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!