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Shedding Season Showdown: Blade VS HandsOn

From Professional Equine Grooms:

Shedding Season Showdown – the shedding blade VS HandsOn Grooming Gloves

It’s unavoidable – the heavy spring shed of horse owners and the milder, but equally annoying, fall shed.  The best things to do are to avoid standing downwind, forgo wearing lip balm, and curry until your arms fall off.  There are some amazing tools out there to help your horse or dog (or goat or cat) get this done – so they are going head to head in an epic battle.   Let’s call this the ultimate horse shedding tool showdown!

Can the tool be used wet – for a bath, or it’s rainy, or you dropped it in a puddle?  HandsOn Gloves are designed to go from dry to wet and back to dry, letting your horse be massaged during a shampoo.  Blades are not water friendly.  Think warped handles and rusty blades.

HandsOn Gloves:  1               Shedding blade:  0

Can the tool be used all over your horse?  The gloves are designed to work over bony portions, down legs, on faces, in sensitive areas.  Blades, they are rigid and metal, no way you can get into the nitty gritty or move over shoulders and hips.

HandsOn Gloves:  1               Shedding blade:  0

Can the tool be used all year long?  HandsOn Gloves do multiple duty as shedding assistant, bath mitt, massage instrument, and daily curry comb.  The metal blades don’t double as curry combs, massage tools, or bath mitts.

HandsOn Gloves:  1               Shedding blade:  0

Can the tool help you determine if your horse is sore? Wearing a glove allows you to get instant feedback about any place on your horse that might be sore.  A shedding blade might be the actual cause of irritations, and certainly doesn’t give you any feedback into your hands and fingers about how your horse feels.

HandsOn Gloves:  1               Shedding blade:  0

Can the tool enhance your horse’s coat by bring up natural oils and removing dander?  HandsOn Gloves work down into the hair, letting the skin be massaged and stimulating your horse’s natural oils and shine.  This process also brings up dirt, dust, and dander, which is then easily removed with a brush.  Shedding blades are designed to go along the surface of your horse.

HandsOn Gloves:  1               Shedding blade:  0

Can the tool remain in your hand without being dropped?  And on the same note, is the tool easy to hold if you have wrist, hand, or finger stiffness?  HandsOn Gloves stay on your hands – you are not holding anything.  Shedding blades have a tendency to slip, be dropped, and be generally unruly.

HandsOn Gloves:  1               Shedding blade:  0

Can you use the tool to pick up other things?  Like a hoof pick, a dandy brush, a shampoo bottle?  If you are wearing grooming gloves, you are in luck, as your fingers will still work to grab other things.  With the shedding blades, you are stuck putting down and picking up.

HandsOn Gloves:  1               Shedding blade:  0

I know what’s in my grooming kit!  GLOVES!   (Final score too embarrassing to print…)

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.

Grooming Kit Contents

A good collection of grooming tools is key to keeping your horse clean as you forge a bond with him. But what basic supplies do you need in your grooming box? Or bag? Or bucket?

All good grooming kits have the following:

  • Thermometer.  Digital ones are good, they are fast, safe, and easy. Checking your horse’s temperature daily will alert you to a fever long before he “tells” you.
  • HandsOn Gloves. The HandsOn Glove keeps your own nails and hands clean, and it won’t fall off your hand.
  • Hoof pick with brush.  Have one on the stall door, too, and pick before you take your horse out to minimize the shavings and manure that gets brought into the barn aisle.  I also have one in the grooming box for the post ride clean out.
  • Harder, natural bristle brush.  For flicking off the loosened dirt and hair the HandsOn Gloves bring to the surface.
  • Soft brush, also natural material.  This is great for buffing and creating a shine after the hard brush.  Use in longer strokes to bring the oils to the surface of the coat.
  • Some sort of vitamin A & D ointment for the corners of the mouth, before the bit goes in.  Also, good for minor scrapes and cuts.
  • Hoof dressing, if you like that sort of stuff.
  • Scissors.  Because you always need a pair when you don’t have one.
  • Super dense and super hard nylon bristled brush.  I use this for muck on hooves, and for cleaning the saddle pads, boots, and blankets before the laundry.  These super stiff brushes are also good to remove dust and shavings from the bottom of your pants!

Bath Tips

For a successful trip to the wash rack with your horse, gather these tools and make bath time quick and easy.

  • Small bucket filled with a dollop of shampoo and warm water.
  • Soft washcloth(s) or tiny sponges for wiping noses, faces, etc.
  • Big sea sponges for rinsing faces.
  • Hands On Gloves – for wet and dry use.
  • Towels for getting some of the water off your horse’s legs. (Use your HandsOn Gloves with the towel for a better grip)
  • Sweat scraper

Make sure the weather is good for a bath. Sunny and 60 is not the same as overcast and 60 with a cold breeze.  If your wash rack is in the barn, you might be able to bathe in cooler temperatures.

Start hosing your horse from hooves up. Keep one finger in the stream to monitor the temp of the water.  Apply a layer of suds one side at a time, from the top of your horse down (gravity helps here.)  Then the remaining suds in the bucket are used to dunk the tail into.  You might need a smidge more shampoo for the mane and tailbone.

Use your Hands On Gloves to massage and curry the shampoo in.  Before you begin the crazy rinsing marathon, grab your sweat scraper and use it as a shampoo scraper.  This removes a lot of the suds, and will save you time and water when rinsing.

Rinse the mane first, and then from top down (again, gravity is your friend.) If you are using a nozzle with multiple settings, the “fan” or “flat” setting acts like a squeegee and pushes the dirt and suds out.  I don’t suggest using this setting for the mane and tail or anywhere near the head, “shower” setting works well there.  Rinse the tail, then the lower legs.

Use your little sponges or washcloths to clean your horse’s face, and the towels to dry his legs.

Sweat scrape.  If you see bubbles, rinse again. This facilitates the drying process, and in the summer can prevent your horse from overheating.  Water left on your horse becomes trapped in their coats and heats up quickly.  In cooler weather, use fleece or wool coolers to dry your horse and protect him from hypothermia.

HandsOn Gloves has been selected by The Grommet!

The Grommet has evaluated over 60,000 products but has only launched 3% of those products because of the highest standards The Grommet was founded on. Now HandsOn Gloves is one of the 3% due the revolutionary design. HandsOn has changed the way we all will bathe, groom and de-shed our dogs, cats, horses, livestock and more.

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