Summer Grooming Routine

Summer Grooming Routine

Even though we are heading towards fall in many parts of the country, here in central Texas we’re marching towards “later Summer”.  Honestly, it hasn’t been all that hot this year (yay!) but we’re due for some 100 degree days in the near future and I know the heat is not done yet.

Now I’m not vain about many things in life, but how my horse looks is one of those things.  I want to be able to see my reflection in Simon’s coat, and this summer he is just looking so fabulous. So much shine all the time, and it’s just from routine care and good nutrition.  No fancy supplements here.


I don’t think I’m the be all end all to horse care, but everyone does stuff differently.  I want to share what I do, and am curious your habits as well.  Would love to pick up some new tips and tricks (like coconut oil) from y’all.

Prior to my Ride

Before I ride, I keep it stupid simple.  First, a vigorous curry all over.  Simon sheds all summer, so I really need to put in the elbow grease.  He’s also been itchy on his neck/back with all the dried sweat lately, so he really likes it.

Post curry, I go over everything with a soft brush.  I pick/check feet… and that’s it.  Tack up time.

Post Ride

This is where I do the bulk of my grooming.  Since we live in the Sahara Desert, Simon typically looks like this after every ride:


We start off with a thorough rinse down to get all the sweat off.  Then, I do a liniment wash.  Typically I’ve always been a Vetrolin fan, but lately am trying the Absorbine Botanicals line for a change (price point is a bit better).  After I rinse him with liniment, I thoroughly scrape all the excess off.  Remember, if you don’t scrape your horse the water actually holds in all that heat… so they don’t cool off if you don’t scrape!

That’s not the end of our wash rack time though.  In the summer, I constantly battle fungus with Simon’s face.  I scrub his face with baby shampoo and then rinse thoroughly.  Also, I wash each of his legs from the knee down with Dawn dish soap.  This helps prevent fungus, keeps any little scrapes clean and also gives me a very thorough feel of each and every leg.

I has a soapz
I has a soapz

After that’s done, I stick him under the fan to dry – usually for about 5 to ten minutes.  That won’t get him 100% dry, but enough so I’m not fly spraying a soaking wet horse.

When he’s dryish, I “attack my horse with products.”  First it’s fly spray all over.  Then it’s Sore No More liniment on his front cannon bone area and hind hocks, sometimes I also spray Sore No More on his back.  After Sore No More, I check his body for any cuts/scrapes and if they’re fresh I’ll spray Silver Spray on them.

I then check for any signs of dry skin or rubbing at the base of his tail.  If there are any spots like this, I put a little MTG on them.  Usually I won’t MTG more than once or twice a week, because that stuff can be pretty harsh.

The very last thing I do is apply Swat to his nose and sheath area.  Gotta keep those pesky flies away!

Of course, once I turn him out he tries to maul me for treats and eat my bracelet.

Treatz now?
Treatz now?

Now that I’ve written this, it all seems very boring.  🙂  Whether you were curious or not, that’s my grooming routine in the summer!  What do you do differently?

31 thoughts on “Summer Grooming Routine

  1. My routine with Dino is very similar! All that currying gets them shiiiinnnyyy! I also brush out his tail pre-ride, always with Cowboy Magic spray. Have you tried Ivory soap instead of the Dawn? It works amazing magic on white socks, and is very very gentle. Ivory is my fave for scrubbing white stockings. One tip I have for you is to paint his hooves with conditioner or oil before you bathe him – it keeps the feet from absorbing too much moisture and cracking from the wet/dry changes. My preferred hoof stuff is Absorbine Hooflex.

    1. I second the hooflex. It’s fantastic! Some good tips – especially for dry skin and legs. Topaki is the first horse I’ve had where it’s been such a problem. I wish I didn’t have to ride so late at night. It’s usually too cold during the week for a bath after lessons. Thanks!

  2. I always curry as well (with my jelly scrubber) but then I do a medium brush and end with a towel to knock off the last of the dust and also for his face. Afterward I just hose, sometimes do liniment but not usually, and coat him in 5 gallons of fly spray plus anti-microbial on the cannons and top of the tail.

  3. Like Ali I suggest painting the feet pre bath and ivory is the bomb. Esp for white legs. My pre ride groom is as follows:
    Spray tail with detangler (allows to dry and slick up tail before I brush through)
    Vigorous curry over entire body/face
    Medium and hard brush over entire body
    Brush out tail
    Check legs while picking feet

    Post ride:
    Paint hoofs w/ something oily to keep water off
    Hose off – depending on how hot I will hose and scrape a few times to help cool him down
    Depending on the ride I might do a liniment brace or I will vigorously apply linimeny (rubbing it in) on legs, stifles, back.
    Apply various slathers to any bites or cuts
    Graze, treat, put away 🙂

  4. My routine is pretty simple. Capture pony from the wilderness that is his turnout. Curry/brush/rag rub. Then ride and generate all the sweats. Then bath time with an apple cider vinegar rinse and a good scrape. Corona the scabs and cuts. Turn back out into the wilderness. I’m pretty low key, but the system is cheap and I take a long time to curry/rub/brush most of the time.

  5. Sigh, I can’t wait to have time to go crazy with grooming, haha!
    Before a ride, I curry like crazy because Red sheds all year around as well, then go over with a normal softer brush, brush his mane and tail out (I’m *really* picky with how his mane and tail looks.) Check hooves, fly spray then tack up. After a ride, I cool him off, brush out again, depending on how hot he gets I’ll rinse him off then scrape it and let him dry in the barn with the fan while I put my stuff away and clean up. Check hooves again and etc. I also put MTG on his bald sweet itch spots and apply the listerine mix on his tail, mane and chest where his sweet itch is worse to prevent rubbing, I dab some swat on his face as well. And I check him over for any injuries, apply medicine as needed and etc.

  6. Wow. So I’m a horrible horse mom. Unless my beloved pony has taken a mud bath, pre-ride I knock the dust off her face and back. Basically anywhere tack touches. Post-ride, she gets hosed off. No shampoo/soap. Once in a while, I do her tail with some show sheen. Obviously more grooming/elbow grease is required when its not bath season…

    1. You’re not a bad horse mom! I agree with you on tails. I tend to treat my tails with neglect… basically I ignore it entirely and brush out with show sheen or detangler a few times a month. When he gets a bath, I will condition but he doesn’t get a bath often!

  7. You all are making me feel like a slacker! Usually I just flick away the surface dirt, pick hooves, and get going. Then post ride its either spray with rubbing alcohol or a hose down. I also try to use Healthy Hair Care a couple times a week. Makes the coats nice and soft, and helps bring out that healthy shine.

  8. Spoiled pony! I am similar, I always do a full grooming before and bath after if sweaty. We’ve had a mild summer so not too many baths.

  9. Wow I feel like a bad mom haha. B gets a quick brush depending how much time I have (because I’d rather be riding than scrubbing every inch when I’ve only got 20-30 mins) before and after. But if he’s really gets a good work out I always try to sponge him down full body with a liniment, unless it’s raining. Then I just do the saddle girth area… He gets a really good brush down 1-2x per week head to toe only because those are his days off and I groom heavily while he grazes. Personal time with the pony!

  10. Dee sheds all summer, too. We also have had trouble with a bit of fungus on her face this year (face and one hind leg) and she hates having her face washed! I love any product in a spray bottle and it drives my poor husband crazy! “No, that’s a coat conditioner, this one is a detangler. Yes we need both!” The only thing additional to your routine that we do is the whole “Arabian tail management” thing where we jump through a million hoops to have our whispy tails drag on the ground lol.

  11. I was tracking right with you on the pre-ride. I mean, I’m just excited that a year post-track, Courage is finally ok with me ~lightly~ using the curry mitt.

    Way to get all crazy go nuts in the post ride though! You make me want to step it up.

  12. I am intrigued by Sore No More spray. I have been putting liniment on Sydney’s shoulders after almost every ride lately, and would love something that wouldn’t get my hands all gross and tingly for the rest of the day. Can it be used in the same areas as fly spray?

  13. Simon is SHINY! All your elbow grease definitely doesn’t go to waste. Also, congrats on looking absolutely fabulous sans-stirrups! I always bounce around like a crazy person.

    I do most of my grooming before I ride, then put products on afterwards. Fly spray, liniment, and a lot of leave-in olive oil ethnic hair conditioner (I use the stuff on my own hair, helloooo silky!). Oh! And I love show sheen and marigold coat conditioner spray! Glad to hear the baby shampoo fights face fungus, Crown has a bit of hair loss around his eyes. I apply fly spray and fly masks, It also get washed and dried everyday to no avail. I’ll definitely try the baby shampoo.

  14. I am really big on the currying. Then I spray an ACV/Aloe combo and wipe them down with a grooming towel that picks up the loose hair and dirt. I use MTG too, though I’ve been slacking lately with that.

  15. I am all about the curry life. I’m also apparently the only person on the internet that wasn’t aware that Ivory soap is the shizz for white legs?! (I have a few bars, use them for sheath cleaning.)

    I use baby wipes on Moe and Gina’s faces post-ride, since neither is hot on getting sprayed in the face. I use them to wipe down the sweaty spots by their ears where the bridle touches. They work well, neither horse has had any kind of reaction to them, and they are CHEAP.

  16. Ok, so I’m a bad horse mom too! lol In the summer I do a quick brush with a medium brush, check hooves and flyspray pre-ride. My horse really hates a curry (even the jelly ones) unless it is spring and he is shedding. That is the only time he will stand to be curried. What a weirdo!

    If he gets sweaty, I’ll rinse (sometimes with linament) and scrape and chuck him back into his field. I’m lucky to have pasture, so he grazes all the time.

  17. OMG you have no idea how happy I am to hear that Simon sheds all summer!! Miles does too, but I’d NEVER seen it before and with all of his… Skin issues I was starting to freak out and attack Google. I will rest easier now haha

  18. Reading this has made me realize that I need to start putting in a little more elbow grease when it comes to my grooming routine. I usually just go over Marshall’s body with a soft brush, pick his hooves, apply fly spray, and tack up. After his ride, I give him a quick hose down and fly spray, then he’s off into his field. I don’t put in the elbow grease to make him shiny and purdy, but then I cringe at his dull and dirty-looking coat. Looks like I better dig out that curry comb and get to work!

  19. Thanks to Ohio weather and the fact I never ride, Estella only gets sweaty about once a week. So I only hose her off once or twice a week. I worry that hosing her off too much will dry out her skin. It sounds like a rinse off a day won’t matter? Does the dawn on his legs ever dry them out?

  20. Wow. Do you do this every time you ride? That makes me ashamed of the very little amount of grooming I tend to do. Of course, it’s not very hot here so I don’t have a sweat bucket that often (and when I do, he obviously gets more special care). This also reminds me that I should bath my horse…

  21. I don’t bathe him before every show. If he is covered and it is warm enough I try to bathe him at least once a month. I spend time brushing him while he is eating. It is our bonding time.

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