Read these 88 Grooming and Shoeing Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Horse tips and hundreds of other topics.
First collect the necessary items: show sheen, old nylon stockings, electrician's tape, tail bag, scissors.
Clean & wash & rinse & condition the tail. Spin until Dry. Spray thoroughly with Show Sheen. Using only your fingers, comb the tail making sure that all tangles are completely worked out of the tail. Once fully dry you can begin to braid!
Take a pair of pantyhose (preferrably full of runs~!). Place the panty section at the top of the braid. Use the legs as you would a section of braid. Divide the tail in half, or thirds if it is exceptionally thick. Using the nylon sections, braid in from top to bottom the nylon sections in with the hair sections of the tail. Once finished braiding to the very end of the tail, secure the bottom of the braid with electrician's tape.
Take the bottom of the braid and fold upwards towards the back of the horse, pulling the end through the braid about 1" below the dock. Repeat this feed through process until the braided section is about 12" long. It is fine to continue to feed through at the same place 1" below the dock. Once completed, you may have two loops overtop of each other, or you may have five loops, it will all depend on the length of your horse's tail!
Now take electrician's tape and secure the tail loops at the top about 2" below the top loop through the base of the dock, and then about 2" above the bottom of the loops.
Pull the panty section at the top of the tail down over the braids & secure at the bottom with electrician's tape.
Slide a Tail Bag (preferably nylon) over the top of the nyloned braid & run the tab through the top of the braid, below the dock but above your braid loops. Taking electrician's tape, secure the top of the bag over the tab, making sure that it won't pull off!
During the winter, using this method, I leave the tail wrapped up as long as possible. If your horse is getting the bag very, very dirty, then repeat the entire process as often as is necessary. Each time you take the braid down, replace the pantyhose with a clean (but runned up) pair~!
Happy Tails To YOU!
If you want to give the polish a better adherance, then use a fine sandpaper to lightly remove the stains caused from manure and past arena surfaces. Once sanded, use cotton soaked in nailpolish remover to remove the dust particles. Then use soap and water to remove the polish remover. Allow the hooves to dry thoroughly (overnight) before applying the polish.
Personally, I am not against zapping the annoying little @#$@$@ with chemicals, and I have found that Farnam's "Wipe" has always worked for me....in the south, and the PNW.
But, for those that are allergic, or for owners that don't like trusty chemicals, there is a remedy that actually works!
So here goes, mix in a fly spray bottle in these ratios:
1/4 bottle Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 bottle Water (hose/tap type is great...U aren't drinking it!)
1/2 bottle White Vinegar
Make SURE to shake well before each spraying. Being all natural, spray until wet. Feed morning grain/hay AFTER spraying so horse can dry before being Turned Out for the day; and then TO for the day free of flies, and mosquitoes!
On a daily basis, especially in the months that your horse may be blanketed, or subjected to winter weather elements, you should be daily grooming.
Start with a rubber grooma (or curry comb). Deep massage all over generating that hair & dead skin to come to the surface. Follow this with a somewhat stiff body brush. Finish with a soft face brush all over his body. Using the grooma where he can't get to such as around the backs/insides of the rear legs, under the belly, the neck, ears, face, chest will develop his love for you that not many other things can compete with! Don't forget to pick his feet! Pick his feet at least 2X daily in the winter months!
ESPECIALLY IN MOIST/WET CLIMATES!!!!!
During the winter/or rainy months, help out your horse, and your farrier, by making sure to pick out thoroughly your horses' feet. Picking up every one of the feet in a systematic order on a daily regular basis (this should be done a minimum of 2X daily). Add to this routine, your entry & exit from Riding (making it necessary in the Winter/Rainy months to pick out the feet at least 4X daily!
Prevention is worth it's weight in gold, and an ounce of prevention is worth millions in Vet/Farrier bills!
This all depends on the type of mane and condition; and the climatic conditions of your area.
I prefer to wash the mane/tail in dish soap, then rinse in white vinegar, and then rinse again with Mane/Tail Conditioner. Dry. When 7/8 dry, spray to soak with Show Sheen (I place towels under the mane on the neck; and under the tail over the back legs).
When Dry, then I put the tail up (see Tips in Grooming); and the mane, I only comb out with my fingers WHEN I HAVE THE TIME TO fully SEPARATE ALL OF THE HAIR. Otherwise, I leave it alone.
If you use a hood, make sure that you take it off every day for at least two hours, and make sure to curry the neck well, to keep the circulation moving in this area.
When soaking hoofs for abcess due to laminitis, add Lavander essential oil along with Epsom Salts. A teaspoon of Lavander oil to a gallon of warm water.
Helps the horse relax, and also acts as an analgesic to help sooth pain. When I did this for my own horse, it was the first time she just kept her hoof in the water and after about 20 minutes she was almost asleep.
Braces & Liniments as Deep Muscle Therapy after/before workouts (& YOUR HORSE WILL LOVE YOU 4 IT~!) I mix according to the directions, only sufficient amount for each time, and mix with HOT WATER to increase muscle relaxation.
Before Workouts: Mist from a Spray Bottle all down the neck, the back, the hip, the legs...front & back, the underline, the chest. Cover with a cooler. Mist the lower leg lightly. Wrap the lower legs with Polo Wraps. Let stand about 15 minutes, or long enough to properly clean tack & prepare for riding!
After Workouts: Sponge on liberally. Cover with a cooler. Fresh wrap Polo Wraps. Clean Tack.
Remove Cooler & if damp, put on a light cotton sheet under the blanket. Cotton is a ventilated fabric, allowing heat to escape, and the dampness to evaporate.
How To Apply Leg Poultice:
Mix up poultice mixture.
Cold hose leg, removing all debris, dirt, sweat.
Smear Poultice mixture generously below knee to ankle.
Wrap leg with either saran wrap, brown paper (from bags) being careful not to wrinkle/crease the wrapping.
Overwrap with a leg wrap.
Secure with a standing bandage.
Be sure to rinse all legs thoroughly with cold water when removing the poultice material.
Never leave on more than 12 hours, unless told to do so in that specific application by a Veterinarian.
To properly cool out your horse. He should be walked (either ridden or by hand) for at least 10 to 20 minutes after exercise, depending upon the level of exertion that he has utilized.
During walking, put a cooler on your horse. (Please check out our Tips for inexpensive alternatives to pricey coolers).
After walking, put the horse in the cross ties, or stall tie, or stalled, which ever works best for your horse. Mix 1/10 parts HOT water to green cool, vetroline or absorbine type product. Mix in a spray bottle. Once mixed, spray his entire body with a mist. Be sure to completely cover his entire body, and soak the areas of deep muscles (hip, legs, shoulders, back, crest of neck). Put on a light stable cotton sheet. Put regular stable blanket(s) over top. Retire to bed or paddock w/a handful of cut up carrots or apple pieces! He will LOVE you for this time off for GREAT BEHAVIOUR!
DO NOT FORGET, when your horse is blanketed, he has GOT to be groomed daily, or the build up of dead hair may make him sweat, and 'cause the hair to accumulate and attach like a pelt to the inside of the sheet/blanket, even to the point of sometimes removing a layer of skin with the blanket!
Each crack requires individual analysis with regard to the corrective treatment and shoeing. The general principle is to have the farrier or blacksmith use a toe clip on each side of the crack across it to prevent wall expansion and to lower the wall below the crack so it will not bear weight causing spreading of the crack. Plastics can be used to seal the crack and corrective staples can be used to prevent expansion and contraction of the crack during movement of the horse.
The best ingredient to encourage hair growth is Farrier's Formula. This will encourage the Clydes to become wild and woolly with hair.
To whiten, use first dish detergent concentrated on the legs, only the white areas. Do two shampoos/rinses.
In the third Shampoo, use a Color Treated Shampoo for Whites or Greys (from the Beauty Supply) and add a tablespoon of Mrs. Stewart's Blueing to the Shampoo Mixture. Since it is for Horses, increase the ratio of the soap content.
Use conditioner as required.
If the horse is not going to be shown, in the final conditioner rinse; add an eighth of a cup of Baby Oil to the conditioning rinse. Make the rinse conditioner mixture: 3 parts conditioner to 8 parts water, with an eighth of a cup of baby oil. Leave in. The Baby Oil will help the hair to NOT absorb the dirt and manure that the horse walks through on a daily basis.
With the oil, shampoo, only as it feels as though the oil is drying out of the coat; unless you need to shampoo for a show.
A handy reference pamphlet called Horse Foot Care by Dr. Doug Butler ASIN: 0916992047 Go to Products, and there is a link to Amazon, and this ASIN # will link you to the book. Just Cut/Paste the ASIN# link.
This book is a pictoral of the proper way to pick up each of the horse's feet to ensure that you are not stepped on or kicked.
Do you own a White, Grey, Palomino, Buckskin, Pinto that you would like to keep stain free from urine, manure, grass, etc.?
Simply add 1/4 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar to the daily grain ration. The stains will brush right off of the coat once they have dried.
That means that if you arrive at the barn, and your horse has slept in his droppings, or had a nap during the day at pasture, once the moisture from those stains has dried, the stain will easily brush from the coat with any market body brush.....no need to use a dandy brush, or a mud brush, a simple body or face brush will do the trick! No need to "body wrap" those light colored horses any more!
If you want to give the polish a better adherance, then use a fine sandpaper to lightly remove the stains caused from manure and past arena surfaces. Once sanded, use cotton soaked in nailpolish remover to remove the dust particles. Then use soap and water to remove the polish remover. Allow the hooves to dry thoroughly (overnight) before applying the polish. For an added gloss in painting the feet, apply a coat of clear hoof gloss over top of the black gloss, once the black gloss has had time to thoroughly dry first. Always paint white hooves with the clear, even if they are two or multistriped. Apply black to the black areas, and clear to the white areas. This really does present a more natural effect.
Start the braid at the base of the dock. Simply braid as you would your own hair. Use a "braiding elastic band" on the end. Take the elastic end and bring it through the braid about three inches below the dock (tail bone). Repeatedly looping the elastic end through the braid, only three or so inches below the dock. You do not have to use a new location ever time you loop through. When finished, you will have up to three loops of the braid. Keep each loop no longer than the length of the dock itself, once you have finished.
You can use an old pair of ladies pantyhose (cut off one of the legs...save the other leg for another time). Draw the pantyhose leg up over the braid.
I use Electrical tape at the bottom (but duct tape works great too), below the finished braid end to secure the pantyhose (at first you may want to secure the pantyhose off of the braid before taping with an elastic band); and then I use Electrical tape at the top of the braid, but MAKE SURE THAT THE TAPE IS NOT ON THE DOCK OF THE TAIL, and wrap it securely overtop of the pantyhose.
When you go to ride, take the braided/pantyhosed tail and fold it onto the top or bottom of the dock of the tail. Take a tail bandage, and securely, but loosely, wrap the braided part of the tail to the dock of the tail. This will keep your horse's tail up so that it is no longer than the dock.
When using hoof polish, apply when readying for the ring; after all warm-ups. Each coat of polish takes 15/20 minutes to dry thoroughly. For an added gloss in painting the feet, apply a coat of clear hoof gloss over top of the black gloss, once the black gloss has had time to thoroughly dry first. Always paint white hooves with the clear, even if they are two or multistriped. Apply black to the black areas, and clear to the white areas. This really does present a more natural effect.
Look for any changes in gait, extension, placement after shoeing in horses done by a particular Farrier.
When prospecting a Farrier, go and view several horses at different locations that he has shod. Ask the owners for their comments and if they noticed any changes. Good & Bad.
Ask Local Veterinarians (or the staff) if they can recommend Farriers.
Ask recommendations from particular disciplines similar to what you are wanting to compete with your horse at.
Contact Farrier Schools (the school however often will only say whether or not a student passed the course and is certified).
Ask the Farrier, when & where he/she attends clinics or seminars or further training. Ask where they received their education and experience. Ask for Trade References.
Be Sure You & Your Horse Are Happy, even simply throwing shoes before the 6-8 wk. reshoe is often the result of sloppy/incorrect shoeing!
Stumbling can be for many reasons. The most prevalent are:
a) Improper shoeing or trimming.
b) Hooves are too long in length. (When trimmed should not exceed 4" in length from the coronet band to the sole; unless, long footed Show Horses in a Show Barn~!)
c) Lazy, unattentive horse.
d) Imbalance in diet, ie: too high protein content, and causing a "Protein Drunk" effect.
Regular exercise on a daily basis is necessary for the horse to keep the blood circulating; the digestive tract operating smoothly; the circulatory system functioning; and the muscle condition toned.
In the wild, horses spend almost equal amounts of time running from predators, grazing, resting.
In order for the design of their internal systems, they should be fed regularly, exercised daily, hoofs trimmed regularly, shots & wormings done regularly.
Soak the foot in HOT epsom salts & water, to encourage drainage & disinfecting the opening. Apply a germicide to kill the bacteria (preventing further infection) and dry out the wound opening with packing materials (such as DRY J Cloths). Pack with a poulticing material to assist in drainage. Change at least daily after the first 3/4 days. Have the Farrier apply a Pad between the hoof & shoe (if required or necessary).
Weanlings can be shod, but it is recommended that you remove the shoes off of weanlings, yearlings and 2 yr. olds from November through March in order to provide some relief; BUT/and except if the horse has such soft feet that further damage would result from having the shoes removed.
Horse's feet should be trimmed every 6 - 8 wks. unless under recommendation from a Veterinarian to do so differently (usually due to the wearing of Therapeutic Shoes).
Horses under three years should be trimmed every 4 wks. due to the rapid growth of hoof, and the necessity of their hoof maintaining balance & shape.
The hoof must be trimmed to maintain balance, & the function of the hoof.
The design of the Horse's Hoof is to support the weight of the body, resist wear, replenish/grow, absorb shock/concussion (saving the leg), provide traction.
The hoof requires sufficient moisture (such as oil, balsam, pine tar) and exercise to increase circulation of blood. Hooves must be trimmed regularly.
Usually horses that bruise easily should wear pads between the hoof & the shoe. Be sure ALWAYS that if your horse wears pads, that the flooring in his paddock, stall & elsewhere do not get wet enough that the moisture can come between the pad & the sole of the hoof!
Braces/Liniments stimulate circulation & temporarily increase inflammation.
The Increased circulation flushes out toxins & bring in a surplus of healthy blood cells & oxygen which are necessary for restoration & superficial treatment of muscles, tendons, ligaments.
A Farrier First Aid Kit within your barn should include the following items:
Hoof Pick w/brush attachment.
Hoof Oil, Balsam or Pine Tar and an applicator brush.
Koppertox or Kopper Kare.
Easy Boot or Poultice Boot.
There is no alternative in this life that substitutes for a daily full and complete brushing with a curry, then a stiff bristle brush, then a soft body/face brush and finally with a towel finish that can be coated with a fly spray. Supplements to the diet will help good grooming, but nothing will replace it in the overall look of your horse. Remember time spent with your horse that is not "performance" oriented, but is TLC, is valued tremendously by your horse, and can be rewarded by your horse by his performances in the ring for you.
Some Clipping Tips:
1) Clean the Horse first (preferably a soap bath, once dry, spray with Show Sheen.
2) Clean clippers, blades, towels, clipper kool, clipper oil, blade wash, extension cord, step stool, and an assistant.
3) Either chalk or masking tape pattern on the horse's body first. Saddle areas, use a patterned pad (ie: AP or CC or Dressage). Other clips, premark the length of your blanket on the sides, chest, front and the rear legs. Try not to clip below this line (except the belly area you will have to).
4) Apply bands to the mane area below the bridle path, and put a tail wrap on the top of the tail.
5) Step back and walk around, making sure that all areas are even...front (both sides) and back (both sides) and sides.
6) Clip seasoned horses in the sensitive areas first while the clippers are cool. Once they begin to get warm, then clip in the heavier muscled areas and the bridle path region.
7) Have coolers to cover clipped areas while you work.
The best instrument is a Hoof Pick with a brush attached. You apply pressure by gripping the back of the lower part of the leg you want to pick up. As the horse lifts the leg to move it, you pick it up by using the near side hand to come from between the two legs, and cup the ankle in your near side hand. Using the offside hand, brush the dirt & debris from the hoof. Using the pointed pick section, scrape the remainder of the dirt from the hoof. Make sure to completely clean the frog area (diamond shaped area at the back of the foot on the bottom), and the bars of the frog that run through the sole of the hoof on the bottom. These are the two areas most prone to hoof problems, and should be cleaned out at least on a once a day basis.
You don't need to put shoes on horses unless they are damaging or wearing the feet down and that necessitates shoes being put on. If they have tough and hard feet, then shoes shouldn't be necessary.
If the foot starts to spread in width at the base, in such a manner as to become splay footed, or chips, or cracks, or bruises, then you must shoe the horse.
With fall upon us, most areas the show season is closing...I guess south of the Equador, things are just getting started, but Horse Tips focus' is on coordinating North of the Equador.
So start practising NOW for the 2001 Show Season. Can you, or do you know someone that French Braids?
Have them sit on your horse, (utilizing carrots, cut the carrots into 1" sections, and feed him/her while your friend FRENCH BRAIDS his/her mane from the forlock back down to the wither. The mane must be VERY thinned down, yet not quite as short as for a regular braided mane. This type of braiding, if done correctly LOOKS ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC finished. You have got to sit on the horse at the top of the wither to do it in order to have it run perfectly straight down the mane. So GET PRACTISING NOW FOR SPRING!!!!!!
A hoof abscess is a pus pocket of infection within the hoof. Usually within the sole or white line region.
Usually results from punctures, thrush, bruising or laminitis.
Any opening within the sole or the white line region, or a unnatural expansion of hoof will allow bacteria to enter the hoof and form an abscess.
Ground seepage moisture, rain, etc. is damaging to horse's hooves. Hoof Oil, Balsam or Pine Tar is beneficial to Horses' Hooves due to the adding of the oil acting as a preventative to the damage from water moistures. Depending upon the situation, hoof oil should be applied at least once a day to prevent against rain, humidity or sand surfaces.
Hoof Oils also protects the hoof from damaging drying surfaces such as sand
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is made up of the fossilized shells of microscopic sea creatures. Over time, it fractures and basically becomes the equivalent of miniature fragments of broken glass. Food grade DE is harmless to larger creatures, including all mammals, but it is lethal to insects like flies and ticks.
DE can be used two ways to aid in fly and tick control. Lightly dusted over your horse’s coat, it will act as a repellant. It doesn’t take much, a light dusting is all. If you are creating a cloud of white powder, that is too much. One way to apply DE is to fill an old sock and gently tap it all over the horse.
Diatomaceous earth works because it is very sharp and abrasive. As an insect comes into contact, the sharp edges slice at the insect’s exoskeleton. The small pieces also work their way into exposed areas, like joints and other soft parts. This isn’t an instant killer, but it usually leads to death for the flies and ticks. Not only does it keep them off the horse, but any that do land on your horse will be killed, helping, at least a little bit, to population control.
This won’t necessarily stop the flies from landing on your horse, but they won’t stay long enough to bite or sting. Ticks are a little tougher than flies, but a regular program of applying DE should keep new ticks from becoming attached and should eventually kill any existing ticks.
DE can also be added to feed to control parasites. As an added benefit to this organic worming program, it is passed unabsorbed through the digestive system and is deposited in the horse’s manure, where it keeps all of its abrasive properties. Flies that land on the manure are injured and killed. It can also help prevent fly larvae from growing in the manure in the first place. All of this will drastically reduce the fly population.
One very important note: Be sure to buy food grade DE. The DE sold as pool filtering material, for example, has been heat processed and is toxic to animals and humans when eaten.
This is more of an aggravating problem, and can only be dangerous, if stemming from faulty shoeing/trimming, or if from a "Protein Drunk". The shoeing problem can be corrected by inquiring from others as to farriers that have corrected the problem in other horses. The "Protein" high, needs IMMEDIATE diet remedy~!