There’s nothing better than knowing your horse is happy, healthy and thriving. Regular grooming can provide both you and your horse with a range of benefits, from better blood circulation to a chance to check your horse’s body for wounds or other areas of concern.
While you should aim to groom stable horses regularly, especially after each ride, outdoor horses who live more naturally will often do a lion’s share of the work themselves, simply by rubbing against trees or on the ground.
In this article, we are going to provide you with a checklist of grooming tools and walk you through the steps to properly groom your horse.
You should always have the following horse grooming essentials and horse tack on-hand:
- Grooming kit box
- Soft/body brush
- Hard/dandy brush
- Hoof pick
- Mane and tail brush
- Metal curry comb
- Sponge and/or cloth
- Rubber curry comb
- Water brush
- Stable rubber
- Sweat scraper
- Mane comb
- Fly spray
8 Steps to Grooming Your Horse
Is it time to groom your horse? Now that you have the proper products and grooming supplies on hand, here are eight simple steps to help your horse stay clean, happy and healthy through regular grooming.
STEP #1: Secure Your Horse
Even the most trained and well-behaved horses may still need to be secured during grooming. They may feel the need to shift or move their feet while being groomed, which is completely natural and in no way a reflection of their obedience.
To help keep them in position so that you can groom them properly, you may need to secure in place using a halter and rope or lead. Simply tie to a nearby post using a quick release knot or set of cross ties. Alternatively, you can always ask a friend or colleague to hold onto the rope and keep your horse calm as you groom them.
We always recommend using a quick-release knot while securing your horse, especially during grooming. If something were to spook your horse, triggering their flight response and need to flee, a quick-release knot can help to reduce the risk of creating a potentially dangerous situation.
STEP #2: Loosen Hair and Dirt with a Curry Comb
A curry comb can help you to loosen hair and dirt from your horse’s coat. Starting at their head, work your way to their tail using circular motions that are gentle yet firm enough to lift dirt from their coat.
Practice extreme caution around bony areas and be sure to not curry their head, mane, tail, and lower legs.
As you continue these circular motions across their body, you’ll likely notice grains of dirt coming up from their skin, which should be much easier to now remove.
STEP #3: Remove Hair, Dirty and Sweat with a Hard/Dandy Brush
Now that you’ve brought hair and dirt to the surface of your horse’s coat, you can use a hard or dandy brush to remove the debris and really get their coat cleaned up.
This hard bristled brush can be used from ear to tail in straight flicking motions to effectively remove the debris. Ensure that you press firmly to avoid tickling your horse!
STEP #4: Smooth and Clean with a Soft/Body Brush
Since your soft brush or body brush has much softer bristles, it can be used on all areas of their body, including their mane and tail. This step can help to finish off their coat, leaving it with a soft and shiny look and feel.
To use this brush, you will need to work your way from their head to the rest of their body, maintaining long and smooth strokes. When brushing their lower legs, we suggest using a quicker sweeping motion, especially for areas that are too sensitive for the hard brush.
In fact, your soft brush or body brush can also be used to brush along the bridge of their nose and cheeks. Just be careful to avoid sensitive areas such as the end of their nose and eyes.
STEP #5: Pick Hooves
To begin your grooming routine, we suggest starting by picking your horse’s hooves. For those who could use a refresher in picking hooves or are new to the process completely, here is what you need to know:
- Stand beside your horse, facing the opposite direction that they are standing.
- Place your hoof pick in your hand that is on the opposite side of your horse.
- Run your hand closest to the horse gently down the front of its leg, until you reach their hoof.
- Gently lean into your horse at the same time, encouraging him or her to shift their weight onto the other side, so that you can pick up their hoof.
- While supporting and securing their hoof in your hands, use the hoof pick to remove rocks and dirt. Start at the back of their hoof and work your way carefully towards the front.
- Clean the grooves on either side of the frog, which is the V-shaped part of the hoof. Do not pick this area or dig deep into the grooves, as you can damage the hoof and cause injury to the horse.
If you are picking your horses’ hooves for the first time or are unsure, ask for help from someone experienced in equine grooming.
STEP #6: Clean Their Face
Help your horse feel clean and refreshed with a good face cleaning. Using a damp cloth or sponge, gentle clean your horse’s nose and wipe their eyes. After their face is clean, you may want to grab a different sponge or cloth and dampen it, to give the area beneath their tail a wipe.
Be very gentle and proceed with caution, as this can be a very sensitive area for many horses.
STEP #7: Brush Out Mane and Tail
Now that your horse’s hooves, body and face are all clean, it’s time to finish the job by brushing out their mane and tail. While brushing out their mane and tail, we suggest standing to the side of your horse as much as possible, to avoid injury if they are to kick.
Start by using a wide tooth comb or brush to detangle the worst parts of their mane and tail. After working on the harder-to-brush areas, work your way through the rest of the areas one section at a time.
Hold the top of the section firmly in one hand and brush with the other, to avoid tugging on your horse’s skin. Using a detangler or show sheen is also recommended to avoid unnecessarily pulling out or damaging the hair.
STEP #8: Use Fly Spray
To a horse, flies can be quite a nuisance – especially in the summer months. Help combat the flies by finishing off your grooming routine with a fly spray. Spray the product over their body, but be sure to avoid their face area. This can help to reduce the risk of spreading infection and biting your horse, which can cause them pain and discomfort.
Horse Tack at System Equine
Do you have questions about grooming your horse or providing them with other care? Take a look at the other helpful articles in our blog for more information. To stock up on supplies for your horse, visit or contact our experts at System Equine today.
We have a wide selection of products and supplies to help you care for your horses. Explore our high-quality horse tack such as blankets, saddle racks, and grooming tools, along with health essentials like supplements, dewormers, hoof care, and poultices.
We also offer a variety of helpful services to our customers. From designing and building horse stalls, to farm solutions such as pasture fences, flex fencing and more, our team at System Equine can help.