Grooming Horse Care Young Rider

Why Grooming Your Horse Is Important

A young girl grooming her horse
Photo by Elizabeth Moyer

Grooming makes your horse look good, but the benefits go beyond skin deep. Here are some reasons why its important to keep up with regular grooming sessions.

Groom for Good Health

Grooming gets your horse clean and helps him feel more comfortable. All of your currying and brushing helps keep his skin healthy, massages the muscles and promotes circulation.

Regular daily grooming is also an excellent opportunity to keep track of your horse’s health. As you groom, you have a chance to inspect your horse closely from head to toe. You’ll get to know what’s normal for him so that you’ll notice immediately if something doesn’t seem right. You might find a lump or bump that wasn’t there before, spot a skin problem, or discover heat or swelling in a leg. You will be able to notice if he’s losing or gaining weight.

A young girl grooming her horse
Check for cuts and swelling while you groom to keep your horse in top health. Photo by Elizabeth Moyer

Attentive grooming lets you spot problems early and treat them before they become worse. In addition to grooming brushes and tools, be sure to use your hands to feel your horse’s body and legs. Your fingers are great for detecting cuts, swelling, skin irritation, soreness and other injuries that might not be easy to see.

It’s also important to groom especially well in areas where tack goes. Putting tack over dirt or dried sweat can cause painful sores or skin irritation.

If your horse wears a blanket or fly mask, these should be removed for daily grooming. You want to make sure all is well underneath and that these items are clean, fitting properly and not rubbing and causing hair loss or other injury.

Groom for a Good Relationship

Grooming is a great way to get to know your horse better and strengthen your bond. As you groom, watch how your horse responds. You’ll get to know what he likes best so that you can make grooming as comfortable as possible for him.

A young boy brushes his pony's face
Grooming helps forge a bond with your horse. Photo by Pirita/Shutterstock

Horses all have unique individual preferences. Some are very thin-skinned and sensitive, while others enjoy the firm pressure of a deep grooming with your stiffest brush. Horses may be ticklish in some areas, like around the girth, and have other spots where they enjoy being scratched and rubbed, such as the neck or withers.

Grooming allows you to see what kind of mood your horse is in before you get in the saddle. If he seems unusually fresh and frisky when you groom and tack up, you can expect a more energetic ride. You might even want to longe him or do groundwork before mounting up. And if your normally perky pony is acting dull or lethargic, he might not be feeling well.

Combing a mane
Take your time to enjoy grooming and you’ll see the benefits! Photo by Sari ONeal/Shutterstock

Good ground manners are important, and grooming is the perfect time to practice them with your horse. While you are grooming, you are teaching your horse what kind of behavior is acceptable.

Is he respecting your space? Does he respond to your request to shift his weight or step to the side? Through the grooming process, you can learn to handle your horse more effectively.

Grooming is more than a daily chore to hurry through. It offers so many amazing benefits to you and your horse if you take the time to notice.

This article about why grooming your horse is important appeared in the February 2021 Mini Digital issue of Young Rider magazine. Click here to subscribe!

Elizabeth Moyer

Elizabeth Moyer works in marketing and development for the United States Pony Clubs, Inc. She served as a longtime editor of Horse Illustrated and Young Rider. She is also the author of two Horse Illustrated Simple Solutions books on grooming and horse safety (BowTie Press). Moyer is a lifelong equestrian and horse lover. Prior to becoming part of the equine industry, she worked in advertising and is a graduate of the University of Colorado’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She lives in the beautiful bluegrass horse country of Kentucky with a pack of adopted Dachshunds.


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