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Grooming Kit

How often do horses need to be brushed? Every day, and here's why.
Grooming is an opportunity to make a hands-on assessment of your horse, checking for any bumps, cuts, rashes, swellings or temperature changes that may need treatment or further investigation by a vet.
Picking out hooves on a daily basis also helps in the fight against thrush, abscesses or something as simple as a stone bruising the frog. Furthermore, a good groom, with rigorous brushing, increases blood flow, which will help improve or maintain the health of your horse’s skin and coat. Robust and circular motions while grooming also massage the large muscle groups.
One of the greatest gifts your grooming kit will give you is the time to bond with your horse. While it’s true that some horses don’t like to be groomed, the majority enjoy the experience. Quietly and calmly grooming your horse can increase feelings of connection as well as build trust and confidence. Ideally, your horse should be groomed every day, even when they are not being ridden.
So, now you know why we groom, it’s time to turn to the kit. Clearly, there are huge variations in price and quality when it comes to grooming kits, and they can become quite specialised, but for starters, these are the key items you should consider buying:


A standard hoof pic

Hoof Pick

This is an essential item of kit that keeps your horse’s hooves clean, but it needs to be used correctly to avoid damaging the delicate frog area. So…
Hold the hoof in the hand closest to the horse and put the pick in the palm of your other hand.
The hook of the pick should be closest to your little finger.
Pick from the heel towards the toe, removing all dirt, debris, stones and faeces from the sole of the foot and the clefts running alongside the frog. Be careful not to press too hard and never dig into the frog. If your hoof pick comes with a small brush on the back of the hook, use that to clean any dirt from the frog.

A standard hoof pic

Hoof Dressings

Hoof oil, hoof grease, hoof balm, hoof ointment, hoof paste, hoof shine and hoof gel are all names for products designed to go on the outside (and sometimes the inside) of hooves. While some claim to do specific jobs for certain problems, most are applied to the hooves to nourish and moisturise them. Usually made from a blend of natural oils, not all hoof dressings are created equal so it’s best to do some research to find the most suitable for your horse’s hooves. There are differing ideas about how often such oils should be applied so it is best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions once you have chosen the product you like.

A standard hoof pic

Curry Comb

The classic curry comb is made of rubber with soft prongs. When used in a circular motion over your horse's body, the comb loosens dust, dander and shedding hair, and the massaging effect will help improve blood circulation. There are also curry combs made of plastic that are of a similar design to the classic rubber version, but with a wavy, non-serrated edge. These combs are effective in not only removing dirt from your horse, but also dirt and dust from your grooming brushes. Metal curry combs are useful to clean brushes. Other curry combs include: the needle curry comb, which is made of plastic, with small, blunt-tipped plastic needles to loosen dirt from your horse’s coat; and spiral curry combs that are essentially metal rings with one serrated edge, often used to remove stubborn, dried mud from the coat.

A standard hoof pic

Dandy Brush

A long, stiff and thick bristled brush, the dandy brush is used to remove dirt and mud from the coat that has been loosened and brought to the surface by your chosen curry comb. Though the bristles can be natural or synthetic, they need to be stiff enough to do the job.

A standard hoof pic

Body Brush

This is a soft bristled brush used to remove final dirt, scurf and loose hair from your horse’s coat. They are usually designed with a flat back and broad handle to make grooming more efficient and the brush more user friendly. Used in sweeping, circular motions, a body brush will promote the shine on your horse.

A standard hoof pic


A damp cloth or small sponge is ideal for gently cleaning your horse’s face including nostrils, lips and ears. Also keep a further two sponges in your kit; a smaller one to gently wash the dock and groin area, and another larger one to wash the body. A grooming mitt can also be used as an alternative to a sponge when bathing your horse, but do try and use an equine shampoo as they are designed for the exact pH of a horse’s skin and are therefore less likely to lead to irritation or the loss of your horse’s natural oils.

A standard hoof pic

Mane & Tail Brush

The majority of mane and tail brushes look like regular hairbrushes, but they are designed in such a way as to minimise hair damage during the process of detangling and cleaning your horse’s tail and mane. Some mane and tail brushes are also shaped like regular horse brushes.

A standard hoof pic

Mane & Tail Spray

We all condition our own hair, so why not condition our horse’s hair as well? There are tonnes of mane and tail sprays/detanglers/conditioners on the market nowadays and they are all fab at keeping your horse’s mane and tail in silky, tip top condition. Most of them come in a pump action spray bottle which is very convenient for spraying directly on to the mane and tail.

A standard hoof pic

Sweat Scraper

Made from either plastic or metal, and wood in some countries, the sweat scraper tends to have a curved rubber edge or blade that is designed to remove sweat from your horse after exercise or excess water after showering or heavy rain. The sweat scraper is an essential piece of kit, largely because it ensures your horse dries quickly, which will hopefully prevent them from getting a chill in cold weather.

A standard hoof pic

Grooming Bag

OK, a bag or a box to hold your grooming kit isn't essential, but it's certainly helpful.
Having your grooming kit in one place should save you time and make you more efficient – if you neatly arrange your brushes, combs and hoof picks in a way that works for you. Storing them like this protects your brushes from damage, dirt, and moisture.
A grooming bag also helps prevent cross-contamination between horses by providing individual compartments or pockets for different brushes, thereby reducing the risk of spreading bacteria or infections.

While there are many more items within grooming kits – plaiting combs and bot fly knives to name but two – the above list provides you with the bare essentials you will need to keep your horse well-groomed. All items can be bought individually, but increasingly companies are selling grooming kits as a whole, many of which come in a handy bag or box.

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