I’m not a professional groom, but I do spend a lot of time doing this with my horses as a way to bond and relax together. If you’ve been following along by now you probably know that I have a shopping problem when it comes to horses. Combine that with the fact that my massage clients recommend different things that work for them AND I meet so many wonderful brands at events and conferences through my writing and podcast…well, you see how I could be somewhat of an expert. (Insert my husband’s eye roll here).
I want to introduce you to the 8 must-have items in my grooming box. This is in addition to the standards such as a dry brush, face brush, and hoof pick that we all use traditionally. The items below are things that I have found and no longer want to live without!
Betty’s Skin and Coat Cloth Wipes
I received the Betty’s Skin and Coat Cloth Wipes in a Cavali Club box sometime last winter but didn’t use them until recently. Total fail on my part! I think I put them in my tack box and it got lost among the masses of products that I’ve stored “just in case”. Let me tell you…my horses are bathed frequently in the summer. Ferrous alone may get one to two baths a day. But I hesitate to use shampoo often because most can try the skin. I have skin allergies myself and so am incredibly sensitive to this possibility. Now that it is fall, it is too cool for a full bath so I decided to try these wipes.
Not only are they amazing at picking up dirt but they are safe to use around the eyes and mouth as well. One of my barn mates was trying to clean her Cremello’s face that had somehow got manure around the eye. Boom- it came right off!
The ONLY downside to these wipes was the XL cloths are not very large at all. I still only had to use two wipes for the pony and two for the Thoroughbred who is significantly larger. I imagine that if I were to use these daily then I be able to move to one cloth each, but I would probably then be going through a package weekly. So I’ll be using these once a week to clean their coats and help them look handsome.
Epona Tiger’s Tongue
My friend Alyssa Matthews of Discover The Horse, learned how effective it is to groom Icelandic horses with lava rock. The porous stone is perfect for lifting dirt and scraping it off coats. I don’t have much access to lava rock in New Jersey, but I did find the Epona Tiger’s Tongue.
I began to use this grooming tool as my first step and found that it brings dirt to the surface and can actually remove the tiny hairs similar to a curry comb. I found the curry to be repetitive and actually decided to use it for another reason (see below for the details).
I love this product so much that I bought another to put in my trailer, just in case. If I can only use one “brush” this is the one that I prefer!
Tomorrow Dry Cow for Thrush
I struggled for MONTHS with thrush on Delight. His previous farrier told me he had white line disease but not that he had thrush, and he really struggled to grow a hoof. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t seem to make much progress. Thrushbuster did nothing. The new farrier recommend straight iodine and that did seem to help but the progress was slow. If I was unable to be at the barn every day, the iodine held it at bay but didn’t jumpstart healing.
Then I spoke with a client whose senior horse had terrible thrush. She used a product called Dry Cow, for lactating mothers with mastitis. Not only are the tubes small and easy to hold in one hand, but they have a narrow applicator that I could use to inject the liquid directly into the heel bulb and deep around the frog. I saw results in only a few days. My mind was blown! I highly recommend this product as a staple in your tack box.
Grooma Lil Groomer Curry Comb
I’ve always been partial to the silicone or rubber curry combs. Once I started using the Epona Tiger’s Tongue, I found that my use of the curry actually went by the wayside…for brushing that is. Instead, I use a large-toothed silicone curry comb to help raise the fascia and remove restrictions on my horses. This is a great way to increase blood flow and help to warm your horse prior to exercise. I use this tool in my bodywork practice and even give tips on how to use it and why in my online course for horse owners.
Hands On Gloves
Now, I’m sure most of you use these but I like them because I let my horses grow fuzzy over the winter. Well, Ferrous gets powder puffed but Delight is still a work in progress. I use the Hands-On gloves to get underneath the outer coat of hair and into the dirt underneath. In the spring, the gloves are such a game changer to lift and remove shedding hair without it ending up in my mouth or under my eyeglasses.
I don’t use these on wet coats or on legs because I find the points to be too hard and uncomfortable in these sensitive areas. Still, they are a favorite of mine!
Coat Defense Powder
When Delight first came to me he was left out in the rain with an insect sheet. Needless to say he had fungus ALL over his back. It was nasty. The insect sheet was moldy and needed to soak in bleach for days. Obviously I cannot do that with the horse. Instead, I used Coat Defense powder. It’s so easy! I simply sift the powder on his back and brush it in. The combination of minerals in it, lifts moisture while combating the fungus and it clears the problem within only a few days.
Don’t wait until there is a problem. If you have a horse that lives outside or is prone to rain rot, apply the Coat Defense powder as a preventative and your problems will be solved!
Equi Treats by Uckele
Both my horses are on a special nutrition regimen because they have neurological conditions or allergies. High maintenance for sure, but manageable! I am very careful when it comes to treats because so many of them have soy, molasses, or other inflammatory ingredients. I love these small treats by Uckele- they come in yummy flavors like Cherry-Vanilla, Peppermint, and Banana.
When I attended Equine Affaire I stopped by their booth and saw they have special flavors like Apple Pie (without flaxseed so perfect for my Thoroughbred with an allergy) and Watermelon Basil. Yum! Not only can a few treats go along way because they are small in size but I don’t feel like I’m giving the boys junk food. These are healthy, low sugar and starch, and all natural! I always keep a bag in my tack box or trailer for my good boys!
I have tried a lot of different grooming products over the years, and these are staples in my tack box that I use whenever I’m at the barn. My horses are high maintenance and I like products that make my life easier, and keep my horses in the best condition possible.