What’s In My Grooming Kit?

Over the years I’ve had my horse, Pea, I feel like I’ve refined the contents of my grooming kit to cope with all weathers and all events – am I missing anything?

Coat care

SleekEZ – An absolute necessity at this time of year – the best thing I’ve found for helping to shed a winter coat and we’ve tried plenty!

Metal curry comb – This will be out of my grooming kit for the summer months but right back in for winter as it is the best thing for dry mud on hairy ponies.

HAAS brushes – I have the white/grey/coloured pack from Eqclusive.  The Schimmel brush (the first in the pack) is particularly amazing and I also keep the second in my everyday grooming box though I reserve brushes 3 and 4 (the dreamy sheepskin Diva brush) for my competition kit.

Curry comb – Forget traditional rubber and plastic curry combs, this “New Generation” one (from Eqclusive) is so good for mud, hair and using with the HAAS brushes to clean them after each stroke.

Magic brush – These get rid of dried mud but are also really good for scrubbing during a bath.

Hair care

Pea’s thick, gravity defying mane is pretty hard to manage but I think I’ve got as many tools as anyone can think of to keep it under control!

Mane and tail brush – Basic, robust – also functions as an emergency hairbrush!

Mane and tail conditioner – Carr & Day & Martin Canter Mane & Tail is my conditioner of choice.

Rake – A useful tool – this thins the mane (or tail).  Mine is a Smart Grooming one and they have different grades depending on the type of hair you are trying to thin.

SoloComb – For those who are opposed to mane pulling the SoloComb is a good alternative.  It doesn’t thin the mane as much as pulling but it is definitely kinder.

Metal comb – I’m not generally a mane pulling fan but I have given it a go.  I usually use this to help me to trim Pea’s feathers – she is not a clipper fan so I have got pretty good at scissor trims in the last 6 years!

Hairdressing scissors – Perfect for trimming feathers and beards alike!

Equi-Shave – A Smart Grooming tool – some people use these on fine horse’s feathers or whiskers but I use mine for refining the trimming of Pea’s beard!

Dog trimmers – These don’t do a proper clip (and Pea doesn’t like clippers anyway) but they are useful for light jobs like beards and not-too-floofy feathers.  I am using mine to try to get Pea used to the sound and feel of clipping.  There are loads of different ones like these on Amazon and Ebay and they are cheap too.

Hoof care

Looking clean and pretty is all well and good but there is a important saying “no foot, no horse”.

Hoof pick – A staple in every grooming kit.

Hoof oil/dressing – I keep a homemade hoof dressing in my grooming kit which is made from lard, oil and tea tree.  I do have black hoof ointment too but I keep that in my competition box.

If you would like a more visual tour of my grooming kit favourites head over to my YouTube.

Won’t Ride, Will Horse

Back in 2018, when I was recovering from my hip replacement, I wrote a guide called “Can’t Ride, Can Horse” with some suggestions for things you can do relating to horses when you can’t ride.  Nearly 2 years later, we are ALL in a fairly similar situation.  The BHS have said

“We advise that it is not appropriate to put unnecessary pressure on the emergency services and everyone should make their own individual decision as whether riding is necessary at this time.”

Personally, as you’ll see from my March Madness post, I decided to stop riding a few weeks ago but I have found plenty of things to do instead and have lots of ideas that I haven’t got to yet.

Most of these assume you can still see your horse/go to the yard. Under current UK rules, you are still allowed to tend to your horses -as that is essential to their welfare – unless your yard owner says otherwise or you are ill/shielding/self isolating as long as you follow social distancing rules.  I am in no way encouraging anyone to travel unnecessarily.  Please use your own judgement as to which of these are suitable for you.

Exercise

With the health of your horse in mind, if you are not riding anymore and intend on roughing them off, you need to decrease their exercise slowly.  If you are hoping to continue to exercise your horse – while the government still permits it – these ideas work too.

  • Walking in hand – I am aware that this isn’t an option for everyone but if it is safe to do so, walking your horse in hand is exercise for both of you!  Make sure you use a bridle rather than a headcollar if you are actually going somewhere!
  • Lunging – Lunging is generally considered to be a pretty safe way of exercising your horse (as long as you wear gloves and a hat).  Just be careful not to do too much as going around in circles does put strain on your horse’s joints.
  • Groundwork/Liberty/Trick training – There are so many activities you can do with your horse on the ground to improve your bond and have fun!
  • Stretches – If you don’t already do this with your horse, now would certainly be the time to start!

D482D838-0EC2-42DF-BEA9-10E01ABDD92D

Help

  • Buddy up – With key workers working more than ever, parents having their children at home and travel being restricted it might be worth buddying up to help others with their yard jobs. At my yard we are spreading our visits through the day and sharing some of the jobs while there is no staff
  • Adopt/sponsor – Some equestrian businesses have lost nearly their entire income probably for the rest of the year but still need to feed and care for their animals.  Many – my yard included – have set up adoption or sponsorship schemes so if you have a few pounds to spare, this might be something you can get involved with.

D1047999-779A-41A1-9C6C-3D42ED12C78B

Spring clean

  • Grooming – Now is the time to help your horse to lose their winter coat and to get rid of that winter grime.  I’ve tried out a lot of shedding tools but my favourite is the SleekEZ.
  • Bathing – The weather has improved and now seems like a good time to be giving them a spring bath.  Even though we won’t be going out to any lessons or competitions, I can’t wait to get my Carr & Day & Martin Stain Removing Shampoo out to turn Pea’s brown legs white again and set her up for a cool summer rather than a sweaty, hairy one.
  • Brushes – If you’re going to get your horse clean, now would also be a great time to clean your brushes.  I have some much loved Eqclusive Haas brushes and I just hand-wash them in a bucket of warm, soapy water then hand them on the washing line to dry!
  • Leather – Give your tack and your boots a “birthday”.  If you’re not going to be using them for a while, it makes sense to give them a thorough clean and think about how to store them without the risk of them getting mouldy.  Carr & Day & Martin do a product called Ko-Cho-Line which has been produced for this very purpose.
  • Rugs – If you have got the skills and equipment, now would be a great time to mend and wash your rugs but at the very least you can sort them and store any that you won’t need for a while.
  • Washing – It is not just rugs that need washing.  If you are not riding, you’ll be free to wash all your numnahs so that they are squeaky clean for use on the other wise.
  • Trailer/Lorry – We won’t be using our horse lorries and trailers for a while so it is a good opportunity to tidy, clean and sort them out (if you are able to access them without breaking government rules).  It is also worth considering the security of your vehicles as, while there are less people out and about, there seems to be a rise in thefts.

DEB6D80E-7699-45B0-B995-8FE3128CDCFA

Other

  • Photos – As well as sorting out your own photos (getting some printed and backing them up) why not check out official competition photos from previous events and order yourself some.  I’m sure the photographers would appreciate it in these tough times.
  • Evaluate – There is little point in planning a competition schedule at the moment because we have no idea when we might be out and about again but it is a good time to look back at the last year/season and reflect on what went well and what you intend on doing differently next time around.

A Guide To Shedding Tools!

It has come to the time of year when those of us who have unclipped horses are being punished for letting them grow their own rugs over winter.  Suddenly they are like bird nest machines, shedding hair everywhere and sometimes they need a little helping hand! Over the years I have used plenty of different gadgets to help Pea to shed her winter fluff so here’s a low down of our recommendations. All of these have been bought with my own money and my opinions are certainly my own and based on solid use.

The ‘Cheap and Cheerful All-Rounder’

These metal ‘shedding blades’ are pretty cheap (from £4) and effective at catching loose hairs and sweeping them away especially when you open them up like a scythe! I wouldn’t recommend using one of them on sensitive areas or legs but they do a decent enough job on the body and double up as an excellent tool to remove dry mud!

The ‘Sorry I’ve Found Better’

You know what it is like, you see a video on the internet of something looking amazing and you get sucked into buying it. That’s how my YO and I ended up ordering StripHairs from America a few years ago. When they arrived, although we were in slight shock that we’d spent so much money on what is essentially a rubber block, we thought they were great but they are hard work to use and have been far outclassed by more recent purchases! I know StripHair have changed the design of their blocks and I can’t comment on the new ones (they cost $39) but if I wanted a shedding specific tool I would certainly buy…

The ‘Best In Test’

I bought a SleekEZ two years ago with my Eqclusive brush pack (they cost £19.95 individually) and I haven’t looked back! It is so effective at taking out the hair that is ready to be shed and is so satisfying to use. The difference in all of our horses’ coats from the year before to the year we used these in the lead up to our riding school vet inspection was incredible. Because it is essentially a ridged metal blade coming from a wooden block, you have to be careful about pressure, particularly in more sensitive areas.

The ‘New Classic’

Although I use the SleekEZ on most of Pea’s body I turn to my Eqclusive curry comb (£7 each) particularly for her tummy and legs. It is the perfect reincarnation of a traditional rubber curry comb with a solid rubber structure but soft tips. In circular motions it teases all the ‘shed ready’ hair out of the coat, gets rid of any mud and provides a sort of massage for your horse.

Do you have any other shedding tools you could recommend?

%d bloggers like this: