Horse Grooming Tips and Tools

Horse Grooming Tips and Tools

Grooming our horses is time well spent. It helps make them beautiful, teaches them manners, and promotes relaxation of both horse and human.


Grooming our horses is time well spent. It helps make them beautiful, teaches them manners, and promotes relaxation of both horse and human. Over time, every horse owner adds to his or her own bag (or tote) of tricks. To collect the best horse-grooming secrets, we went to the experts: You! Here are some of our favorite grooming tips and tools from our Facebook fans:

  • Good nutrition. Leah Brownfield pointed out that the foundation of a glistening coat comes from the inside. “Quality feed, and if needed, supplements, and regular deworming is the key to a truly healthy coat,” she said. That’s a great place to start.
  • Coconut oil. Ginger No uses the über-moisturizing coconut oil to manage her horse’s mane and tail. “(It) makes knots slip out and helps prevent breakage,” she wrote. Bonus: Coconut oil is a natural antifungal and antibacterial, and it smells really good, too.
  • Vinegar and water. Christy Allen learned during a pottery class that vinegar and water can break down clay. She translated this to the barn and fills a spray bottle with a 1:1 vinegar-and-water solution and sprays her horse to break down dirt before bathing.
  • Vitamin E oil. Vitamin E has healing properties and is a common ingredient in human skincare products, including those used to treat scars, burns, and stretch marks. For those reasons, Chelsea Palmer uses it on her horses as well. “(I apply) vitamin E oil on any rubs, or bald patches left from scratches,” she said. “(It) makes the hair grow back in quickly and the right color.”
  • Shopvac with pet attachment. Several fans swear by horse vacuums, but we know vacuums can be relatively expensive. To save money, Rowena Sim uses a heavy-duty shopvac with a pet hair attachment. “This same setup has been working for well over 12 years,” she said. “No hair and dirt on me!” Plus, she added, her horses love their regular vacuum/massage.
  • Microfiber cloths. Kyla Western considers microfiber cloths one of her secret weapons. They work for a final finishing rub to create an extra sheen. Plus, they’re washable and reusable. Consider buying a bundle at your local wholesale store.
  • Careful with that tail. Several of our readers are very, very careful to preserve the length and health of their horse’s tails, using finger-combing only. “I never use a mane-and-tail comb,” said Stephanie Hammer. Others recommend using soft-bristled brushes designed for human hair.
  • Baby wipes. Josephine Barron doesn’t go anywhere without baby wipes for spot-cleaning dirt and boogers from her horse. “Baby wipes for anything from eyes to dock and everything between!” she said.
  • Time and “elbow grease.” Grooming is good for both horse and human. But, in a tight schedule, sometimes it feels a bit like a luxury. Pattie Meehan says, “Just do it, every day. We’re all busy, but go out and get your horse, brush him off, and clean his feet. That 10 to 15 minutes makes the whole day worth it!”

About the Author

Michelle N. Anderson, Digital Managing Editor

Michelle Anderson serves as The Horse's digital managing editor. In her role, she produces content for our web site and hosts our live events, including Ask the Vet Live. A lifelong horse owner, Anderson competes in dressage and enjoys trail riding. She's a Washington State University graduate (Go Cougs!) and holds a bachelor's degree in communications with a minor in business administration and extensive coursework in animal sciences. She has worked in equine publishing since 1998. She currently lives with her husband on a small horse property in Central Oregon.

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