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9 Habits to improve your horse’s appearance – Sponsored by Back on Track
Competition season is well underway and everyone wants to have the best turned out horse on the show grounds. If you want your horse to look professionally groomed then it’s important you implement some good daily grooming habits. It barely takes any extra time and it requires no extra money to up your day-to-day grooming game. Work on adopting these grooming habits to take your horse’s appearance to the next level:
1) Pick your horse’s feet before and after every ride: Keeping your horse’s hooves clean and picked will prevent stone bruises and thrush. No one wants to see a horse with chipped, rotten or muddy hooves so make sure you take proper care of your horse’s precious hooves. It takes a minimal amount of time to pick your horse’s hooves at least twice a day so just do it.
2) Detangle your horse’s tail by hand: Over-brushing your horse’s tail, will decrease its volume because it breaks hairs off and pulls them out. If you don’t believe this, simply take a look at your brush after you finishing combing out your horse’s tail. Now think of how much hair you’re tearing out if you do this every day, it does add up. If you want your horse to have a thicker tail, then use your hands to detangle it gently. Staying on top of things by hand detangling its tail on a regular basis will make this job less cumbersome. Remember you can always use a bit of detangler to make your job easier.
3) Curry your horse on a regular basis: Consistent currying will give your horse’s coat a shine that will make other riders envious. Currying will help loosen dirt, shed hair, and other detritus, plus it stimulates the skin to produce natural oils. Although standard rubber curry combs are too harsh to use on your horse’s face and legs, you should have a soft rubber curry in your grooming arsenal, so no part of your horse is overlooked. The benefits of daily currying cannot be replaced with any coat shining product.
4) Spray your horse’s legs with apple cider vinegar (ACV): Icky leg fungus is never a good look for your horse. Send all forms of skin fungal infections packing by spraying them with ACV. Your horse’s legs are fungus-prone so spray them with ACV on a regular basis to stop the fungus in its tracks. Keeping on top of fungus by preventing it in the first place will save you the total nightmare of trying to get rid of it and having a horse with crusty, hairless patches on its legs. Click here for more barn hacks using vinegar.
5) Tame your horse’s mane: A tidy mane will give your horse an overall polished look. Don’t let your horse’s mane grow wild until the day before a show when you need to braid it, instead keep its mane tamed all the time. It doesn’t matter whether you pull or trim your horse’s mane just do it on a regular basis, so your horse never looks like an unbroke mustang.
6) NEVER put your horse away with sweat marks: The salt in your horse’s sweat can fade your horse’s coat and irritate its skin. After every ride, it is your job to make sure your horse is put away with zero sweat marks. Hosing your horse down is the best way to get rid of the sweat, but if it is too cold for washing, then you should let your horse dry then curry and brush the sweat off. There are no excuses for putting your mount away anything but spotless.
7) Use shampoo sparingly: Overwashing your horse can strip away its natural skin oil (sebum), which gives its coat a radiant glow. Sebum also protects your horse’s skin from insects, and it contains good bacteria that keep harmful fungi, parasites and other pathogens at bay. Plus bathing your horse too much with shampoo can leave its skin dry and itchy and can lead to it rubbing its mane, tail and coat off, which is always a bad look. Simply washing your horse off with plain water is plenty, save the shampoo for big events like horse shows and clinics.
8) A good coat starts with an excellent diet: You cannot replace a healthy diet with any amount of elbow grease and grooming products. A lacklustre coat can be a sign of a poor diet, internal parasites or Cushing’s disease. If you suspect your horse has internal parasites of Cushing’s syndrome make sure you consult with your vet. If you are questioning if your horse’s diet is sufficient, you should contact an equine nutritionist for their expert advice. But if you just want your horse’s coat to look a little shinier you can pour a tablespoon or two of corn oil in its feed.
9) Keep your tack SPOTLESS: Dirty and unconditioned tack can rub your horse and even lead to fungus. Prevent unsightly rubs by taking the time to clean and condition your tack on a regular basis. You wouldn’t wear breeches that were so dirty that they caused you discomfort so don’t do the equivalent to your mount. Plus you’ll look much more put together when you’re riding if your tack is gleaming.
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