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Horse Care - Stable And Grooming Equipment

Taking care of your equine friend takes time, patience, hard work and lots of stuff! Whether your horse lives in or out, is ridden or driven, old or young, big or small, the amount of equipment needed for the daily care of your animal should not be underestimated.

Stable equipment

Perhaps the first place to start when thinking about essential equipment is the stable. Regardless of whether your horse is living in or out, there are some bits and bobs you should never be without, which can be used for both the stabled and field-kept horse.

  • Wheelbarrow - for mucking out and poo picking in the field. These are also indispensable for moving large or heavy objects around such as water containers or small bales of shavings, hay or straw
  • Yard brush - a stiff-bristled brush will quickly become your best friend as a tidy yard is a joy to behold!
  • Metal fork - use a metal fork for poo picking or mucking out if your horse is bedded on straw
  • Shavings fork - essential if your horse is bedded on shavings. The design of the shavings fork means you can remove droppings or wet shavings easily, while dry shavings will simply drop through the tines
  • Feed & Water tubs - flexible rubber or plastic tubs can be purchased in a number of sizes and bright colours and can be left in the stable with your horse as they are soft and will not break if trampled or knocked. Be prepared to buy two large tubs for water and at least two shallow tubs for feeds
  • Buckets - useful for transporting water and for taking up the field for poo picking. Buckets can also be used for bathing, soaking bandages and carrying your grooming kit
  • Hay/Haylage nets - if you are feeding forage from nets there are a wide variety to choose from. Haylage nets often have smaller holes to encourage slower feeding, while all nets come in a number of sizes designed to suit animals of all shapes and sizes. Forage can also be fed straight from the floor, from a manger or from a specially designed haybar.
  • It might also be wise, if you are using a livery yard, to keep your feed in separate bins. These can be stainless steel or plastic - you can even use dustbins to keep your feed in and many people do!

    Grooming equipment

    Grooming is a vital part of your routine and helps reinforce the bond between you and your horse as well as keeping him clean and tidy. It's also gives you the chance to give him a good check over! There are a number of brushes and tools used when grooming a horse and a well-practised technique and good selection of paraphernalia helps make sure your horse remains comfortable during the grooming process, and means he gets a deeper clean. The most important grooming tools include: Curry comb: made of rubber or plastic with short "teeth" on one side, the curry comb is used to loosen dirt and hair and stimulate the production of natural oils Metal curry comb: The metal curry comb is not designed to use directly on a horse's coat as the metal teeth can damage the skin and hair. The metal curry comb is generally used to clean grooming brushes by removing caught hair and dirt Dandy brush: The dandy brush is used to remove the dirt, hair and other material stirred up by the curry. Some dandy brushes do double duty as a water brush and can be used to wet down the hair coat, mane or tail Body brush: A soft-bristled brush removes finer particles and dust, adds a shine to the coat and is soothing to the horse. Some natural body brushes are made of horsehair, goat hair or boar bristles, others are made of soft synthetic fibres Grooming rag or towel: A towel or sheepskin mitt can be used to remove dust and give a final polish to a horse's coat. It can also be used after riding to help remove sweat Mane brush or comb: Horses with short, pulled manes can be combed with a wide-toothed plastic or metal comb. Tails and long manes are brushed with either a dandy brush or a suitable human hairbrush, or one of the mane and tail brushes available in most tack shops Hoof pick: A hooked tool, usually of metal, used to pick or gouge dirt out from the concave underside of the hoof and from around the frog. Some designs include a small stiff brush for removing additional mud or dirt. All four feet of the horse need to be cleaned out before and after riding and inspected for damage, wear and tear Shedding blade: A metal shedding blade with short, dull teeth is used to remove loose winter hair. A shedding blade is also useful for removing caked-on mud but should be used with extreme care to avoid damaging hair and delicate skin. Sweat scraper: Several styles of sweat scraper exist to remove sweat after exertion or water after bathing. Sweat scrapers are usually an arc of plastic or rubber attached to a handle. Phew! It does seem like you need a whole host of brushes and tools to groom your horse however don't despair! Most makers sell grooming kits in a number of sizes, which can save you a lot of money.

    Other equipment...

    As we have already seen, there's a myriad of equipment available to keep your horse happy. Other equipment you will need to look into purchasing includes: Rugs: in the inclement British weather, a wardrobe of rugs is essential to keep neddy warm in his stable and dry when in the field. Rugs can be purchased very cheaply - even second hand, but do be careful to clean pre-used rugs carefully to avoid passing on any skin diseases Boots & bandages: many people use bandages on their horse's legs for support during exercise and to prevent swelling while the horse is stood for long periods in the stable. Boots to protect tendons, bulbs, hocks and knees as well as prevent mud fever, are also available should your horse require them. It is wise to provide some kind of protection - particularly for tendons in the front legs, if your horse does a lot of road work Scissors and knives: again, it's wise to ensure you have things like scissors or a sharp retractable knife to hand - these can be a godsend when trying to remove twine from a bale of straw or remove a knotted haynet from a tie ring. Do remember however to handle these with care, store carefully and keep away from both horses and children.


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