Physiotherapeutic Grooming

Credit: Thinkstock If done correctly, grooming your horse can be physiotherapeutic for you and your horse.

This article from North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine describes a grooming technique that is physiotherapeutic, potentially for both your horse and you. This has value for any horse whether they are in a stall rest situation, a rehabilitation program, or in full exercise.

Equipment needed:

  • 2 rubber curry combs
  • Soft dandy brush
  • Firm dandy brush
  • Hoof pick
  • Bottle of baby oil
  • Turkish towel about 18″x18″
  • Can of Lemon Pledge or your favorite mane and tail detangler product

The goal is to thoroughly groom your horse, which can also be a total body massage. With firm, circular motions used in this grooming it is a thorough massage and blood flow is increased to the skin and the muscle layers underneath the skin. It is a good warm-up for impending exercise.

Furthermore, a thorough 10-minute grooming, using both your arms and legs, can give you a warm-up exercise if you put your whole body into the grooming.

Here is the procedure:

  1. Take the 2 rubber curry combs, one in each hand. In a circular motion, rub the skin thoroughly so that you rub dead hair off the skin, also getting the mud and dirt off the horse. Rub the hair in all directions. Rub both sides and all four legs, always using the vigorous circular motion of both hands in synchrony.
  2. Take both dandy brushes. If you are standing on the left of the horse, place the firm dandy brush in your left hand and the soft dandy brush in your right hand. Proceed in a circular motion with solid pressure with both hands, grooming the horse from the neck all the way back to the tail and down each of the left legs. Then switch hands and sides so that the firm dandy brush is in your right hand on the right side of the horse and the soft brush is in your left hand. Use circular motions of both hands in synchrony. Groom the horse thoroughly from the head to the tail and down both legs.
  3. Spray a light amount of Lemon Pledge (or your detangler) onto the horse’s mane and tail. Then, brush the mane and tail so that each hair is separate from the adjacent hair.
  4. Pick the feet out thoroughly, especially on both sides of the frog.
  5. Apply a slight amount of baby oil to the Turkish towel (not enough to wet the hair). With your left hand in a firm, circular motion, go over the entire horse’s left side and then switch hand and go over the horse’s right side with the same firm, circular motion against the horse’s skin and superficial muscles.
  6. Sponge wipe the horse’s face.
  7. Clean out the horse’s feet thoroughly.

If done in a vigorous manner, the grooming will cause a slight increase of heart rate in the person doing the job.






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