Regularly grooming your horse is an essential part of equestrian care. It’s a chance for you to connect with your horse and make sure that they are healthy, happy, and ready to go for a riding session.
During the summer months in the UK, it is important to pay extra attention to the grooming needs of your horses to ensure they remain clean, cool, and comfortable.
By following these essential grooming tips we have listed in this blog, you can help your horse stay happy and well groomed throughout the warmer summer months.
1- Keep a Well-Stocked Grooming Kit
A well-stocked grooming kit is a horse owner's best friend, especially during the summer. Equip yourself with the essentials to keep your horses clean and comfortable. Some must-have items include horse shampoo and conditioner, hair polish, sponges in various sizes, hand mitts, and a sweat scraper. Regular grooming helps remove dirt, dust, and excess sweat, promoting a healthy coat and overall well-being.
To assist you in building your horse grooming kit, we have compiled a list of the brushes and equipment you should purchase along with their specific uses below. This will help you understand which tools are essential for regular grooming and which ones are needed less frequently or seasonally.
Essential Items for Regular Grooming:
A curry comb is a must-have tool for removing dirt, loose hair, and debris from your horse's coat. Its circular rubber or plastic bristles help stimulate blood circulation and promote a healthy coat.
A body brush, also known as a dandy brush, features stiff bristles and is ideal for removing dirt, dust, and dried sweat from your horse's coat. It is an essential tool for daily grooming, leaving your horse with a clean and glossy appearance.
Mane and Tail Comb
This specialised comb is designed to detangle and neaten your horse's mane and tail. Its wide-spaced teeth gently work through knots and tangles, preventing breakage and promoting a well-groomed look.
Regular cleaning of your horse's hooves is crucial for preventing infection and ensuring sound hoof health. A hoof pick with a sturdy metal tip is used to remove dirt, stones, and debris from the hooves' crevices.
Soft Face Brush
A soft face brush, featuring gentle bristles, is used to clean sensitive areas such as the face, ears, and around the eyes. It helps maintain your horse's comfort while providing a thorough and gentle cleaning experience.
Occasional Items for Seasonal or Specific Needs:
During shedding season, a shedding blade is a valuable tool for removing loose hair and facilitating the shedding process. Its serrated edge gently pulls away the excess hair, promoting a sleek and shiny coat.
After your horse's workout or bathing, a sweat scraper is used to remove excess moisture from their coat. Its flat, flexible blade efficiently removes water, sweat, and shampoo residue, aiding in faster drying and preventing skin irritation.
Mane and Tail Brush
While a comb is suitable for detangling, a mane and tail brush with soft bristles or bristle-like strands is perfect for regular maintenance. It helps keep the mane and tail neat and free from knots or tangles.
Hoof Oil and Brush
To promote hoof health and maintain their appearance, applying hoof oil is beneficial. A specialised brush allows for even application, ensuring the hooves stay moisturised and protected.
2 - Protection Against Sunburn
Just like humans, horses with low pigmentation are prone to sunburn, especially on their pink skin. Invest in a horse shampoo that provides UV protection or contains sunscreen properties. Additionally, consider using zinc oxide ointments on exposed hairless areas to create a protective barrier against the sun's harmful rays. Alternatively, lightweight horse summer sheets can act as a cover to protect horses from both sunburn and biting pests like flies and mosquitoes.
3 - Refreshing Sponge Baths
Offer your horses relief from the summer heat with refreshing sponge baths. Avoid excessive use of shampoo, as it can be detrimental to their skin and coat. Instead, use cool water to gently sponge their body, removing sweat and helping them stay cool.
A simple sponge bath is an effective way to lower their body temperature and provide comfort during those hot summer days.
4 - Monitor Health, Feed, and Water Intake
While external care is important, maintaining your horse's internal health is equally crucial. Ensure they receive a well-balanced and nutritious diet, and always provide an ample supply of fresh water. Monitor their feeding habits and check for any signs of weight loss. Regularly inspect your horse for any injuries or skin-related issues such as summer sores, sweet itch, bug bites, or watery eyes.
5 - Regular Grooming Routine
Establishing a regular grooming routine benefits both you and your horse. Brushing their coat not only removes dirt and dust but also stimulates sebum production, which contributes to a healthy and lustrous coat. Take the time to bond with your horse through grooming sessions, improving their overall well-being and creating a beautiful, well-maintained appearance.
6 - Mane Trimming and Plaiting
To keep your horse cool and comfortable, consider giving them a trim. Tails, manes, and excessive hair on legs can cause discomfort during the summer months. Trimming these areas not only helps regulate their body temperature but also gives them a neat and tidy appearance.
Additionally, learning different mane plaiting techniques can add a touch of elegance while keeping them cooler. Explore fun styles like the French plait to enhance their beauty and comfort.
7 - Regular Farrier Visits
Maintaining a consistent schedule of farrier visits is crucial for your horse's hoof health. Summer months often involve more frequent hoof growth due to optimal weather conditions. Consult with your farrier to determine the appropriate interval for trimming or shoeing based on your horse's individual needs.
8 - Hoof Care
Proper hoof care is essential for your horse's overall health and soundness, regardless of the season. However, summer in the UK brings unique challenges that require additional attention to ensure your horse's hooves remain in optimal condition, summer can bring dry and hard ground conditions. Regularly pick out your horses hooves to remove any debris and check for signs of dryness or cracking. Applying hoof moisturisers or conditioners can help keep their hooves healthy and resilient.
9 - Fly Protection
Flies can be particularly bothersome in the summer and can cause several issues for your horse. Use fly repellents, fly masks, and fly sheets to protect your horses from irritating flies and other insects. Consider using fly traps or installing fans in the stables to create a less appealing environment for flies.
By following these essential summer grooming tips specific to the UK climate, you can help ensure that your horses remain healthy, comfortable, and happy throughout the warmer months. Remember to tailor these tips to the individual needs of your horses.