Courtesy of Yvette Seger, Horse Management Guru

What should you have in your grooming kit, like…really…

Grooming Kits. Every riding team member needs one for their horse (duh), and they should be kept clean, neat, and LABELED. You can have more brushes than what is on the required equipment list, but you have to meet the minimum below:

Hoof Pick
Rub Rag
Dandy/hard brush
Body/Soft brush
Wet wipes or Face and Dock sponges
Curry Comb – rubber or plastic; capable of cleaning brushes
Body Sponge
Wash Bucket (marked wash only)

Alright, I hope we all know what a hoof pick is, so I’ll skip that one. Everything else gets a little dicey or people have questions. Rub rags. I recommend hand or kitchen towels, mainly because I’m a spaz and love to color coordinate (yes, they make red and black bathroom towels–I own a bunch!) You need to remember that the rub rag is intended to polish the coat after you use your body brush, so think about the size of towel you would use to say, wax a car. A good thing to remember is that you will use your rub rag for “other” purposes during rallies, so you might want to pack an assortment of grooming towels. And if you want to color coordinate, I recommend red and black! 🙂 Ha ha.

Your brushes (dandy and body) need to have a distinct difference between the stiffness of bristles. We used to require Pony Club members to purchase a “proper” body brush (oval with short, sometimes bi-level bristles), but these can be expensive, so now we accept brushes with softer bristles as a “body” brush. In the end, it does the same thing.

Okay, tools for cleaning the nose and dock. We used to require sponges, but I think we all agree that those sponges can get pretty nasty after wiping the dock, and they aren’t really sanitary. Baby wipes are awesome because you wipe and discard–no poo-encrusted sponges in your grooming kit! Yay! Make sure that you are using wet wipes/baby wipes that are unscented and do not have extra agents (such as antimicrobial agents) that could irritate the eyes, nose, and dock. You only need to have one packet per grooming kit (you don’t need a pack for face and a pack for dock.) Baby wipes are AWESOME!

Curry combs. Ahhhh, curry combs. The only thing that is a curry comb is a rubber or plastic oval object with concentric rings of “bristles.” Groomas are now accepted as a curry comb per the 2014 HM Rulebook. Metal shedding rings and plastic combs without concentric rings are still unacceptable. Please, just go to the tack store and buy a black rubber curry comb for your kit and then label it with a silver sharpie.

Body sponge–needs to be a big (car wash size) sponge. A kitchen sponge will not pass. BIG SPONGE.

Scraper. I think we all know what that is and what it’s used for. Just be sure to label the darn thing.

Wash bucket. The big thing here is to label your bucket with your name and “wash only.” Why? Well, think about the nice liniment bath you gave your horse after cross country…Do you really want your horse to drink vetrolin water? Doesn’t sound tasty, does it? Cosequin buckets are the perfect size for a wash bucket.

Everything in the kit should be labeled with the rider’s name and number. You should also wash your brushes before champs as dirty brushes only beget dirty horses. I usually just rinse my brushes a day or two before an event with some horse shampoo and let them dry in the sun.

Now go buy a proper curry comb… 🙂