There are dozens of reasons to groom your horse – but what can you learn from your horse as you groom?
- What’s going on with his skin? Do you see and feel dry patches, crusty spots, or other new skin things? These could be signs of a skin infection brewing, some rain rot, a rash, a cut or scrape, or even hives. The skin is your horse’s first line of defense in his immune system, so stay ahead of the curve on this.
- Did you find some extra itchy places? Maybe your HandsOn Gloves have discovered a brand new favorite place to be scratched. Or, there’s an insect bite, a tick, an itchy skin infection. Dig a little deeper to discern what’s going on.
- Are his muscles sore? Using varying pressure as you groom is a great way to check on how your horse’s body feels. A horse that is sore might flinch, move away from you, pin his ears, swish his tail, or otherwise change his demeanor. Sore muscles might mean tack that doesn’t fit, soreness from a work out, or even a brewing lameness.
- Are his legs swollen? A daily leg inspection is a good way to make sure there’s no heat or swelling in his legs. It might be something simple, like a new cut that’s swollen, or it might be something more serious like a tendon injury.
- Is he sweating? Or not? A horse that sweats is not an alarming thing, it’s his way of cooling down. But, a horse that is sweating excessively might be nervous, or might be in pain. A horse that is not sweating, but should be, is also cause for alarm. Anhidrosis (non-sweating) in horses, needs to be managed so they don’t overheat.
The daily groom can give you a lot of information about how your horse is feeling! Work closely with your Veterinarian if you notice things that have changed about your horse – his skin, demeanor, legs, muscles, and everything else that you touch and see when you are grooming.