The guide to basic tail, mane and coat care.
Grooming your horse should be a daily activity that both you and your horse should enjoy due to several factors. Not only does grooming improve and maintain a healthy coat for the horse, but it also allows you to form a bond with your horse and learn their mannerisms. Grooming provides the opportunity to assess your horses health and wellbeing. In addition, grooming increases the horses blood flow to the surface of the skin and massages the horses muscles, which is particularly beneficial after a horse ride.
Daily grooming is also ideal, especially before and after riding the horse, as dirt and dust tends to settle underneath the saddle which can cause sores and infections on the horses skin. The more you maintain a daily groom, the easier it is to maintain the overall health of the horses tail, mane and coat.
Mane and Tail Care
When grooming the horses mane and tail, the mantra ‘less is better’ comes into play when using shampoo and conditioning products on your horses hair. Soap tends to irritate the horse as it generally causes an itching sensation for the horse. Only condition the mane and tail once a week, using a good quality conditioner.
Avoid over heating / using horse rugs up on the horses mane and neck as this area tends to overheat, which as a result, can cause the hair follicles to remain active. If there is friction from a neck rub, it can result in the hair falling out.
Less is more when it comes to brushing. Brushing long manes regularly causes friction, and as a result, causes breakage. Only brush long manes when dry, never wet. If your horses hair has knots, brush from the bottom up and only use a soft, wide toothed comb to remove the knots gently. Avoid using a metal comb as metal tends to pull the hair out from the roots, resulting in breakage and thinning of the hair. Invest in a good horse grooming kit.
If your horse has a long mane, try braiding the hair. Braiding horses hair allows the hair to remain tame and frizz free. However, you have to be mindful of the safety aspects which may arise from braiding hair as there is the potential of the braid getting stuck in fences. To make it safer, do not braid the entire length of hair, leave it loose (un-tied) at the bottom as it will minimise the risk of it getting caught.
If you are striving for healthy, luscious hair, well then it all starts from the inside, more specifically, what you are feeding them. Ensure that your horse is getting enough protein, amino acids and vitamins from their diet, as this will positively impact the thickness, shine and overall health of the hair.
Check your horses skin condition. If you are wanting to achieve a healthy sheen and shiny coat, then it is important to ensure that the skin underneath is healthy. A key problem that horses often face is itchy skin or flaky skin (similar to dandruff). To maintain the horses skin, again, ensure that they are eating a balanced diet and are consuming enough proteins, vitamins and minerals. Also, check the quality of shampoo that you are using so it does not further irritate the horses skin.
Monitor your horses skin, especially during summer, to protect it from insect bites and sunburn. During summer use a lightweight mesh or cotton rug to protect the skin from insects and sun damage. If your horse is sensitive to the sun, you can also apply sunscreen to areas which are more likely to burn.
Conduct regular worming checks. Worms are a common issue that horses face and unfortunately if a horse has worms, it often means that they are lacking nutrients as worms are living organisms so they will steal these key nutrients from the horse. As a result, less nutrients equates to a dull, unhealthy coat.
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