Discussion in 'Horse Grooming' started by Horse Mimi, Jan 27, 2019.
All great info, thanks guys! I also wear a size 7, so that really helps.
Look what came in the mail todaaaaaay!
I’ll try them tomorrow!
My Haas Diva arrived today, and I am in love, not sure as I’ll actually be able to use it on Chuck....it’s to pretty!
I have a lot of natural bristle brushes, and have had the same ones for 32 years or more and I wash them - generally with WARM water and soap(Dawn dish soap works well), so they are 'sterilized' or at least very clean - once a week when I'm using them and they don't fall apart. One of them has a plastic body. The rest are leather body.
If someone's natural bristle brushes are 'falling apart when washed' then either they're very cheap, poorly made brushes, or the person doesn't know how to wash them. Read further for 'how to wash brushes.'
They're Stubben brushes. They have a leather back, natural bristles. They work fantastically well. Always have.
Okay. About this argument about natural bristle brushes. Look. In China, they used to brush their horses with a branchy twig. Yeah, a branchy twig. I tried it once, too. And in fact, it worked fairly well. So, you CAN brush your horse with just about anything you want, from plastic 'made in China' to 'natural boar bristles plucked from the back of a live wild hog by people with a not-so-mysteriously high mortality rate in Tibet.'
I've used a 3M green scrubber, a rubber (that's a rough cotton towel thing), a mecate (that's a scratchy rough woven thing made of rough plant fiber), a hacksaw blade, and other things.
What brushes MUST you have? It depends on what kind of brushing you're doing.
If you're the average horse owner, you show once a year or so at a local show, maybe a county fair. A day before the show your horse gets a cold water bath from a bucket at home, or maybe he gets a bath at the show a day or a few hours before you start riding in classes.
The rest of the time, he doesn't get bathed or brushed all that much. He spends most of his time in a pasture, and there's a fair amount of mud or dust most of the year. He doesn't get clipped or blanketed in the winter, and he doesn't get brushed or bathed unless for a show or other special occasion. He has a 'natural' coat, in other words.
Brushes? You have a plastic $2.00 curry comb, a soft fiber brush, and a brush called a 'dandy brush' - it's got stiff plastic fibers and plastic body, a plastic comb for his mane and tail, and maybe a 'scrubby' like a rubber/silicone 'Grooma.' And a plastic curry comb and a plastic hoof pick.
You'll happily lend those items to anyone who needs them. You'll use them on any other horse. You wash them - usually by spraying them with a hose - about once a year. Most of the time they're full of dirt and hair. They're kept in an open box in a dusty barn.
Basically, you 'knock the mud off.' You aren't worried if you can still see streaks of dirt or dandruff after you're done brushing. You're just getting the mud off so you can put the saddle on and ride. You're probably not too upset if there's still some mud on the animal's legs or his neck under his mane is a little dandruffy.
Every owner around you does pretty much the same. Y'all are doing the 'right' thing and y'all would laugh your heads off at anyone who did any different.
That's your average owner.
Maybe you're a bit fussier than average. Those same plastic brushes get hosed off more often, and you brush a little more often. Maybe you put a turnout sheet(single layer of cloth, probably with some waterproofing on it) on your horse when it's real muddy or wet out. And maybe he gets his mane and tail combed with that plastic comb, and he gets brushed up now and then before a trail ride or riding clinic or lesson. But you're pretty much doing the same as the average guy.
Well, there are other possibilities. Since horse grooming, like most other disorders, exists 'on a spectrum,' let me lead you by the hand to the top of the 'spectrum.'
You ride in 'recognized' or 'sanctioned' shows. You're in the expensive classes. You show English hunters with the people who train with 'Charlie' or 'Danny' or 'Missy'. In 'open' classes mostly dominated by Warmbloods and Thoroughbreds - not Quarter Horses or Paints or Arabian horses or Saddlebreds. Horses that cost more than $30,000.00 before they were even broke and trained. You go to Florida in the winters. You pay through the nosey to do so.
Your idols are people like George Morris. The guy who writes those critiques of riders riding, and says things like they should have a little tasteful brass name plate on their tack and has a fit if he sees a stray whisker left on the horse's muzzle.
Or maybe you're an eventer and your idol is 'Denny.' Or you're a dressage rider and your idol is 'Steffen.'
No matter which sport it is, if you're really into riding in these or a few other riding sports, you do a different kind of grooming.
So how does that look?
Well, you don't necessarily have a groom who does up the horses. But you groom differently.
Your horse has a slick, short, shiny coat all year because he gets body clipped and/or heavily blanketed starting early in fall. You can clip the fuzz off a ripe peach, you've done it so many times. You have your own set of big ole $500 horse clippers, and you get those blades sharpened by a professional or you buy a new pair of blades before you clip that horse.
Your horse has a stall, it gets cleaned every day, or maybe a couple times a day. You use a lot of bedding. A lot. Fluffy stuff. A lot of it.
Your horse gets turned out in a paddock that has limestone and sand in it and is made so water mostly drains off it. And goes out in a pasture - if that pasture is not too muddy or 'deep'(full of holes, or the horse sinking down into the mud where he could get hurt). Not so much to keep him clean(you already know you're going to keep him clean) but so he doesn't get his foot caught in a hole and injure a leg.
When your horse comes in from paddock or pasture, he gets his legs and belly hosed off. Every time.
Your horse gets rinsed off after a ride if it's warm enough(sponged off or walked with a wool blanket called a 'cooler' on, if it's cold out), but you don't bathe with soap 'more than once a week,' so the natural oils of the coat are kept
Your horse's mane (and maybe also his tail) gets braided for shows, so you have to groom daily but not break off any mane or tail hairs, so no plastic combs on either. In fact, you probably never comb or brush that tail. You probably wash it very carefully then 'pick' it instead - using only your fingers. Yeah, that takes a while.
Your horse has his own set of brushes, hoof pick and cloth 'rubbers' in a grooming box with a lid, and you would never use any of these on any other horse, not even the hoof pick. That's how diseases and parasites are spread around. So, no.
You paid some serious money for those brushes. Except for a mud brush, they're probably natural bristle brushes, probably imported from Germany, and they all have your name embossed on 'em and no one borrows them. And you know how to clean then, without damaging them, because you do it once a week, all year.
When you are done brushing your horse, you expect him to be CLEAN. What my friend calls 'By God, Clean as <bad word>.' You can push your fingers into his coat and push them against the lay of the hair, and then brush that spot down, and not see a single streak of dandruff anywhere on him.
Your brushes are never used on any other horse. Each horse, if you have more than one, has his own set of brushes. They are:
A mud brush. Used for mud. Longish, stiff plastic bristles, plastic body. Maybe you missed a spot when you hosed off the horse after he was outside.
A 'dandy' brush. Long stiff bristles, but probably natural bristles and a wood body.
Body brushes. The expensive kind. Oval leather body. Natural bristle. Horse hair, probably. They have very short bristles, and you have several. Because you need several. You have one with stiff hair, one with softer hair, and a real soft hair one.
A polisher. A sheepskin brush. Yeah, real sheepskin. Leather body. You only wash it in cold water and lanolin. Possibly a British 'rubber' made of woven cotton.
And of course, a mane comb, but no 'human hair brush' for the tail, or any other tail brush for that matter. Might pull a hair out.
A hoof pick. Also never used on another horse.
Possibly some rubber/silicone 'Grooma' type tool if you're into...well...cutting corners. Remember, your horse has a slick, short coat. Probably, it's your brushes, and that's it.
A hoof pick. Metal.
You have a metal or plastic curry comb, but not for your horse. You use it to clean your brushes, about every 10 strokes of the brush, while you're grooming your horse.
When you brush your horse, it is a full contact sport, it takes about an hour 'to do it right,' and you do it right once a day, and when you're done, you're sweating. A lot.
You start with the mud brush, if you missed any spots with the hose. When you start in with your brushes, you start with the dandy, then the stiffest body brush, then the medium stiff one, then the soft one. The whole time you use your brushes, you're cleaning them every ten strokes with the curry comb. You do every inch of the horse, obviously.
You do ten, OR PERHAPS TWELVE, strokes with each brush, IN ONE SPOT(about 6 inches wide and 12 inches long), short, vigorous strokes of the brush, and with every stroke, at the end there's a little upward 'flip' of the brush so the dandruff and dirt is pulled UP, out of the coat.
Then you scrub that brush like mad with the curry, and get all the dust out of the brush, then you rap that curry on the floor, to get the dust and dirt out of IT.
Then you move to the next spot, and do that again.
The whole time, the horse is standing there with his eyes closed, leaning in, enjoying the absolute heck out of it.
How do you clean natural bristle brushes with leather backs without ruining them?
Well ain't that the $50,000 question. lol.
You wash them with soapy WARM water. The curry comb -- or fingers -- work well for scrubbing them. Then you rinse and rinse and rinse and rinse, til long after you see no more bubbles or foam.
And here's the important part. Drying them. They air dry, leaned at an angle, bristle side DOWN(leaning the bottom edge against a wire so the bristles don't get bent over...), so all the water runs off and no moisture stays in them, until they are completely dry. Put 'em out in the direct sun on their backs? I've found that makes the leather back curl and the bristles fall out. You probably need to take them in the house, to a well ventilated area, set up a fan....
So, that's the spectrum.
Welcome to the horse world, dear.
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