Month: October 2017

How To Safely Decorate The Barn For The Holidays!

It’s always nice to share a little holiday spirit, and since we spend so much time at the barn, why not decorate that, too? A few things to be aware of, and then go nuts with the decorations!

Use lights in a smart manner. The newer, and more expensive, LED lights don’t heat up. There’s really no point in stringing regular holiday lights, as the dust, hay, and wood in the barn will just act as kindling. 

Be aware of extension cords, as well. These can heat up, cause a trip for horse or human, and also become an excellent treat for pests and rodents to munch on and cause damage, or worse, a fire. Overloaded circuits are a recipe for disaster.

Know that mistletoe and holly, while festive and lovely, are toxic to horses, dogs, and cats! If you crave that look, go for artificial versions of these holiday favorites. Poinsettia are mildly toxic as well.

Tinsel and garlands are lovely as well, but make sure your barn cats aren’t tempted to “hunt” these, then run down the aisle being followed by a long string of holiday spirit. When eaten by a curious horse, it might lead to a blockage.

It’s also a great idea to keep all decorations away from the reach of horses – which is quite longer than you might imagine if a horse is really determined to chew on a wreath. If your barn uses dutch doors or stall guards, keep decorations far away, or just supervise when your horse can look around.

Some excellent options for decorating barns include wreaths on the barn doors, outside lights, and even sleigh bells. Most barn dwellers like horses, the cats, and the barn dogs won’t fancy a bell as a snack.

Stick to the artificial plants, so you can avoid poisoning your pets and you have the benefit of re-using them! Additionally, any artificial pine will be better as it won’t drip sap everywhere!

Place your holiday decorations smartly so that no horse ends up with a new and festive toy.

Enjoy decorating the barn, and happy holidays from all of us at HandsOn Gloves!

Horse Grooming Hacks to Use All Year Long!

The key to successful stain removal on your horse is to curry it out first. This removes a large portion of the stain, and what remains can be wiped away with a damp towel and maybe a spritz of stain remover or dry shampoo.

When you are giving your horse a bath, put a dollop of shampoo directly onto your grooming glove. Sponges soak up product – which costs you money! The glove delivers shampoo directly to your horse.

After your horse is sudsy and bubbly, remove most of the shampoo with a sweat scraper. This saves water by not needing so much to rinse all of the bubbles away!

If you have lost your sweat scraper, you can use a piece of bailing twine pulled tightly between your hands to do the same job.

Use your grooming gloves to remove any dried clay poultice from your horse’s legs. No need to make a trip to the wash rack!

Make it a point to groom your horse after a ride, also! Loose hair and sweat marks disappear, and your horse gets a nice post exercise massage.

Before you hit the grocery store after the barn, use your grooming gloves to knock shavings and dust from your pants. Stray hairs from all of the grooming also disappear!

When the weather turns cold, wear your grooming gloves to turn sticky and cold faucets on and off. Extra grip without needing to touch anything cold. Also great to wear when filling buckets in the cold!

Take The Gloves Off HandsOn

Grooming gloves for horses (dogs and cats, too!) are a great way to bond with your horse AND get some feedback about how they feel! But sometimes you need to take the gloves OFF and use your fingertips and eyes. You might want to do these suggestions before you start grooming. If you find something suspicious, you might want to skip grooming that area.

Run your fingertips up and down your horse’s legs. This allows you to check for heat and or minor swelling. This indicated pain and injury, so skip grooming there. 

You will also be able to locate small scabs or ticks that are hidden by hair. This will allow you to investigate further and remove bugs if needed.

You can also check your horse’s digital pulse with your fingertips. This is the best way to see if there’s any stress in your horse’s hooves. You can learn more about that here: http://www.proequinegrooms.com/tips/grooming/find-your-horse-s-digital-pulse/




Using your fingertips to explore the tender skin inside your horse’s ear also lets you discover scabs and bugs. You will also need to use your fingertips around the folded skin of the elbow, another great place for scabs and bugs to hang out.

Then you can pop on your grooming gloves and curry away! With a gloved hand, you will be able to find muscle soreness, extra itchy places, and even patches of skin that might be starting to have a dermatitis type issue going on. Your horse’s own body language can clue you in. 

A sore horse might flinch or scoot over when being groomed. Sometimes, he might be telling you about a saddle that doesn’t fit, too many hills the day before, or some sort of injury from playing, among other things.

Extra itchy places can be remnants of an insect, an allergy, dry skin, lots of reasons.

You might find a patch of skin that’s dandruffy, has extra amounts of hair loss, or is already starting to be bald. All of your findings during the grooming process, with and without gloves, is good information to share with the Veterinarian. Grooming is one way to start a very helpful dialog with your horse, and they will thank you for it!

How To Remove Stains From Your Horse

There are few things more fun for your horse to do than roll. He’s likely going to end up with manure or grass stains, which are there no matter his coat color. You’re just more likely to see it on a white, gray, palomino, or other light colored horse. You will want to remove as much of the stain as possible, as it can become permanent if re-stained again and again. Manure and urine stains are also food for flies, so a stain free horse makes them less likely to be bothered by pests.

Your first plan of attack it to remember that your horse’s natural oils provide a stain barrier. Constant stripping of these oils with too frequent shampoo or a poor diet give stains a better chance of lasting. Daily and vigorous grooming is your best defense against stains.

First attack any stains with your grooming gloves. This gets any surface dirt up, and can sometimes remove a lot of the stain, too!

Try warm water first. One of the best stain fighters is a simple wash cloth that’s barely damp with warm or hot water. Wipe the stain away. You might want to lightly rub the stain. You might find that the more water you add, the more the stain starts to smear around instead of disappear.

Then move onto a spot remover or dry shampoo. Many of these also include odor neutralizers, which is good for your nose and hides the stain from flies. Same technique here – use a tiny amount. You might want to let it sit for a minute or two. Then wipe away with a dry or barely damp cloth.

There’s a good chance this will remove all of the stain! Keep up with the daily grooming to stimulate and spread around those natural oil that your horse makes himself. Treat the stains as necessary as soon as possible, and enjoy the grooming process with your horse!

What is the itchy horse telling you?

This might seem like an easy question to answer – but it goes a little bit further than the obvious sometimes. Of course the itchy horse is telling you that he’s itchy there! But when we take a moment to investigate why he is itchy, we might discover something more.

Some horses just like being scratched. It’s their spot, it feels extra good there, it takes them to their happy place. Simple.

But when a horse has a new itchy spot – it might be due to something else. It’s always a good idea to involve your Veterinarian if you find something new.

Bugs. Insects like flies, mosquitos, and various other biting critters think your horse is delicious, and in exchange for a blood meal they leave your horse itchy. You might find a raised bump, you might not. You can indulge your horse with some scratches and perhaps a topical anti-itch medicine to help.

Ticks. Ticks often leave giant itchy welts after they release, and in weird places like between the folds of skin around the elbows. While it’s true that some tick bites leave rings around the wound, you can’t see this on a horse with a hair coat and dark skin. Besides being carriers of dangerous diseases, ticks can cause significant discomfort.

General dermatitis, AKA a skin infection. Just like humans, a horse’s first line of defense is his skin. But sweat, dirt, and bacteria in the environment can sometimes cause skin infections. However – not all types of skin infections cause itchiness – which means your hands and eyes need to discover these possibilities.

A healing sore or wound. Scabs can be itchy! Even the smallest of scrapes can cause an itchy scab. The best course of action is to carefully avoid scratching off any scab, they will fall off in due time.

A sore muscle. Sometimes, a horse may decide that he needs a massage, and will be happy to lean into you to get some added pressure on a spot. You might also notice that your horse likes to move and adjust himself so you are working on the spots that need some massage.

Allergies. A horse with allergies can sometimes display itchy skin – which is your signal to investigate further. Many times an allergy is tricky to track down, but your Veterinarian can give you a plan to determine if allergies are the cause and which allergens are to blame.

Too much product! It’s in a horse’s nature to want to be dirty – which is fine! But when we start to shine them up, we sometimes use the wrong product or leave a product residue which might be irritating. Diligently rinsing and scraping off shampoos is key, as is using topical products in moderation.

It’s always a learning experience when you groom your horse – and the more you start to listen to his body, the more you can investigate and learn more about him. It makes for a great partnership and a healthy horse!

How to groom your fuzzy horse in the winter!

If you’re a horse, winter is the time to get fuzzy. Really, really fuzzy. A horse’s winter coat is signaled to start growing as the days become shorter. First he will decide to shed his summer coat, so you’ll have a lot of hair. Luckily, the hair is short so it seems like less than the spring shed. Then, his winter coat will start to come in. Some horses are clipped for a variety of reasons, but the fuzzy horse has some winter grooming challenges.

In the winter, skip the gym and head to the barn. A furry winter coat has extra challenges, so you will need to spend more time with your grooming gloves. Your horse’s long winter coat will trap dirt, shavings, sand, dust, stains, and sweat easier than in the summer. You also have a lot more hair that needs some protection from your horse’s natural oils.

There’s not much that can replace a heavy duty grooming session, but may opt to use any of these techniques to help your horse be comfortable and tidy in the winter.

Add a horse vacuum into the grooming routine! Most horses can learn to like the vacuum, and it helps remove every last bit of grit from your horse’s skin.

Use hot steamy towels to remove stains. Thoroughly groom the stained area, then thoroughly wring out a washcloth that’s been soaking in hot water. The steam can lift away a stain. You can also use a tiny amount of dry shampoo or spot remover.

Consider clipping the areas of your horse that get sweaty. Many skin issues arrive in winter as sweat gets trapped against the skin. You might have to supplement with blankets.

Use sheets to protect your horse’s hair from mud! It’s very difficult to remove all traces of dried mud from your horse – which can lead to discomfort under a saddle. Sheets provide a barrier.

Don’t forget to pay attention to the tail and mane – detanglers can help keep them knot free and help to resist stains.

However you choose to groom your fuzzy horse this winter – be sure to pay extra attention to all of his favorite itchy spots as you use your grooming gloves!

Winter Horse Grooming Tools

For colder weather, you may consider changing the horse grooming tools in your routine to better deal with fuzzy winter coats! As you change out grooming tools, give your stored tools a thorough cleaning so they stay fresh until spring.

Keep the grooming gloves! They are not just for shedding and bathing – their nodules can get through the fuzziest of fuzzy horses, bringing dust and dirt to the surface. They are also super for removing clumps of mud.

Add in a stiffer brush. Stiff brushes, if tolerated by your horse, can be great for removing all of the dirt that your grooming gloves bring up. Their extra durability and stiffness can also get through more of a winter coat.

Add in some washcloths! A steamy hot washcloth is perfect for removing stains. Use a warm washcloth for noses and sensitive parts.

If you don’t have hot water at the barn, you can use an insta hot kettle. Perfect when you need to warm up a bit or remove a stain with a warm cloth.

Find a good grooming oil. This adds luster to a winter coat, repels stains, and can be used in hooves to help keep snowballs from forming. A little bit goes a long way!

Fleece or wool coolers. Super for helping sweat marks dry, and can be used by you to get warm at the barn! And, they come in a ridiculous number of colors and patterns.

A hoof pick with a brush if you don’t already have one! The brush is great for getting mud out of the nitty gritty areas of your horse’s hooves.

How else do you mix up your winter grooming routine?

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