A Lazy Girl’s Guide to Grooming a Horse

Have you ever pulled your horse out of the field only to find him covered in mud and manure and staring at you with those cute large eyes like, “I don’t know what happened”? I think we’ve all been there. All you wanted to do was go for a ride, but now you need to groom your horse for 30 minutes just to get a saddle on him.

Grooming a horse is very important (the point of this post is not to tell you not to groom your horse) – it can alert you to pain your horse may be experiencing, help you find injuries or cuts on your horse, and make your horse clean enough to ride (and I’m guessing that’s what most of us are after).

Lazy girl's guide to horse grooming

However, I think that grooming can be a bit boring and time intensive.

I have a confession – I am not very good at grooming my horses. It has never been my strong suit, and to be honest, I just don’t care that much about doing it. I do it, and I can get a horse clean and pretty if I have to, but I don’t really enjoy it and I probably go out to the barn with the intention of just grooming maybe 1-2 times a month. Usually I am pretty short on time too so spending an hour grooming my horse just isn’t in the cards for my day.

If it is Spring time you may be needing to get off some excess hair – check out this post with the best shedding tools to get your horse slicked out in no time.

Since I don’t love grooming, I have created the lazy girl’s guide to grooming a horse.

If you are low on time or just don’t enjoy grooming, check this out as the steps you should take at a minimum for your horse each day, or when going for a ride.

#1 Pick out your horse’s hooves.

If you have no time to spare and are just saying hi to your horse, please at least pick out their feet. Picking a horse’s feet is extremely important because it can tip you off to problems that have occurred in their hooves since the last time you looked. If you haven’t seen the underside of your horse’s hoof since the farrier arrived, you are not helping your horse (nor farrier) out. They could have stepped on a nail, lost a shoe, have a cracked hoof, or developed a case of thrush.

If you need to take care of thrush, check out these top 10 methods to treat thrush.

Picking your horse’s feet every day is a great way to check out his hoof condition, as well as remove any dirt and debris that has accumulated there.

Tools you will need: A Hoofpick

Why should you pick out your horse's feet every day.

#2 Get the mud off

If you have a bit more time than just running a hoof pick through your horse’s hooves, then please try to get the mud off your horse. Many horses love mud so much that they will actively seek it out and roll around in it like a giant pig. Unfortunately, mud left caked to your horse could eventually cause an issue with their skin or make it difficult to saddle your horse for a ride. Also pay special attention to getting mud off your horse’s legs (with a soft curry such as this fine Oster Rubber Curry) because that can lead to scratches or mud fever if you don’t take care of it on a regular basis.

Tools You Will Need: Shedding blade, Rubber Curry or Gentle Groomer

Read my full review of the Strip Hair Gentle Groomer (I would purchase this again for my sensitive horse (probably not my scratch loving mare though), even though I think it’s a bit overpriced).

Curry a muddy horse

#3 Brush your horse

You know, with a dandy brush. Flick off the excess dust, dirt and debris that you have loosened in step #2. If you are planning to ride, you’ll need to at least get to this step so you can put a saddle pad and saddle on without worrying about causing a saddle sore with throwing your saddle on top of a dirty horse.

Tools you will Need: Dandy Brush/Stiff Brush

#4 Smooth out the look

If you want to take it a step further than just getting the dirt off so you can throw a saddle on top, I would suggest using a body brush or softer brush to smooth down your horse’s hair and get some more of the dust left on their coat. This step is not necessary, but will make it look like you tried harder, because you did.

Tools you will Need: Body Brush

#5 Remove shavings/hay/straw from your horse’s mane and tail

Although not necessary to go for a ride, removing bedding from your horse’s hair will make them look much more “kept” than leaving it there. (I am definitely guilty of just leaving my horse’s mane and tail alone for a month at a time). You can pick out pieces of hay and other debris, or use a mane and tail brush, but be sure to brush delicately or you will rip out your horse’ hair.

Tools you will Need: Fingers, mane and tail brush and possibly detangler

Brush horse mane and tail

Tools you’ll need for grooming your horse:

  1. Hoof pick – I like this one that is almost like a screwdriver on the end because it breaks out mud and snow/ice really well
  2. Rubber Curry
  3. Fine Rubber Curry
  4. Strip Hair Gentle Groomer
  5. Shedding blade – works well to get off large areas of mud, where the horse isn’t very sensitive since this is metal
  6. Dandy Brush
  7. Stiff Brush
  8. Body Brush
  9. Mane and Tail Brush
  10. Mane and Tail Detangler

There are obviously quite a few more steps you could go through to groom a horse, but since this is the lazy girl’s guide to grooming, this is as far as I’d ever go!

What are your everyday grooming requirements? Are you lazy like me, or do you spend more time and effort on grooming your horse?