Call me vain and superficial if you want to, but I take pride in how my horse looks both at home and at horse shows. My preferences go beyond just a shiny coat… I want to see a well-turned out horse from head to toe. Sometimes it’s the little things that drive me crazy, and those tend to be what I notice the most. There are a lot of little places that can easily get neglected when you’re feeling a little bit lazy or you’ve been particularly busy, but here are my top five easy to miss grooming spots:
Easy to Miss Grooming Spot #1: Inside the Ears
I’m a former Showmanship queen, and as such, I’m a fan of clean, clipped ears. I’ll also be the first to admit that if my horse isn’t a fan of getting his ears clipped, I don’t think it’s worth the fight (unless you show in Showmanship… then you must clip the ears). Regardless, I appreciate a clean ear. I trim up the outsides of my horse’s ears, but I never clip the inner ear.
But have you ever looked at those things? Especially in the summer, they get gross. I’ve seen dandruff and gooey brown gunk in horse’s ears before… which is just nasty. So please, if you can, trim those ears so tuffs of hair isn’t growing out of them, and take a small, soft curry to the insides every once in a while and brush them out. Be gentle, but please do it!
Easy to Miss Grooming Spot #2: Throatlatch
We all remember to brush our horse’s faces because we stare at them every day. But the underside of the face is just as important! Your horse sweats underneath his noseband and throatlatch, and those long hairs can get caught and pinch. Take 5 minutes to trim them up with some clippers and just like the inner ears, use a soft curry on the throatlatch now and then.
I had a horse that had fungus under there once because no one ever brushed it. Talk about uncomfortable!
Easy to Miss Grooming Spot #3: Elbows and Hocks
One thing that drives me crazy are dirty elbows and hocks. Especially elbows with dandruff. No really, I don’t want to see flakes of skin every time I brush my horse’s belly. So take a curry and don’t miss these spots ever again.
If your horse is particularly prone to elbow funk, put some MTG on it to speed up the healing process. Works like a charm!
Easy to Miss Grooming Spot #4: Pasterns
First, unless you have a draft that is supposed to have feathers, please trim your horse’s fetlock hairs. Second, if your horse gets ergots, suck it up and scrape them off every once in a while. Third, you know that soft, curvy spot right under the fetlock, above your horse’s heel? It’s called the pastern, and you should brush it. And curry it — especially if there’s mud and your horse has white markings.
I see more fungus, scratches and rain rot in this spot than any other and it’s really tough to get rid of. So do yourself a favor and regularly brush your horse’s pasterns.
Easy to Miss Grooming Spot #5: Inner Gaskin
I notice this area the most in the fall and winter. In the summer, you can easily rinse this area off after a ride, but in the fall and winter, mud gets flung up during turnout and sticks there.