What Are the Different Types of Horse Grooming Supplies?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

One of the staples of horse ownership is regular grooming. There are many different types of horse grooming supplies that can help make the process easier while ensuring a thorough job. Some of the most common kinds of horse grooming supplies include curry brushes, mane combs, hoof picks, and finishing cloths. Other grooming products include mane and tail conditioners, hoof oil, and wide variety of horse “beauty products.”

Hoof picks are used to clean a horse's hooves.
Hoof picks are used to clean a horse's hooves.

A curry comb and coat brushes are essential horse grooming supplies for a thorough cleaning. A curry comb is typically used at the beginning of grooming; some people may use a curry mitt, which can be worn like a glove, for easier use. These brushes are typically used in a circular motion over the coat, to help loosen any dirt, dust, or debris. Currying tools are followed by use of a dandy brush, which whisks the loosened dirt out of the coat. For finicky horses, gentle versions of the curry and dandy brushes may be helpful for sensitive areas of the skin.

Daily horse grooming requires specific tools such as conditioners, hoof oil, a curry comb and coat brushes.
Daily horse grooming requires specific tools such as conditioners, hoof oil, a curry comb and coat brushes.

Mane and tail horse grooming supplies often include a wide-toothed comb for detangling. Some owners may choose to start with a heavy bristle brush in order to work out the larger tangles, then switch to a mane comb for finer details. Using mane and tail combs on a regular basis helps prevent knots or mats from forming, and can be good preparation for braiding.

One of the most important horse grooming supplies is the hoof pick. This is a hand-held tool with a flat hook on one end, used to clean accumulated matter out of the crevices in the hoof. It is important to get professional instruction on how to properly use a hoof pick, as the hook edge can harm the horse if used incorrectly. Hoof cleaning may be done before or after mane and coat grooming, but it is an essential part of the grooming process.

To give a horse's coat a gleaming finish, grooming is often completed with a finishing polish. A finishing brush or polishing cloth can be rubbed over the coat with large, sweeping motions. This helps smooth down the hair raised through brushing and increases the oil on the skin, so that the horse appears shiny and squeaky clean.

In addition to basic horse grooming supplies, some owners or riders may want to invest in additional products after checking with a veterinarian for suitability. Mane and tail conditioners help reduce tangles, and can give longer manes and tails a more glossy, manageable texture. Hoof oil or ointment is often recommended for horses with a history of hoof problems; the oil helps moisturize the hoof and can help protect against chipping or cracks. Horse beauty products, such as color-enhancing shampoos and coat polish are sometimes used on show horses to make them more aesthetically pleasing in the judging ring.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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Discussion Comments


@Mor - I do think a horse or pony can be a good way to teach a child responsibility, but it definitely should not be with a family where no one knows how to care for it.

With that said, it's not necessary to groom a horse from top to bottom every day, as long as they are being kept comfortable and healthy. They survive in the wild without being groomed, after all.


@pleonasm - I'm of the opinion that anyone who is learning how to ride needs to also learn how to care for horses and for tack as well. When I was growing up my father had the habit of getting us animals from the local newspaper if they were being advertised for free or for a very low price and we ended up with several horses this way (we owned a fairly large chunk of land, so we had room and facilities for them).

Often the poor things came from spoiled children who had begged for a horse as a pet, but didn't have the first clue how to take care of them.

It's complicated and skilled labor and it has to be done regularly or the horse will suffer. When I think about how matted the manes were on those horses when we got them, and how one of them had cracked hooves because he hadn't seen a farrier for years, it makes me very mad. It's not enough to just feed them and ride them for a few minutes a week. Grooming is just the beginning of the basics.


I just love grooming a horse. The stable where I used to have lessons would offer us discounts if we would help to groom the spare horses, but I honestly would have done it for free.

It's just a lovely routine, and it's very satisfying making the horse feel more comfortable by brushing them down and picking out their hooves and so forth. I think I like it almost as much as I love riding.

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