Horses and ponies love the grooming process. Wild horses or equines tuned out to pasture will buddy up and groom each other. Mutual grooming helps strengthen friendships between horses. It also helps humans bond more closely with their horses. But grooming starts with horse brushes.
Daily grooming and hoof cleaning makes the horse look good. However, it is also a great opportunity for the owner to check for injuries or strange lumps that may need veterinary attention. Yes, grooming is part of the basic duties that the horse owner has. In order to help a horse get the most out of a grooming session the right brushes you need to use. Here are the types of horse brushes every owner needs.
8 Horse Brushes That Cover Up Equine Care
1. Body Brushes
These are soft all-purpose horse brushes that help remove any material loosened by a body brush or rubber currycomb. They come in a wide variety of colors, sizes and materials.
They often feel like a very large human hairbrush. Also, they are best used in long, sweeping strokes. These strokes can sometimes soothe a horse so much that it falls asleep.
2. Dandy Brushes
Dandy brushes are also called bristle brushes. The bristles are much firmer than that of body horse brushes. Synthetic bristles usually cost less than other materials like boar’s hair. The stiffer bristles help dig into the horse’s coat and bring up dead hair, dirt or other detritus.
Dandy brushes should never be used on sensitive areas of a horse like:
- Under the tail;
- In between the hind legs;
- Around the eyes;
- On the face.
Individual horses and ponies may have ticklish parts of their bodies that do not react well to a dandy brush. Use a rag, sponge or body brush instead on these areas.
3. Face Brush
The skin on a horse’s head, underneath the tail and around the dock area in males is very sensitive. Do not use regular or dandy brushes at these areas. Never use a currycomb here, either – no matter how dirty the areas are.
Horses have good memories. If they have been hurt during grooming, they will fight or flee any future grooming session. This is just because they are trying to avoid pain. Face brushes are very soft and help to remove dust and dirt without hurting the horse.
Currycombs are made from rubber or metal. Metal currycombs should never be used on a horse. They will hurt the horse. Metal currycombs are great at cleaning off other horse brushes. Every few strokes of a dandy or body brush can be run through the currycomb to help keep the brushes clean.
You can use rubber currycombs in circular motions to remove thick caked on patches of mud or shedding winter hair. However, then a body brush is necessary to sweep the dirt or hair off of the horse’s body. A currycomb can loosen up dirt or bring it to the surface. But it should not be used in the long, sweeping strokes of dandy or body horse brushes.
5. Grooming Gloves or Mitts
This is a soft rubber currycomb that an owner can wear. This is a good option for owners who may have trouble holding regular currycombs or horse brushes. Also, these are good all-purpose grooming tools, from helping to scrub off a dirty horse in a bath or for daily brushing.
The softest ones, usually made of fleece, are even gentle enough to use on the sensitive skin of a horse’s face. However, grooming mitts or gloves are not as sturdy or long-lasting as more conventional horse brushes.
6. Hoof Picks with Brush
Although the basic metal hoof pick does not contain a brush it is essential for keeping the inside of the hooves clean and healthy. Metal hoof picks are not only long-lasting, but are strong enough to dislodge pebbles or ice balls packed into the hoof.
Hoof picks are available with a stiff brush attached. The brush is especially helpful for dry days to help remove caked dirt or manure without scraping the horse’s sensitive frog or sole. Hoof picks with brushes often contain a sturdy plastic with a pick on one side and the brush on another.
7. Hoof Brushes
These are brushes specifically made to clean the outside of a horse’s hoof. It’s essential to clean the hoof thoroughly before applying any hoof oil, hoof polish or conditioner. Horse’s hooves should never be constantly wet and need time to dry out or they will start to rot. Even removing caked-on dirt helps keep a hoof healthy.
Hoof brushes look like a small version of the brushes often paired with dustpans. Some horse owners prefer to scrape the side of a metal hoof pick on the outside of a hoof. However, this is not a good option for horses recovering from hoof injuries or are particularly nervous about the owners handling their hooves.
8. Mane and Tail Brushes
These are optional grooming tools for horses that are going to be shown or who grow such thick manes that they get in the way of harness or the bridle. Some show rules or horse breed regulations state that manes or tails need to be short. In order to shorten a mane, you should use a mane and tail brush.
This works better than scissors or clippers. If a mane or tail needs to be long for a show or whatever reason, then you will need to clean the manes and tails by hand, so hairs will not break.
In an ideal world, all horses would have their own set of horse brushes and grooming equipment used by no other horse. This helps prevent the spread of any skin conditions or parasites. However, many horses have to share their grooming tools.
These tools need to be regularly cleaned with soap or gentle dish washing liquid and water. Otherwise, dirt will wind up redistributing all over horses instead of being removed. You can dry the brushes on a towel before replacing them in a grooming box or tool kit.
Images from depositphotos.com.