Massage While You Groom

How much time per day do you spend grooming your horse? It probably varies depending on what needs to be done.
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How much time per day do you spend grooming your horse? It probably varies between a minimum of five minutes to sometimes as long as 30 minutes, depending on what needs to be done. Over the months and years, this time adds up to a significant amount. Ten minutes, daily, becomes eight hours of time spent in grooming each month! Why not take this quantity of time and make it quality time? Why not use this time to deepen your relationship with your horse? Why not massage while you groom?

The primary goal of any grooming session is to remove dirt from your horse’s coat, clean his hooves, and generally make him presentable and comfortable for riding. The brush is the primary tool for this endeavor. To incorporate massage into your grooming routine, you will need to use other grooming tools that allow closer contact between your hand and the horse.

Rubber mitts and soft rubber-fingered curry combs, such as the Unigroom, are wonderful massage tools. These are great for dislodging the dirt left from a good roll in the field as well as for shaking loose dead hair and skin cells. The added benefit is the pleasantly stimulating effect of the soft "fingers" as you rub in a circular motion over the body. A chamois cloth will help you give a shine to your horse’s coat while you carry out traditional massage strokes. These tools will help you unite the goals of getting your horse clean and massaging him at the same time.

Begin your grooming massage at the poll, to relax the neck and cause the horse to lower his head. Use a slow, small, circular motion to relax the capitis and splenius muscles of the upper neck as well as the nuchal ligament. Rub behind the ears on first one side of the head, then the other. Then rub the bridle path, while encouraging your horse to lower his head

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Mimi Porter lives in Lexington, Ky., where she has practiced equine therapy since 1982. Prior to that, she spent 10 years as an athletic trainer at the University of Kentucky. Porter authored The New Equine Sports Therapy

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