Why would I want to groom my horse after he is ridden or exercised?
There are tons of obvious reasons to groom your horse before you tack up and ride, but what about after? I think the best and most productive grooming can be done after your horse has exercised, for a few reasons.
Post ride grooming cleans up sweaty marks.
- Shedding will be facilitated a bit. This is also the best time to pull his mane if that’s in your grooming routine.
- You may be able to skip a rinse and work on his own natural shine. For those days when you horse is not covered in sweat, but perhaps has a sweaty girth mark and is a bit sticky under the saddle, I will skip a hose down. You can typically let those marks dry for a few minutes, and then curry comb them away.
- Another curry comb session is great at bringing up those natural oils, and is a post workout massage session. (Wouldn’t it be great if we got a massage after a run or gym session?) You may be alerted to muscle soreness, although sometimes this shows up the next day.
- The extra grooming will alert you to any nicks he may have picked up on his legs. Also ticks.
- You will conserve water. Sometimes a rub down is just as good as a hosing.
Get rid of sweat marks with a rub down, followed by a brushing.
- You have the chance to work on desensitizing your horse to his sensitive areas - muzzle, girth, ears, etc. By grooming again, or rubbing down with a damp sponge or cloth, you can make ear clipping, face washing, and sensitive area handling a non issue for the days that you are doing a head to hoof makeover. If your horse is shy about an area, use a post workout grooming session as a chance to build his confidence. Over time, it will become second nature to both of you. And, it's just easier when he's a bit tired from some exercise!
- On those days where a full rinse is not necessary, I will still sometimes hose off from knees and hocks down to cool off those tendons and rinse away any footing or dirt. This also creates a great surface from which to ice your horse. He can stand in his ice boots and "marinate" as you groom!
Of course this doesn’t take the place of a pre-ride grooming, and it will definitely help take your horse from semi-dull looking to brand new penny shiny over time. Do you have a post exercise grooming routine??