Grabbing your grooming tools box, you start cleaning up your horse before a ride. What horse grooming challenges will you have to overcome? You will probably have to manage flies, tangles, wounds, dirt and more. These are horse grooming challenges and there are products to help you make light work of these common issues.
Horse Grooming Challenge: Flies
Yes, dealing with flies is a part of horse riding. They gather on the horse’s face and bother his eyes. Flies land on his back and shoulders where his skin twitches and flicks them off. Annoying flies bite his lower legs where the skin and hair might be thinner. Flies gravitate to and swarm wounds; adding dirt and bacteria which slow healing and cause infections.
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To ward of flies from your horse, fly spray is a necessary component of your grooming tools box. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when applying fly spray:
- Fly spray works best on a clean (groomed) horse; dirt and mud can lessen its effectiveness.
- Spray enough to dampen the coat.
- Don’t spray directly on a horse’s face. Instead, apply fly spray to a cloth or soft brush then wipe it onto the horse’s face.
- Fly spray effectiveness decreases as the horse sweats or is bathed. Apply on a dry, groomed coat for highest degree of effectiveness.
Fly Spray Recommendations
Looking for a natural way to keep flies at bay? Equiderma Neem and Aloe Fly Spray for horses is an effective natural fly spray safe for both horses and humans. Equiderma Neem and Aloe Fly Spray not only repels flies but stops their growth and development. Overtime, use of this fly spay can help reduce the fly population at your barn. That is a useful bonus! Effective all-natural ingredients include: Neem Leaf Tea, Aloe Vera Gel, Neem Oil, Citronella, and more.
Horse Grooming Challenge: Tangles in the Mane and Tail
Ah . . . the sweeping mane and flying tail of a horse in motion. How do those beautiful locks not get tied up in knots? Well tangles and knots do appear in lovely manes and flowing tails of horses. You will find them while grooming. Tight tangles and knots can be a tricky thing to get out of horse hair. Undoing tight horse hair tangles and knots may result in hair breakage which impacts the beauty of the horse’s mane or tail.
Mane and Tail Detangler to the rescue!
You can help keep your horse’s mane and tail flowing freely by using mane and tail detangler. This will become a staple in your grooming tools box. Here are some tips for keeping your horse’s locks flowing:
- Apply detangler to the mane and tail before you brush, using more as you get to knots or difficult areas
- Brush out your horse’s mane and tail about once a week. This keeps hair breakage to a minimum.
- Use a wide bristled mane and tail brush
- Using vinyl/latex gloves will help your fingers to slide through the mane and tail to distribute the detangler
Mane and Tail Detangler Recommendations
The tried and true product many horse owners rely on is Absorbine® ShowSheen® Coat Polish & Detangler. Enriched with pro-vitamins and silk proteins, this ready-to-use spray coats each strand of hair to keep manes and tails tangle-free while the conditioning action reduces static fly-aways and leaves your horse silky-soft with a radiant shine. Showsheen® also works as a coat polish to bring out the highlights in the horse’s coat color plus it repels dust from settling in the coat causing it to dull.
Another top product new to the market is Knotty Horse Apricot Oil Treatment and Detangler. As the name suggests, nourishing apricot oil is a key ingredient which softens and shines the hair without being greasy. Rub the oil into mane or tail knots to quickly detangle them while preventing breakage. This oil helps defend against sun damage and is great for horses with sensitive skin. You can even use it on yourself!
Horse Grooming Challenge: Wounds
Horses are very prone to injury in the form of cuts, scratches, bites and lacerations. One of the benefits of grooming your horse either before a ride or on a regular basis, is that you get up-close and personal and can find wounds.
Wound Care Ointment to the rescue!
You will need to have an effective wound treatment in your grooming tool box, to care for your horse’s minor wounds yourself. Here are steps you can take to treat minor wounds:
- Stop the bleeding if the wound is fresh. This can be done through applying direct pressure using a clean piece of cotton wool and holding it there or using a bandage to apply the pressure.
- Note signs of infection such as yellow discharge, a weeping wound, a bad smell. Apply a disinfectant regularly to clean up a topical infection.
- Clean wound with disinfectant then apply a wound treatment.
- Check wound daily to monitor the healing. If wound is not improving and healing consult a veterinarian.
Wound Care Ointment Recommendations
All horse owners need a quick fix for the common occurrence of minor horse wounds. One natural and effective product is BioGel All Natural Antibacterial & Antifungal Gel. BioGel products blend natural organic herbs and minerals which have been tested and shown to promote quick healing and hair-regrowth. BioGel also helps provide a cooling effect to the wound, reducing stress and sensitivity in the animal. Rapid regeneration and rehabilitation of tissue helps your horse feel better quickly.
Horse Grooming Challenge: Dirt and Manure Stains
Horses live in dirt or near their manure piles, therefore we will constantly battle against dirt and manure in our horse’s coat. Those of you with grey or light-colored horses know you have to put in extra effort to get dirt and manure stains off almost every day. Manes and tails of grey or light-colored horses can develop a yellow tint.
Shampoo to the Rescue!
Dirt and manure are part of living with horses. A good shampoo will rid your horse of dirt buildup and manure stains. Grey and light-colored horses require a special shampoo that will brighten their coat and take out the yellow tint the mane and tail can develop.
A full bath is not practical, or necessary, every day but you can do a spot treatment to rid the coat of the dirt or manure stains. So How often should you bathe your horse?
- As necessary, is the basic answer to how often a horse should be bathed.
- Hot and sweaty horses can be simply hosed off with no shampoo to cool their body temperature and remove froth and dirt churned up in a workout.
- Shampooing horses may remove natural oils, so don’t shampoo too much or too often. Spot cleaning dirty areas with a damp sponge and a dab of shampoo can take place of a full shampoo bath.
- Wash the mane and tail more regularly using conditioner or a detangler to keep the beautiful locks flowing and not in knots.
- Wash the legs more frequently, especially the hind legs of a gelding or stallion where urine spray may cause issues.
Quic Silver Whitening Shampoo gently and safely eliminates stains while intensifying light colors and leaving hair soft, smooth and oh-so-shiny! Quic Silver highlights the silver in greys, golds in palominos and platinum in white-coated horses while eliminating the yellow tint.
Knotty Horse Apricot Oil Conditioning & Brightening Shampoo is formulated with concentrated levels of omega fatty acids, as well as vitamins A & E. This impressive combination works to soften and hydrate the coat, without stripping essential lipids from the skin and hair. Anti-bacterial properties work to treat skin conditions and the paraben and preservative free formula is ideal for sensitive horses.
Horse Grooming Challenge: Hoof Problems
Thrush, white line issues, hoof cracks and splays plus debris and stones in the clefts of the frog . . these are all horse grooming challenges regarding the horse’s hooves.
Hoof Care to the rescue!
The hoof has a tough job. The horse’s ability to flight depends on solidly functioning hooves. The unique structure of the horse’s hoof allows the horse to support his tremendous weight – in motion and at rest. Therefore, cracks, splits and flares decrease the integrity of a sound hoof.
In addition, the frog (V shaped pad on the underside of the hoof) is designed to be the “second heart” which pumps blood back up the leg (against gravity) with every step to keep blood flowing and not accumulating in the horse’s lower extremities.
Hoof Care Recommendations
Healthy hooves can be maintained with hoof treatments. Pure Sole Hoof Mud is another all-natural product for treating thrush, white line, seedy toe, heel infections, cracks and wall separation, or simply for maintaining a healthy frog and sole. Use daily for infection treatment, weekly for prevention, or even apply under your horse’s shoe pads for weeks of therapeutic benefits.
Horse Grooming Challenge: Sore Muscles and Legs
While grooming your horse you have the chance to detect sore muscles and sore legs. Swelling in the horse’s lower extremities may indicate injury, while a horse who exhibits irritation while being groomed could have sore muscles.
Liniments to the rescue!
Liniments are counter-irritating which work by irritating the skin so that the capillaries and superficial vessels are opened, thus allowing more blood flow and warmth/heat to the area. This can be great for sore muscles, long-term joint issues and even relief from bug bites. Use of liniments is usually after a ride to comfort the horse as he recovers from his work out.
Sore No More Gel Liniment provides a clinical strength formula made for easy application in a gel-lotion form! Made to reduce inflammation, increase circulation, and for loosening tight body muscles, tendons and ligaments, it is extremely beneficial when bringing a horse back from injury or when managing old injuries.
The above links are all simply product recommendations. Please consult your veterinarian for advice on when and how to use any product. Please be aware of any drug rule for your level of and type of competition. Be sure any products used on your horse fit within the drug compliance rules if you are planning on competing with your horse after using any product.
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