How to Groom Horse || Quickly Before Riding Lesson

Dear Newb,

Hopefully you are not in a rush. You want to arrive early for your lesson so you have plenty of time to groom and get ready. Typically however grooming for a riding lesson, I don’t do an in depth grooming job, unless I have a lot of time to kill before the lesson. I would groom differently if it were my own horse and I was doing a thorough grooming session or if I was getting ready for a horse show.

When you do a quick pre-lesson grooming you want to make sure you cover all the basics, not skipping any as it can cause discomfort for the horse while he is being ridden. The horse may have rocks lodged in his hooves or still have dirt and grime rubbing against the saddle pad making the horse uncomfortable or worse than that creating sores.

You may also want to do a quick grooming because you want to get on as soon as possible to start warming your horse up for the lesson. Although as a beginner you will most likely not be at the stage of getting on the horse before your lesson to warm up.

Grooming Tools You Will Need:

  • Hoof Pick
  • Curry Comb
  • Med/Stiff Brush or Dandy Brush
  • Soft Brush or Body Brush


My Quick Pre-Lesson Grooming Procedure

Grab Your Hoof Pick.

Personally I like to start with the hoof pick and get the hooves out of the way. Scrape out all the packed mud and any rocks that may be stuck in the hooves.

Careful not to stab the frog as this is the more sensitive part of the hoof, though I find most horses have pretty tough frogs. Usually if the frog is really sensitive there is most likely a problem such as thrush.

I like to hold my hoof pick upside down and I scrape in the direction of heel toward the toe… away from me so I am less likely to get poop and dirt in my face.

Lastly I use the brush on the hoof pick to brush away the loosened dirt.


Grab Your Curry Comb.

I tend to ride horses that are sensitive… a.k.a thoroughbreds. With most horses I would use a normal curry comb, but when I ride a thoroughbred I usually try to find a softer jelly curry or a rubber grooming mitt. These tend to be a little more gentle on those “delicate flower” type horses.

Just make circles or sometimes I rub back and forth. The curry comb is used to loosen up shedding hair, dandruff, dirt, and whatever other nasty things the horse has rolled in.

I have found many horses have there own special itchy spot and if you can find it, you can use that for some quality bonding time. It’s so cute when they make faces because they love how it feels.

Caution: Avoid using on head and legs, as they don’t have muscle or fat for protection.


Grab Your Med/Stiff Brush or Dandy Brush

Time to brush off everything you loosened up with the curry comb.

You want to do short flicking strokes and you want to brush in the direction that the hair naturally lies. I start up at the top of the neck and work my way down and to the horses hind end.

I use this brush to also brush the horses mane and get any shaving out.

If I am grooming a sensitive horse I make sure that the brush I am using isn’t too stiff or hard. I also don’t tend to use this brush on the horses face or legs.


Grab Your Soft Brush or Body Brush

Now the horse is mostly finished being brush. The soft brush or body brush is used to get the finer dust and dirt off the horse and it creates a bit of a shine in the coat.

You want to do long strokes as well as brush in the direction that the hair naturally lies. Start at the neck and work your way back.

I use the soft brush to also brush the horses face and legs.


Use Your Fingers

The tail hairs take a long time to grow and brushes can pull out the hairs. It is not ideal to regularly be brushing the tail and pulling out hairs as it is obvious the horse’s tail will thin out over time. You can use your fingers to detangle and pick out hay and shavings.

With my own horses I did bi-weekly and sometimes weekly wash the tail and/or use detangler and brush it out, being careful not to rip hairs.


Now you are ready to start tacking up your horse.

I suppose if you really wanted to be lazy… or super quick with your grooming then you could just do hoof pick, curry comb and dandy brush. I don’t recommend slacking off like that, because it doesn’t instill great horsemanship, but that would be the absolute minimum. I am not going to lie I have done that before… I was running late for a lesson and had to be really quick. But I prefer to do a more thorough grooming.


Cheers and God Bless!



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