The (tongue-in-cheek) beginners’ guide to the grooming kit

  • Giving your horse a good groom every day means you can keep them looking smart while keeping an eye out for any problems. Sara Walker explains what you’ll need to do the job…


    The Houdini of the grooming kit, the hoof pick has the ability to dematerialise at will and reappear somewhere unexpected. You can hang it on your stable door, you can nail it to the wall, you can Velcro it into your pocket – but it’s never there when you want it. An hour later, you’ll give up the search and immediately find it in your feed bucket.

    Dandy brush

    A brush with stiff bristles, carefully designed to remove mud from your horse’s coat and transfer it to you.

    Curry combs

    These come in metal, plastic and rubber varieties. Metal and plastic are for cleaning the hair out of brushes, while rubber is for removing quantities of winter coat. They’re called ‘curry combs’ because after you’ve been using one for half an hour you really fancy a takeaway.*

    Mane and tail comb

    Plastic or metal combs used for pulling and tidying manes and tails. As far as actual combing is concerned, they only really work on slender thoroughbred types with aristocratic manes. Try one on a cob’s mane and you’ll be looking for it for weeks.


    Used for cleaning around the eyes, nostrils and dock areas. It’s best to buy them in batches of 10, especially if you have any small terriers on the yard.

    Body brush

    Used for removing excess grease from stabled horses, and adding a nice shine to the coat. It’s called a ‘body brush’ because using one for 20 minutes a day gives you a figure like Elle MacPherson.**

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    Sweat scraper

    This delightfully-named piece of equipment is used to remove excess moisture from the horse’s coat, for example after a bath. Sweat scrapers are also great escapologists and can give hoofpicks a run for their money in terms of never being where you left them.

    * OK, this isn’t exactly (or even slightly) true – ‘currying’ is an old English word meaning grooming. We prefer our explanation though.
    ** This one’s definitely true.

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