1 Friesians are known for their beautiful black coats, thick manes and flowing tails. My Friesians are groomed every day to keep them looking their best. Friesians generally respond well to grooming, making it a positive and enjoyable experience for both horse and handler.
2 Grooming a horse does more than just clean the animal. It is also a good way to assess the horse's skin and coat for any abnormalities that may necessitate veterinary care. Ramon is secured and waiting patiently for his grooming session.
3 Some horses are trained well enough to stand still for grooming, including my Friesians; however, it's only natural for an animal to want to walk away after time. Here, Ramon is on cross ties. A horse that can stand still, and who knows how to give to halter pressure, can be trained for cross tying.
4 Cross ties keep horses centered in the aisle, and allow access to both sides of the horse for grooming and saddling. For safety, always secure cross tied horses over non-slip footing and always use quick-release snaps to make sure the horse can get free if needed.
5 All the daily grooming tools are kept on a nearby table for easy access. Tools, such as combs and curries, are also treated to a disinfectant soak and thorough rinse after every use to help protect against skin infections.
6 Now that it is spring, my Friesians are shedding their winter coats. A winter spiral curry comb is actually a shedding blade that helps to loosen dead hairs and debris. When using it, always follow the direction the hair grows.
7 This tool has lacquered spring steel blades with sharp teeth on one side, and rounded teeth on the other. When used properly, it also stimulates the coat and draws the oils in the skin to the surface.
8 My stable manager, Betsy, loves this tool because it is so easy to use. Special gloves with rubber coated palms allow her to hold the comb high up at the spirals in order to have more control in her strokes.
9 Cleaning a horse's hooves is also very important. They should be picked daily. A hoof pick is used to remove dirt, stones, and other debris that may have gotten caught in the crevices - particularly in the grooves beside the frog. Regular hoof cleaning can prevent thrush, a foul-smelling bacterial infection.
10 Each of the horse's legs and around each foot is wiped with a towel, not only to clean, but also to feel for any bumps or lumps that may need special attention, as well as heat or swelling, which may indicate injury.
11 Betsy also wipes down the horse's coat. A spray-on dry shampoo is sometimes used to clean off any light dirt. The function of a dry shampoo is to clean the coat without rinsing. It helps to keep the coat shiny and free of fungal infections. Betsy always feels for any sensitivity or irritation in the skin.
12 A comb is used on their legs to get out the dead coat from their leg feathers. The coat falls out very easily during this shedding period, so brushing and combing are essential.
13 As horses shed out, it's not unusual for clumps of coat to come out during grooming.
14 Look at Ramon's beautiful, shiny coat. It is indicative of good care and good nutrition.
15 A horse's face should always be kept as clean as possible also. The face and nose are often moist, making it very easy for dirt and mucus to build up. Using a towel to gently clean these sensitive areas should be done several times a day.
16 Grooming is a way for handlers and horses to bond. Grooming can be very soothing, and for many horses, it helps stimulate circulation. For young horses, it's a good time to practice standing still, being patient, and being touched.
17 Ford, the Shetland Pony is next to be groomed. He is doing very well and continues to steal everyone's hearts here at the farm.
18 And, the donkeys will get their groom time in too; however, keeping a donkey clean is nearly impossible because they love to roll. For Billie, Rufus and Clive, they simply love the special attention they get during grooming sessions.
19 Rolling is what donkeys love to do most. If you look behind Clive, Rufus appears to have just rolled in the hay in their stall.
20 Donkeys can take up to two months longer than horses to shed their winter coats, but their grooming process requires the same attention to hooves and to their coats to keep them looking and feeling their best.