of international sport, but for Pete’s sake they can all be treated like it! There’s not much difference in being a top Groom for an international horse and being a top Groom for your own horse. Some of these things require a smidgen more time, some don’t require any more time. You have the skills and knowledge to turn your horse out just like your favorite superstar horse!
Without further hesitation….these things are all easy and quick to do, and will make your horse international spotlight ready.
- Groom for health and not for looks. Top horses are inspected daily and curry combed to bring out bloom, as well as check for soreness. Use grooming time as a way to memorize your horse, check for new ailments, and massage his body. The shine is the bonus.
Every day. No excuses.
- Take vital signs and temperatures regularly. Like every day regularly. Fevers often sneak up long before your horse appears sick, acts sick, or stops eating. Early intervention is key.
- Bridle paths are maintained (discipline specific, of course.) This allows for proper bridle fit, and saves time before shows and events and clinics.
- Your horse’s tack is cleaned daily. Clean leather is soft and supple and SAFE, crunchy leather is dangerous, uncomfortable, and gross. Imagine wearing a crusty leather bridle on your face!
You will extend the life of your expensive investment, and you will catch potential failing leather sooner by cleaning your tack daily. Also, soft leather is much more comfortale for your horse!
- Preventive medicine is key. Vaccines are up to date, the farrier is on a regular schedule, fecal counts and targeted deworming is on course. Dental care is routine, and your horse is examined for soundness regularly - don’t wait to see if he “works out of it”.
- Manes and tails are maintained daily. Manes are kept the same length and thickness, so pulling a tiny bit at a time works. Manes and tails are free from tangles, shavings, and are trained to lay flat. Tails are kept banged (if appropriate for the discipline) and tail tops are tidied.
- Legs are iced after exercise. There is no better way to take care of your athlete’s legs and hooves than ice therapy. This removes damaging heat due to exercise and protective leg wraps, it helps alleviate soreness, and icing soothes arthritic joints.
- Saddles and bridles are fit perfectly for the horse they belong to. The saddle fitter comes about every six months or so to check up on things. The top line of a horse is dynamic - changing as the horse gains muscle from exercise or even losing muscle from an illness or time off.
Dirty brushes only smear the dirt around. Clean as necessary!
- Grooming tools, exercise boots, blankets, and saddle pads are clean. It defeats the purpose of grooming your horse if you are going to use dirty tools and put dirty saddle pads and blankets on!
How many of these Top International Groom habits do you do?