Confession: it makes me irrationally angry when I see people riding a horse they barely scraped a saddle sized area of mud off of. This happened all the time in endurance and it drove me crazy.
Grooming to me is about preparing the horse for what is to come. It’s about massaging the muscles, making sure all dirt is removed and running your hands down every inch of their body to make sure nothing is amiss. It doesn’t have to take long, but it should be complete.
My typical pre-ride groom session can take as little as 10 minutes or as long as 30 minutes depending on how much time I have and how long I want to take. The steps remain the same.
- Start with the rubber curry and massage from head to tail down one side of her body, return to her head, give her a huge neck hug breathing in deeply with her and then going down the other side. I apply pressure as I curry and watch her response
- Next is the stuff bristled brush. Again I start at her head and work my way down one side, return to he head and go down the other. I don’t have a fancy brush, just a cheap one I got years ago when we moved to SC and realized I left all my grooming stuff behind at the barn in WI.
- Time to pick her hooves. I run my hand down her entire leg checking for any wounds or areas of swelling/heat. Sometimes my mind likes to make up areas of concern just for fun. Then I pick her hooves and check for any length I need to rasp off and make a note if I think some No Thrush powder should be applied after the ride.
- Her mane is then brushed out last. If I have extra time I use the comb in it as well. Her tail though typically gets ignored unless I find myself with a lot of time on my hands.
By doing the above I know every inch of Gem and if something is normal or not.
Post ride is a lot less. She is really low maintenance and our rides aren’t that strenuous. I brush her off with the firm bristled brush, pick her hooves, add No Thrush powder if I feel she could use some. In the summer I either hose her down if I’m at home or the barn or sponge her off if I’m out and about. I don’t ice or poultice her legs at the moment because we just aren’t doing enough to really warrant it.
And that is all. Nothing major but enough to keep her clean and ready to work.