How to Take Care of Your Horse

Brown and white horse being groomed with body brush
Project Overview
  • Working Time: 30 mins - 1 hr
  • Total Time: 30 mins - 1 hr
  • Skill Level: Beginner

While brushing your horse, try to form a relationship with him. Taking care of your horse's coat, hooves, and hair gives you a chance to check for injuries or irritations. Grooming should be done on a daily basis, although it is required before riding. Grit under the saddle, girth, or will make your horse uncomfortable and may cause saddle or girth sores.

Preparing to Groom Your Horse

Gather and store your grooming supplies in a handy and secure location. Although there are several grooming boxes on the market that keep your equipment tidy and available, a large bucket may be the cheapest and easiest way to store your brushes.

If you sit your bucket or box too close to your horse, he can knock it over, or you might trip over it as you go past him. Use cross ties or a to tether the horse securely and safely.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Curry comb or grooming mitt
  • Body brush with fairly stiff bristles
  • Mane and tail comb (plastic causes less breakage than metal)
  • Fine soft bristled finishing brush
  • Hoof pick
  • Scissors or clippers (optional)


  • Clean sponge or soft cloth
  • Grooming spray (optional)
  • Hoof ointment if recommended by your farrier (optional)

  1. Clean Your Horse's or Pony's Hooves

    Slide your hand down the left foreleg. Squeeze the back of the leg along the tendons just above the pastern and say "up," "hoof," or whatever word your horse responds to.

    Holding the hoof, pry out any mud, dung, or grit lodged in the frog or sole of the foot using the hoof pick. Examine the hoof for any injuries or evidence of thrush, greasy heel, or other abnormalities, as well as any in the wall, so you may talk with the farrier about what needs be done. Return the foot to the ground gently and repeat until all four feet are done.
  2. Curry Your Horse or Pony

    To release the dirt in your horse's coat, start on the left side, or "offside," using your curry comb or grooming mitt. Before attempting to polish your horse's coat, remove any dirt, grit, dust, or other debris.

    Curry all over the horse's body in circular strokes, but avoid the bony parts of the shoulders, hips, and legs. Many horses are wary of being rubbed on their bellies and between their rear legs (although some love it). If your horse reacts to the brushing by laying back his or swishing his tail in irritation, he's telling you it's too forceful.

    Look for any skin blemishes or sores during currying. Whether you discover anything, analyze the damage to see if it can be treated at home or if you need to see a veterinarian.
  3. Comb out the Tangles

    A flowing, shiny mane and tail are a joy to behold. Get that full, healthy look by being gentle and patient as you groom your horse's mane or tail.

    Begin at the bottom of the strands using a mane comb or brush and work your way down in portions until you can comb smoothly from top to bottom. Stand to one side and gently draw the tail over to you when brushing the horse's tail, ensuring sure you're out of the way if the horse kicks.

    A detangling hair grooming spray is useful since it helps brushing out lengthy strands simpler while also cleansing, shining, and preserving the hair. Between groomings, a brushing spray can help keep the hair from tangling too much.
  4. Use the Body Brush to Whisk Away Dirt

    After currying the body to get rid of the coarser dirt, it's time to go to work with a body brush. This longer-bristled, stiff brush will get rid of what the curry comb missed.

    Using the body brush, remove any dirt that has surfaced. Begin on one side and work your way around the horse in sweeping strokes in the direction of hair growth. Some individuals prefer the body brush to the curry comb for washing their legs. Check for lesions and skin irritations on the legs, knees, and pasterns, such as tiny cuts and nicks, or even issues like greasy heel during this time.
  5. Use the Finishing Brush

    If you don't have a particular brush for your horse's or pony's face, a finishing brush with shorter, softer bristles will help bring out the shine in his or her coat.

    Dust should be gently brushed away from your horse's face, ears, and throat. Sweep away any dust missed by the body brush with sweeping strokes. The finer bristles smooth out the body hair, giving your horse a more polished and shiny appearance.

    When you think you are done, apply a grooming spray. Depending on the type, these can provide sun protection and add shine to your horse’s coat, but they aren't necessary.


    If you plan to ride after grooming, you must be aware that some grooming products may make the hair slippery and could cause your saddle to shift. Try to avoid application to the saddle area.
  6. Clean the Ears, Eyes, Muzzle, and Dock Area

    You've cleaned your horse's body, mane, and so far; now it's time to detail. Wipe around the horse's eyes and muzzle with a moist sponge or soft cloth to remove any dirt or chaff. You may pick a soft cloth because it is easier to wash between usage.

    Check your horse's eyes at this stage. Tearing in the corner of the eye is usual, but excessive tearing, redness, or edema should be noted. must be treated as soon as possible.

    Check for seed heads or debris trapped in your ears. Because some horses are sensitive to having their ears handled, move carefully and avoid pinching or pulling hairs. Your horse may eventually enjoy having its ears brushed. When you've finished wiping the face, wipe the dock and tail head with the cloth.