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Proper coat care for horses often involves more than just removing dried dirt after they’ve enjoyed rolling around in mud. As horse enthusiasts know well: happy horses are often dirty horses.

Health Aspects of Grooming

Grooming serves not only to remove coarse dirt before riding but also encompasses various other aspects. It involves eliminating loose hair and old dander, which can be a delight for some horses. Extensive grooming sessions stimulate blood circulation and lymph flow, promoting the supply of nutrients to the skin. However, it’s important not to overdo intensive scrubbing every day, as the coat of a healthy horse is usually covered with a light protective film that repels water. Therefore, on non-riding days, it’s advisable to leave the coat undisturbed.

When grooming and caring for your horse, it’s essential to take adequate time and calmness. This allows you to identify any muscle tension or areas of heat, and promptly recognize and address minor injuries.

Choosing the Right Grooming Products

A healthy skin with a healthy coat typically requires no further regular care. Despite this, the market is inundated with various care products, creams, and sprays, often appearing enticing and claiming to be the ultimate solution.
It’s important to remember that the skin not only expels substances from the inside out but can also absorb external substances.
Many sprays contain artificial fragrances, silicones, parabens, and other chemicals that can trigger allergies, irritate, and dry out the skin over time, despite their initial pleasant feel and scent. Therefore, when selecting a conditioning spray to maintain a long mane, it’s advisable to prioritize products with purely natural ingredients and adhere to the principle of “less is more”. Taking a little extra time to comb the mane and tail thoroughly can often yield better results.

Regular shampooing can destroy the skin’s protective barrier
© Adobe Stock / kazantsevaov

Frequent Washing Can Damage the Skin,

This applies to shampoos and similar products as well. Most pet owners are aware that excessive washing is not beneficial for their pets’ skin. Rinsing with clear running water after training on a hot summer’s day is generally less harmful than regular shampooing. However, shampooing can strip away the skin’s protective barrier, making it more vulnerable to bacteria and germs.
It’s crucial to avoid using human shampoo or soap, as these products can completely strip the hair of its natural oils. If a horse’s tail is very dirty or if there are large grass stains that need to be removed before an outing, it’s recommended to use a special mild and moisturizing shampoo designed for horses. Nowadays, there are many manufacturers offering purely natural horse care products, which may include ingredients like aloe vera and light vegetable oils. Using these products in the long term can help protect the skin and hair.

Tip for Light-Coloured Tails

Here’s a fantastic trick for light-colored tails that are prone to dirt. It’s an age-old, completely natural, and inexpensive method: mix rye flour with water until it forms a gel-like consistency. Let it sit for at least an hour; the longer it sits, the more beneficial it becomes.
Massage the paste into the long hair, ensuring it’s evenly distributed. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. This will leave the tail looking fresh and bright once again.

Social Significance of Coat Care

Grooming horses has another remarkable aspect: it’s often seen in harmonious horse groups as mutual grooming.
While the practicality of grooming for horses might take precedence, there’s a deeper social aspect to it. They enjoy assisting each other in removing loose hairs and attending to challenging, itchy areas, especially during coat changes. However, grooming holds a special social importance for horses. It fosters group cohesion, strengthens bonds, and nurtures friendships among the animals. Ultimately, it instills a profound sense of togetherness among individual horses.

Promoting Bonding and Trust

For riders, grooming serves as an excellent means to deepen the bond between horse and human, foster trust, and create a positive sense of companionship. Essentially, it’s about nurturing a friendship. You can easily identify your equine companion’s favorite spots by observing their pleasurable “grooming face”: the extended upper lip and often partially closed eyes. Some horses even enjoy reciprocating by scratching their human’s back. Thus, grooming your four-legged friend can transform into a genuinely enjoyable experience for both of you.