THE IMPORTANCE OF GROOMING A GRASS KEPT HORSE

Horses and ponies kept at grass require grooming for appearance and health like their stabled friends.  It is also an opportunity to check your horse over for any cuts, lumps etc.  Make sure, whenever possible, you do this without gloves so you can get to feel what is normal for your horse.  
 Grooming grass kept horse
However, there is a difference in the routine and brushes used between grass kept and stable kept animals.  A horse at grass needs to retain grease in its coat to help keep him warm in the colder, wetter weather.
 
How to groom the grass kept horse or pony
 
* Pick out feet daily into a skip, removing stones, mud and any other debris including from the sides of the frog.  

* Take the opportunity of checking shoes and make a note to call the blacksmith if required.  

* Check the frog is healthy and that there are no signs of thrush, a disease of the frog denoted by a foul odour.  (Read more about thrush in Veterinary, A-Z of common ailments).  
 
* Using a rubber or plastic curry comb, in circular movements, remove mud and loose hair from the coat.  Pay particular attention to areas where the saddle, girth and bridle fit to avoid rubbing and sores.
 
* Take a dandy brush and using a flicking action, brush all over the body, removing dirt.  A dandy brush can be used on the head with care to help remove mud.  For sensitive horses a body brush should be used. Do not use a dandy brush on thin or sensitive areas of a horse.
 
* In the summer a body brush can be used lightly over the body.  Use sparingly as it will remove grease which is still needed to help your horse keep warm and repel water.
 
* Separate the tail, taking a few hairs at a time and brush through with the body brush, using the fingers to help detangle to avoid pulling out hairs.  There are many excellent products on the market which detangle tails with ease and some prevent mud sticking so readily.
 
* Using a mane comb take a small bunch of hair, starting at the bottom and working up towards the roots, comb through.
lisa grooming_joey
* The mane and tail on a grass kept horse or pony should not be pulled short as they are needed for protection.  Tails should be kept shorter in the winter to avoid collecting mud and in the summer a little longer to help deflect the flies.
 
* To finish dampen down the mane using a water brush.
 
* The eyes, nose and dock should be cleaned, using a separate sponge for each area.   Rinse the sponge before using on the opposite eye or nostril to avoid cross contamination. Tip:  Keep a different coloured sponge for each area to avoid confusion.
 
* Keep a separate brush for washing off the feet before applying hoof dressing or oil to improve the appearance of the foot and moisturise the horn.
 
* If your horse or pony is rugged then keep him partially covered while grooming to avoid him catching a chill.
 
* Remember to give the rug a quick shake to remove dust before putting back on. 

Read more tips and advice for caring for your field kept horse 
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