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Month: March 2017

Overlooked Areas

There are so many reasons to spend quality time grooming your horse. You will form a strong bond, you can check out his skin for cuts and scrapes, and you can help him maintain a great shine. Of course you will also be able to scratch all of his itchy places, too. But let’s examine some of the most commonly overlooked places on horses that you should be paying attention to.

  • The underside of your horse’s head, between his jaw cheeks –  This is an area that seldom sees a curry comb, due to the small space and large curry.  But, Hands On Gloves fit right in. Because they are gloves with soft nodules, you can use one, two or all fingers to massage and clean this normally hard to get to area.
  • The corners of the mouth – this area is often irritated by the bit, and can crack, blister, and peel.
  • The ears.  For the most part, ears are “self cleaning” on the inside and need very little intervention.  But – daily inspections and gently currying are helpful for staying ahead of problems.  And, it’s good desensitization for your horse.
  • The sheath/udders – yes, it’s personal, and yes, it’s necessary.  Tumors and goo and scrapes and bugs and scabs love to live here.  Proceed with caution using grooming gloves in these sensitive areas.

Many horses like to have their sheaths scratched, other horses, not so much.

  • Under your horse’s tail – the rectum area likes to get dirty, flakey, and icky. Also, check on the underside of your horse’s tail bone.
  • In between the butt cheeks – This area loves to get rubs, from warm weather work outs, to finding the sweet spot on a fence.  Clean, and then protect before another ride.
  • Coronary bands – sometimes, if the hair is not trimmed, you can miss the beginnings of a crack.  This is also a very common area for scrapes and cuts.  Be sure to use your fingers and eyes to inspect this area!
  • Elbow area – this area formed by the elbow, the belly, the girth area, and the zillion folds of skin, is very popular for sores and irritations.  Tack, sweat, skin, and dirt can create sores, that sometimes can’t be seen.  And ticks.

Use your grooming gloves to play with where you horse likes to be groomed, and with what pressure. For sensitive areas, you might find a lighter touch is better. Also allow your bare hands to do some of the inspecting so that you know exactly how things should feel.

Share Grooming Tools

Being a horse owner means being vigilant about your horse’s health and comfort. One way to help prevent the spread of disease is to have separate grooming supplies and separate tack from the other horses in the barn. While this seems like too much trouble, it definitely beats a skin infection or a nasty virus making it’s way around.

While this may mean you are doing a bit more shopping, you should keep the following for your horse and only your horse.

  • Saddle pads can be shared if necessary, but only if they are fresh from the laundry.  Skin issues, like rain rot, can jump from horse to horse via shared tack. After one horse has worn it, it either goes to the laundry right away or it stays with that horse until it needs the laundry.  It’s easy to keep track if you have a hook or bar near your saddle so they can stay together.
  • Horse boots and polo wraps can be handled like saddle pads.  Fresh from the laundry, they are fair game for any horse, but once on a horse they stay with that horse until the next laundry.
  • Saddles.  Using a saddle pad under your saddle on a different horse might be ok, as the pad works as a barrier. However, parts of the saddle or bridle might come into contact with your horse.
  • Bits.  Each horse should have their own bit to use.  Not only for fit and positioning, but also for helping to keep viruses and other potential sicknesses from spreading.  If you do need to try bits on another horse, a thorough scrubbing or run through the dish washer will disinfect the bit.
  • Grooming brushes.  Ideally, each horse has his own set of grooming tools.  The most common thing that grooming brushes can pass between horses is a skin infection, like rain rot.  Rain rot is a bacterial infection, but horses can also develop other skin issues that may be contagious between horses. Fungal infections and even mites and other parasites can jump from horse to horse.

All of these common barn items can be easily labelled, and you might want to start color coordinating your horse’s tools and tack.

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