Best Horse Shedding Tool
Ah, shedding season. When every grooming session becomes an upper body workout. When every grooming session is an exercise in transferring all your horse’s hair from his body to your own, and he looks just the same at the end after an hour as he did at the beginning. While the best thing to get the hair off your horse is still good, old-fashioned elbow grease, there are a few tools on the market these days that can make your job at least a little bit easier.
These gloves are just like regular gloves with rubber nubs on the palms and the bottom side of each finger. They are known for being comfortable and easy to use. They can be used on horses, dogs, cats, and virtually any other furry animal. As they fit on the hands, it is easy to get into hard-to-reach places such as between the horse’s legs, around the ears and on the face, and under the horse’s heels. The gloves have an action that is comparable to a rubber curry comb, but many horses who seem to be ticklish when faced with a rubber curry enjoy the Hands-On Grooming gloves. The added benefit is that they remove hair with each stroke; they need not be moved in a circular motion. The main downside to this grooming tool is that its smaller size gives it a greater risk of being lost, or getting stuck behind a tack trunk or piece of equipment. But the animals really love getting spoiled with these gloves (which are available in a variety of colors), and if you have a pair, you will quickly become popular with the whole stable full of horses, goats, sheep, barn cats, and local dogs.
One of the most popular tools to come out onto the equestrian market in recent years, the StripHair grooming tool is a long, flexible, firm piece of rubber with nubs of various sizes throughout both sides. It looks something like a manicurists nail file with different textures on different sides. The rubber seems to pull the loose hair to itself like a magnet, and can be used in hard-to-reach places like between tendons, behind fetlocks, and on faces. The main complaint that consumers have about this tool is the rather steep price tag. However, the raving customer reviews about its efficacy seem to show that this is money well spent. Of all the products mentioned today, this is the product that seems to save the most grooming time.
A form of curry comb, the jelly scrubber is made of softer, more flexible rubber and has differently shaped nubs than a classic curry comb. Since its action is gentler, it can be a good choice for ticklish horses, and it adapts to the groomer’s hand nicely. I have two, and I like to put one on each of my hands when my horse is grazing in the pasture, or eating from his haybag at night, and give him a good whole-body curry session. You can even get jelly scrubbers with massage rollers on one side, and many horses really enjoy getting a rubdown along the major muscle groups. Jelly scrubbers have the additional advantage that they can be used in summertime to work up a shampoo lather during a bath. The massage roller balls, however, can have a tendency to fall out.
Many people who have been around horses for a while will be familiar with the shedding blade. In the shape of a loop, it has a plastic handle with a loop of metal coming out the end. One side of the metal loop has little metal teeth, and the other side is smooth. The smooth end can be used as a sweat scraper in the summer, to get excess water off the horse after a bath, and the side with teeth is effective for getting excessive fur off the horse during shedding. The rough side has the additional benefit that it is effective at getting dried mud out of the horse’s coat. One downside to this tool are the fact that it is not very effective at getting wet mud out of a horse’s coat. Additionally, for thin skinned horses or horses who do not have a supremely thick coat, the teeth can be too sharp, scratching or even cutting the horse’s skin. Care must be taken to be sure that as the teeth get crooked (and they do, given how thin the metal is), they do not damage the horse’s skin.
Any pony crazy child learns early what a currycomb is for. Move it in circles, the same direction the hair grows, to loosen shedding fur and dried mud from the horse’s coat. This is, in many ways, the classic and most effective way to get rid of the excessive fur on a horse’s coat. The advantage that currycombs have over metal shedding blades is that the circular motion stimulates the skin itself to produce more oils and shed old skin cells. This improves the sheen in the coat from a cosmetic perspective, in addition to improving its overall health. This massaging motion also stimulates circulation and for most horses it is supremely comfortable. The main disadvantage is actually another advantage for horse owners – it is a lot of work, and produces impressive arm muscles!
While you may be tempted to cry, shave your horse’s hair completely off, or simply ignore him until the next cold snap, there is no need to despair. There are plenty of tools that can help turn your favorite wooly mammoth into a sleek and beautiful horse once again. With some elbow grease, and a little help from your favorite of the grooming tools mentioned above, you can help the transition from colder months to warmer months happen more quickly and more comfortably. And regardless, you know your friends will be admiring your arm muscles that you get from the extra grooming!
What grooming product appealed to you the most?