How to Groom a Horse: Complete Guide

How to Groom a Horse

How to Groom a Horse: Complete Guide


One of the numerous everyday chores associated with owning a horse is grooming your horse. Before you mount up to ride, cleaning your horse is the main goal of grooming. By grooming your horse, you can get rid of any mud and dirt touching areas that might be irritating. Additionally, it offers you the chance to check to determine if your horse has any bodily aches that can interfere with your ride.

How should a horse be groomed? The steps for a fundamental horse grooming routine are as follows:

  1. Secure your horse so that they stand still while being groomed. 
  2. Use a curry comb to break up dirt and mud patches and to bring the dirt under your horse’s coat to the surface.
  3. Use a hard brush to brush the dirt and mud from your horse’s coat.
  4. Use a soft brush to brush away any remaining dust and to brush sensitive areas of your horse like their face and legs.
  5. Use a hoof pick to thoroughly remove dirt from the horse’s hooves.
  6. Lastly, use a mane and tail brush or a hard brush to brush out your horse’s mane and tail.


As it provides you time to spend with your horse and teaches your horse that human contact is positive, grooming your horse has many wonderful advantages. Because caring for your horse is an important aspect of owning a horse, if you’ve ever taken part in a horse instruction program, you can undoubtedly recall one of the first things you learned was how to groom a horse. To learn more about how to properly groom your horse, keep reading.

How to Groom Your Horse: Step-By-Step

Step 1: Secure Your Horse

How to Groom a Horse

Before you begin grooming your horse, you need first secure them.. To restrain them, cross tie them, or have someone hold the horse while you brush, you have a few options.

You should always secure your horse before brushing them for a few reasons. Horses tend to stray off frequently because they are easily distracted. You might become annoyed if your horse keeps attempting to move away while you are grooming them if they are not restrained.

A further justification for securing your horse is to prevent them from biting you if they reach back. Some horses bite frequently, while others might only be attempting to let you know that the area you’re grooming hurts. In either case, securing your horse will help you retain a certain level of safety.

The ideal knot for tying down a horse is a rapid release knot, which enables you to quickly untie your horse in case something goes wrong. You can view the video I made by clicking here. How to Tie a Quick Release Knot.

Step 2: Use a Curry Comb to Break Up Dirt

How to Groom a Horse

When it comes to brushing your horse, the first tool you’ll want to use is a curry comb. The curry comb breaks up mud patches and helps bring underlying dirt to the surface of your horse’s coat. A curry comb is also great for getting all of your horse’s scratches!

A curry comb can be used from the neck to the dock of the tail. However, it should not be used on sensitive areas like the face or the legs unless you use it very gently. To use the curry comb, make circular motions with your hand across the horse’s coat. If you’ve ever watched The Karate Kid, think of the wax-on, wax-off movement.

Step 3: Use a Hard Brush to Remove Dirt From Your Horse’s Coat

Once you’ve brought the dirt to the surface of your horse’s coat using a curry comb, you can use a hard brush to remove the dirt. A hard brush has stiff bristles, much like a broom. You can sweep this brush over your horse’s body to remove the broken up dirt and mud. When using this brush, make sure you brush the way the hair lays on the horse. You can use a stiff brush lightly on your horse’s legs and face. The rigid bristles may cause discomfort if you brush too hard.

Step 4: Use a Soft Brush to Remove Remaining Dust and to Brush Sensitive Areas

If you want to go the extra mile of grooming your horse, you can use a soft brush next to remove any remaining dust on your horse’s coat. This brush will look like a hard brush except with soft bristles. When using this brush, follow the way of the hair in your horse’s coat.

You can use this brush all over your horse’s body, including their face, legs, and belly. This brush is more gentle than the other ones and is great for removing excess dust.

Step 5: Clean Out Your Horse’s Hooves Using a Hoof Pick

How to Groom a Horse

Next, you’ll want to pick out your horse’s hooves. You should try and pick out your horse’s hooves at least once a day to protect against bacterias like thrush taking root. To pick out your horse’s hooves, stand beside the leg you want to pick up. You can pull up on the horse’s feathers or pinch their leg right above their pastern to cue them to raise their hoof.

Once you have the hoof up, the easiest way to start cleaning the hoof is by taking your hoof pick and starting at the corners of the heel. At these corners, there is a groove in the horse’s hoof that allows you to get a better hold of the mud so you can remove it.

Before you clean your horse’s hooves, make sure you understand the anatomy of the hoof. There are certain parts of the hoof that you won’t want to dig the hoof pick into, like the frog which is in the middle of the hoof. To know more about how to clean out your horse’s hooves, check out my article, Cleaning a Horse’s Hoof: Easy Illustrated Guide.

Step 6: Brush Out Your Horse’s Mane and Tail Using a Hard Brush or a Mane Brush

How to Groom a Horse

Another thing you can do is brush out your horse’s mane and tail. It’s best not to incorporate this into a daily grooming routine, because if you did this every day, the horse’s mane and tail would become much too thin. I try to brush out my horse’s mane and tail at least once a month to keep them from getting to tangled and to keep dreadlocks from forming.

You can brush the horse’s mane and tail using a tail brush or a hard brush. While a tail brush is more like a normal hairbrush, it’s more apt to rip the horse’s hair. Using a hard brush to brush out your horse’s mane and tail will be easier on the hair. If you do this, you may want to use detangler spray to make brushing easier.

To properly brush out your horse’s tail, hold the tail and stand to the side of your horse’s rump to avoid getting kicked. From there, start at the bottom of the horse’s tail and work your way up as you get passed knots and tangles.

Supplies Needed to Groom a Horse

To properly groom a horse, it’s important to thoroughly know each piece of equipment and how it should be used. Let’s review the different supplies you can use now. Some of these items are seasonal and won’t be used frequently; however, they can make your life much easier when it comes to grooming.

If you don’t have any grooming supplies yet, this horse grooming Kit from Amazon is a great place to start. It includes many of the items mentioned below as well as a carrying case.

Essential Daily Routine Horse Grooming Supplies:

Curry Comb: Although called a comb, a curry comb looks more like a brush. This brush has “teeth” that break up mud patches and dirt on your horse’s coat. To effectively use this brush, run it over your horse’s coat in small circular motions. This will help to bring dirt to the surface of the horse’s coat. The curry comb can be used on the horse’s neck and body, but avoid using it in sensitive areas on the horse’s face and legs.

Hard Brush: A hard brush is a brush that has stiff bristles, much like a broom. This brush will be used to remove the mud and dirt from your horse’s coat that the curry comb loosened. To use this brush, brush over the coat the way that the hair on your horse lays. A hard brush can also be used to brush your horse’s mane and tail. Many people prefer to use a hard brush to do this since it doesn’t break the hair of the mane and tail.

Hoof Cleaning Brush: A hoof cleaning brush is used to brush any remaining mud or dirt from the hoof wall and the hoof sole of your horse. This brush is smaller than a hard brush and has very rigid bristles. Many times, hoof picks will be double-sided and have a hoof cleaning brush on the other side of the hoof pick.

Hoof Pick: How to Groom a Horse: Complete Guide

A hoof pick is a narrow tool that has a metal edge used for removing dirt from a horse’s hooves. A hoof pick usually has an angle to help you get better leverage when removing packed dirt.

Mane & Tail Brush: A mane and tail brush is a brush used specifically for brushing out a horse’s mane and tail. These types of brushes look like a normal hairbrush that you may use on your hair.

Wide-Toothed Comb: Another tool you can use to brush out a horse’s mane and tail is a wide-toothed comb. Wide-toothed combs have teeth that are set further apart and are great for working snarls out of your horse’s tail.

Soft Brush: A soft brush looks like a hard brush but has soft bristles. Utilize this brush to remove dust from your horse’s coat. Its soft bristles make it gentle enough for use on your horse’s face and legs When using this brush, brush over the coat the way that the hair falls.

Towel/Rag: Another material you can use to clean the more sensitive areas of your horse is a towel or rag. “These tools are effective for removing dust and dirt from your horse’s legs, face, muzzle, and around the genital area

Seasonal/Extra Horse Grooming Supplies:

How to Groom a Horse: Complete Guide

Bot Knife: In the summer months, you may notice little yellow dots on your horse’s legs. These are bot eggs, which flies lay. These eggs can be hard to remove from your horse’s coat. A bot knife is a tool that can be used to remove these eggs. A bot knife has little teeth that help grip the hair and rip the bot egg out.

Clippers: You can use electric clippers to trim the whiskers on your horse’s face, the feathers on their lower legs, and a bridlepath in their mane. These clippers are much like the electric clippers you may use to give someone a haircut, although more heavy-duty. Some horse owners like to clip their horse’s entire body to keep the horse’s coat short and polished.

Fly Spray: Fly spray is a liquid that you can spray over your horse to repel flies. This is a must-have for the summer months!

Mane-Pulling Comb:

How to Groom a Horse: Complete Guide

It must be metal to avoid the risk of breaking, unlike a plastic comb To learn how to pull your horse’s mane, check out my article on Pulling a Horse’s Mane: Step By Step Guide For Beginners.

Scissors: Scissors come in handy when you’re at the barn. When it comes to grooming, you can use them to trim and even out the horse’s mane and tail.

Sponges: You can use sponges to give your horse a bath or to spot-clean them.

Shedding Blade: A shading blade is a curved comb with little sharp teeth that makes it easy to collect loose hair from your horse. This is a must-have for shedding season in the spring.

Sweat Scraper:

Sweat scraper: Removes horse sweat/water. If water sits on your horse, it can cause them to become chilled. By removing excess water, the horse will be able to return to its normal temperature.

Benefits of Grooming Your HorseHow to Groom a Horse

The advantages of grooming your horse are numerous. Although you may view it as a routine activity, the quality time you spend with your horse while brushing them can actually be quite beneficial. Some of the key advantages of grooming your horse include:


Grooming Desensitizes Your Horse to Human Touch

Grooming may make a big difference in the training process, whether you’re working with a young horse, a rescue, or any horse that is a bit wary.

When you groom your horse, you can teach them that the human touch feels good, which will make them more accepting of it. When you groom a horse, you can also touch every part of their body, from the tip of their ears to the tip of their tail, to make sure they aren’t fearful of physical contact in particular places.

Grooming Lets You Inspect Your Horse For Injuries or Soreness

Grooming your horse before you ride allows you to inspect them for injuries or soreness before you hop on their back.

Be mindful of any injuries your horse may have and any possible reactions as you groom him. Your horse is most likely hurting in that place if they whimper whenever you groom that spot.

Grooming Massages Your Horse

When you use a curry comb to brush, you simulate various massage techniques. The circular motion exercises the horse’s muscles and promotes circulation or muscle relaxation.

This is why you may notice your horse stretching their neck up when you use the curry comb; it feels good to them and it’s probably helping to relieve some of the tension built up in the muscle!

Grooming Keeps Your Horse Clean

One of the most obvious benefits of grooming your horse is it gives you an opportunity to clean your horse. Remove dirt and mud patches before placing tack or blankets on the horse to prevent uncomfortable rubbing by the saddle or blanket.

You should also regularly groom your horse to maintain a sense of cleanliness. There are fungal and bacterial infections horses can get from dirt, mud, and guck covering their coats or packing in their hooves.

Thrush is a common infection that affects the horse’s hooves. Fungus forms in the horse’s hooves and will eat away at the hoof wall and the sole of the hoof. Cleaning your horse’s hooves frequently can help prevent this.

Grooming Allows You To Spend Time With Your Horse

Grooming your horse provides an opportunity to spend time with your horse other than just sitting on their back and riding. Horses learn at ground level by repetition; this means the more you interact with them on the ground and the more they see you, the more familiar and fond of your presence they’ll become.

Grooming allows you to interact with your horse and communicate with them without demanding anything from them. So often, all our horses know us for is constantly asking something from them. Grooming gives both you and your horse a chance to relax.

How Frequently Should I Bathe My Horse?

Ideally, you should groom your horse at least once a day. By grooming your horse regularly, you can inspect for injuries, clean their coat and hooves to prevent fungal issues. If daily grooming is not possible, a daily visual inspection is still essential.

Horses living in pasture 24/7 may sustain unnoticed injuries if not checked daily For the health of your horse, have someone lay eyes on them regularly.

Thank you for reading 8 (How to Groom a Horse: Complete Guide) , and good luck grooming your horse! Explore more horse care tips in the following articles:


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How to Groom a Horse: Complete Guide

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