Don’t ‘Brush Off’ Grooming
Just going through the motions doesn’t cut it, explains Karlie Mitchell.
By Karlie Mitchell
How many of us groom before a ride simply to clean an area for tack? Grooming really is about much more than cleaning the horse for use.
A few not-so-obvious benefits of grooming:
Stimulates circulation. This can help aid in warming the horse up before use. Increased circulation also promotes healing and flushes toxins.
Helps you identify issues. Don’t just flick the dirt off and call it good. Watch your horse and be observant when grooming. Does he or she react positively or negatively to certain areas? This is a great way to identify issues and sore spots.
Bonding. Grooming is a great way to bond with your horse. It helps get you and your horse comfortable and more aware of each other.
Releases tension. A good curry can help the horse relax mentally and physically. Some horses will even lean in if they want more pressure.
Rather than rushing through the grooming process, knocking off the dirt while chatting with friends, make the most of this one-on-one time with your horse.
- Keep an eye on your horse’s ears, eyes and skin.
- Feel your horse’s legs for any irregular bumps, swelling or heat.
- Run your hands over your horse’s cheeks to feel for any irregular teeth hooks.
- Run your hands under the belly where you can’t always see.
- Do a skin pinch while grooming to check hydration.
Don’t just “brush off” grooming. Even if a horse is idle, they should be groomed on a regular basis. Use it as an active tool to keep a close proactive eye on your horse and embrace the benefits of it beyond a clean coat.
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