How do I groom my dusty horse that lives outside?  I can’t get all of the dust out of his coat while I’m grooming!

While I love horses being horses outside, It’s also a real pain to get them show ring ready.  Horses that live outside are muddy, dusty, and often times green from grass stains.  Your mission it to help prevent dust and dirt, then remove it.  And I really don't care too much about the dirt on the top of his bum.  It's more imperative to remove any spec of dirt and dust from under the tack.  



He's not really a roan.  More of a mud roan. 


Ideas for preventing dust and dirt and grass stains on your horse: 


  • Have a designated rolling spot in his pen that lures him away from the mud and into a clean area.  You can use shavings, wood pellets, sand, whatever he likes to roll in.  Make sure his designated rolling area is set away from fencing and gates so he doesn’t get stuck.  A shelter is a definite plus in a paddock, and makes a great location for a clean rolling spot.  


  • Have your horse wear a fly sheet in the summer.  They come in zillions of fabrics and thicknesses and styles.  Pick a light color or white to reflect the sun and keep the bugs and some of the dust and dirt away.  You can also hose them off and they air dry quickly. 


  • Use a sheen product.  Adding a sheen product to your horse on top of his own natural oils make dust, dirt and stains slide away. 


You can use sheen products from head to toe, just be sure to avoid the saddle area - no need to slide off your pony as you trot along!



Now it’s time to deal with the dust and dirt that he has managed to apply to himself in his outdoor home: 


  • Curry, brush, curry, brush, keep going…  Take curry breaks and use the dandy or stiff brush otherwise you are just moving the dust around.  You can also dampen your dandy or stiff brush and this will get more dust off.  You will also be cleaning your brushes a bit more, but what the heck. 


A really dusty horse reminds me of how convenient blankets are to keep dirt at bay...


  • Use a horse vacuum!  If you don’t have one, you can get a shop vac and use a pool hose to extend the nozzle.  Most horses learn to like the vacuum, and it will save you a bunch of time.  Curry first for best results. 


Hanging the nozzle keeps human feet from tripping.  


  • Use a spot remover, aka no rinse shampoo, to get rid of grass stains.  Some stains can just be wiped away with a damp washcloth if your horse is oily enough. 


  • Grab that damp washcloth and use it to give your horse one final wipe before you put any tack on.  Sheepskin grooming mitts also work well for this job.  You will be able to remove that very last bit of surface dust from your horse.  You could also use those chamois or microfiber towels that you find at auto supply stores.  


One more tip:


  • Wear sunglasses.  You won’t notice the dust as much!


What’s your best grooming tip for the pasture kept horse?