Fall is a beautiful time of year. The leaves on the trees are changing and a crisp autumn breeze means that our horses are feeling their oats and playing in their pastures. Unfortunately the changing weather and the freeze-thaw cycle also means that our dry lots and pastures turn into a muddy mess. If your horse loves playing in the mud on cool fall days, then you know what a chore horse grooming can become. Keep reading to learn our tried-and-true ways to get mud off your horse, as well as what should be in your grooming kits for horses.
Wait for the Mud to Dry
Wet mud can be almost clay-like. When you go to brush it off, it won’t flake off like most other dirt and debris. Instead, wet mud gets smushed deeper into the hair coat and clogs all of your brushes. Wait for the mud to dry before horse grooming, as it will crumble off, much like dust, instead of becoming mushed deeper into the hair coat.
Unfortunately, we can’t always wait. If you have a lesson to get to or you’re in a time crunch and you need to get on and ride, you’ll have to get as much mud out of the hair coat as possible without waiting for it to dry. In this situation, it’s time to skip the brushes and reach for a spray-on product and a towel. Without a product to suds up and clean the hair coat, a curry comb could be painful to use on wet muddy skin.
After you’ve used a rinse-less coat cleaning spray, follow up with a stiff brush to smooth out the hair coat. Using a stiff brush prevents the hair from drying in waves or curls. Finally, end with a nice rub down with a clean dry towel to encourage the hair coat to dry and to remove any leftover dirt.
Some horse owners add hair dryers to their grooming kits for horses. A hair dryer or similar speeds the drying time of the mud and fluffs up the hair coat so you can more easily remove the dirt. However, not all horses appreciate getting their hair blown out… It’s very important to enlist the help of a trainer when using a blow dryer on your horse for the first time. To avoid scalding your horse’s skin, only use the hair dryer on a cool setting.
Use a Heavy-Duty Curry Comb
The right curry comb will make your horse grooming much easier. A good curry comb is easy to grip and has prongs that are inflexible enough to break through the crust of mud, but soft enough so as not to irritate your horse’s skin. If you use a curry comb with prongs that are too flexible, you will have to push down aggressively on your horse to get all the mud out. Not only will your arm get tired much faster, but your horse will most likely not appreciate the extra pressure.
The TuffRider Horse Groomer has a simple, minimalist design that prioritizes function over fashion. Thick rubber nodules are designed to easily remove mud from your horse’s coat, while also distributing the pressure over a broader surface area. The quality handle on the back is designed to be big enough for all equestrians to use. Plus, this curry comb fits perfectly into your palm, making it the perfect size to get into all the nooks and crannies of your horse’s legs and back.
If you have a thick-skinned horse who loves to spend all day in a mud puddle, you’ll appreciate the Great Grip Spring Curry when it’s time for horse grooming. This metal curry comb has a soft, ergonomically designed handle for ultimate comfort no matter how long it takes you to groom off all that mud. One side of the curry comb is smooth for horses who don’t really appreciate horse grooming. The other side features aggressive prongs to really make it easy to get off any and all mud.
Whichever option you choose, a great curry comb should be a staple for all grooming kits for horses.
Followed By a Stiff Brush
After you’ve curried your horse’s entire body, the mud will loosen and rise to the surface of the hair coat. Following the curry comb with a good stiff brush is essential when it comes to horse grooming. A stiff brush uses lots of plastic or horse hair bristles to flick the loosened dust and mud off every hair of your horse’s coat.
The Lettia Mud Brush earned its name for its ability to come in handy in grooming kits for horses who like to roll in the mud. With plastic bristles, the Mud Brush is designed to be long-lasting and effective. If you appreciate adding a little bit of extra style to your grooming kit, you’ll enjoy the look and feel of the wood backing of this brush. The extra height also creates a great flicking motion.
If you prefer to have a handle on your brushes to make them easier to grip, the Lettia Body Brush is a good option. This handy little brush features plastic bristles with a plastic backing available in either blue, purple, or green. A tough black nylon strap extends over the back of the brush and makes for the perfect grip.
Deep Clean without Water
For those times when your horse is truly a muddy mess, having the ability to deep clean your horse without using the hose is a great advantage. Especially over the winter months when it’s too cold to bathe, having a spray-on product can help keep your horse clean when traditional methods of horse grooming aren’t working.
Lincoln’s Total Groom provides deep cleaning without water or mess. This spray removes dirt, stains, and grease, including grass stains. It keeps on working even after your horse is clean by repelling dirt and stains, and moisturizing and conditioning the hair coat.
To use Total Groom, all it takes is a rag and some elbow grease. You can start by brushing your horse if you would like, but it’s not strictly necessary. Spray Total Groom onto the muddy areas of your horse’s coat and work into a lather using a towel. Wipe off any excess suds with a clean cloth and repeat the process as many times as necessary.
After you’re done working out the mud and stains, take a fresh towel or cloth and rub down your horse’s coat one last time to fluff the coat and encourage it to dry faster.
After Horse Grooming…
Standing around in mud all day weakens your horse’s dermal barrier. When the skin barrier is waterlogged and soft, it makes it easier for bacteria, fungi, and parasites to enter the skin and cause painful dermatologic conditions, like scratches or rain rot. When your horse comes in muddy from the pasture, what you do after you get the mud off is just as important as how you get the mud off.
After horse grooming, apply a soothing ointment that will nourish the skin barrier and create a protective antibacterial barrier, for example, Lincoln Muddy Buddy Ointment. Pay close attention to your horse’s heels and lower legs. These areas are most at risk for developing skin conditions as mud tends to collect in the cup of the heel. Plus, depending on how muddy the pasture is, the lower leg is less likely to have a chance to dry out and is more frequently exposed to wet ground.
The Muddy Buddy ointment is a great addition to all grooming kits for horses. This antibacterial ointment contains sulfur, and protects the skin barrier from wet conditions. Formulated to be used prior to turnout, Muddy Buddy ointment allows you to turn your horse out to pasture worry-free, no matter the weather.
Grooming Kits for Horses Who Love to Roll in the Mud
If you’re the owner of a horse who loves to roll in mud puddles, having a great grooming kit is a requirement. Grooming kits for horses who love to roll in the mud consist of all the horse grooming supplies you could ever need, and plenty of fresh clean rags or towels.
Here’s what we think should be in your grooming kits for horses:
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