Giving your horse a good brushing isn't just to keep their coats shiny and clean. Grooming actually serves several very important purposes. Whether you only own one horse or you are someone who owns Ocala horse properties with an entire herd under your care, it is important that you groom every horse on a regular basis. Ideally, every horse should be groomed every day. Here are a few reasons why.
Get Them Clean
This is the most obvious purpose of grooming. Brushing down your horse removes dirt and dust from his coat, leaving him shiny and clean again. But getting him clean isn't only important for the sake of his good looks. Clumps of dirt or mud in a horse's coat can actually lead to cuts and sores if you ride him without grooming him properly.
If your horse has even a small clump of dirt in the hair of his saddle area, the saddle will rub against this clump as you ride. This can grind the hard particles of dirt against your horse's skin and leave him with a sore or open wound--one that easily could have been avoided by simply spending a few minutes giving a proper grooming.
One important part of grooming your horse is to pick out his hooves. Dirt and small stones can collect in the bottom of the hooves inside of the horseshoe. It is important that you clean these out every day. Small stones that get wedged against the frog of your horse's hoof (that's the fleshy, heart-shaped section on the bottom of the hoof) can cause your horse a lot of pain. If ignored for too long, these little stones can cause him to limp or even become lame if sores develop.
Additionally, if mud collects and is allowed to stay in your horse's feet, it can cause excess moisture to seep into the hoof. Too much moisture can lead to weak hooves and other serious issues. By grooming and picking out your horse's feet daily, you can make sure their feet stay healthy.
Check for Injuries
Horses can often injure themselves when out in their pastures. Whether they're kicked by another horse or cut themselves on a piece of stray wire, they can often come into the barn with cuts and scratches on various parts of their bodies. Some of these you may notice right away. Others, such as injuries low on their legs, may be harder for you to spot.
Grooming your horse forces you to get up close and inspect every part of your horse's flesh, from his withers to his hooves and everywhere in between. This up-close time will allow you to spot and treat injuries early on, so they don't become infected.
Build a Bond
In the wild, horses actually participate in grooming activities with one another. They will scratch each other's necks and withers with their teeth, and use their tails to flick flies off of herd members' backs. These simple grooming acts are a part of natural herd behavior and help to develop a bond between the animals.
By grooming your horse every day, you are acting as part of the animal's herd. You are building a bond with them in a way that they instinctively understand, and this can help to build respect and trust between you and your horse. The more often you groom, the stronger the bond will be.
As you can see, grooming is a vital part of horse ownership, and you should perform this task as often as possible. If you run a boarding stable or have many horses on Ocala horse properties, then consider hiring an extra hand to ensure every horse gets the grooming they need.
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