Horse Brushes Explained (2023)

Horse Brushes Explained (1)

So Many Different Brushes

There are so many different horse brushes available. Some have colorful bristles, some have short bristles, and some have long bristles. But which kind of brush do you use when? I thought it would be fun to go over some different horse brushes and kind of demystify which brushes you need to be using for your horse, and when you should be using them.

Curry Comb

A curry comb is a brush that every horse owner has seen, and probably uses. In fact the curry comb is the first brush I use when I’m grooming, and I continue using it through the entire grooming process. A curry comb can be made from metal, or hard rubber. I personally prefer the hard rubber style. And it helps to loosen up the dirt and dander of the horses coat while distributing the deep down natural oils of his skin, beneath the coat of hair.

To use a curry comb, you want to make sure the teeth of the curry are not sharp, which is why I never use a metal curry on my horses. I only use the rubber version. And I move the curry in a circular pattern all along the neck, body, stomach and hindquarters of my horses. I don’t use the curry on their legs, and it could be uncomfortable for them.

(Video) Horse Brushes Explained

And as I rub the curry in a circular pattern, I will see the dirt and dust work it’s way up to the surface of the coat, and you can see it. And every once in a while, I will remove the curry comb and bounce it on my leg, or the back of another brush to get the accumulated dust and hair out. And I apologize for the dirty curry comb in this picture, but hey, this is real, and my favorite grooming tool!

Horse Brushes Explained (3)

A curry comb is one of the best tools to really get a glowing and shiny coat on your horse, even in the wintertime! The rubber is usually gentle enough to give a massage as well as distributing the oils of the coat, this is what gives you that shine. This is why I always start with the curry comb when I’m grooming my horses.

The curry comb I love best is made from rubber, and it has a web style hand strap. This way it conforms to my hand and I can really get in there and rub (or curry) my horses. A good thing to remember, if you get tired by the time you are done currying your horse, you’re doing it right.

Dandy Brush

A dandy brush is a long oval brush with stiff, long bristles. The action of the dandy brush is to capture the loose dirt and hair that has been brought to the surface with the curry comb, and you can brush or flick that excess dirt and hair away. The bristles can be natural (rice root bristles) or synthetic. But the bristles of the dandy brush need to be stiff in order to do their job.

(Video) What are the different horse brushes?

Horse Brushes Explained (4)

So after I curry my horse, I use a dandy brush to remove the dirt and hair that has been loosened up. And even though I am using the dandy brush, I have my rubber curry in the other hand. And after a few swipes on my horse’s body with the dandy brush, I knock the bristles with the curry comb. This helps to remove the dirt and hair in the dandy brush so I don’t just transfer it to another part of my horses body.

I have several different dandy brushes that I use for different times of the year for my horses. In the winter and early spring when there is mud, I use a rice root dandy brush. The bristles are fantastic at removing mud, and brushing through the thicker, longer winter coat that my horses tend to develop. And when they shed out and have a shorter summer coat, I use more of a flick style dandy brush. The bristles are long, but a little bit softer and are a little gentler on their skin.

Body Brush

A body brush is a brush with shorter bristles. And I have found most of my preferred body brushes have a hand strap to hold your hand in the brush. And the job of the body brush is to again, distribute the oils of the coat which will produce a deep shine or glow to the coat. And it also helps to remove some dirt and loose hair. The bristles are typically some sort of natural hair. The bristles can be soft or firm, but they are seldom as stiff is a dandy brush.

Horse Brushes Explained (5)

(Video) How to Groom a Horse + What's in my Grooming Kit + Tips for Grey Ponies AD | This Esme

And as with my dandy brush, I use my curry comb along with my body brush to knock out the loose dirt and hair. But when I am using the body brush I knock out the loose stuff after every other stroke of the body brush. If I am transferring hair and dirt, well then I’m just moving it around my horse, and not getting rid of it. So after every other brush stroke, I knock the loose dirt out with my curry comb.

Face Brush

A face brush is a super soft brush that is small and reserved for the horse’s face. If you are brushing your horses face, you want to use a very soft brush for this sensitive area.

Horse Brushes Explained (6)

My horses LOVE to have their faces brushed with the super soft brush. It must feel good, because when we get to this part of the grooming session, they always lower their heads and close their eyes. They love having their faces brushed with a super soft brush! And I did get this brush in one of my Saddle Box subscription boxes, and I couldn’t be happier!

Finishing Brush

Horse Brushes Explained (7)

(Video) How to Groom a Horse (Step-By-Step Guide)

A finishing brush is just what it’s name implies, the finishing of your grooming. The bristles are super soft, like a face brush, and are typically made from natural bristles. The soft bristles help the natural oils to glide along the coat, and smooth everything out. The finishing brush also removes any traces of dust that may have accumulated after you have finished your brushing.

Rub Rag

Horse Brushes Explained (8)

And once you have completed all of your brushing, you can get the dust off and add a shine by using a rub rag. It has been my experience that any soft rag or towel can be used as a final rub rag. And what I like to do is take my old towels and washcloths and use them as rub rags for my horses. It is an affordable alternative to buying “real” rub rags, and they work just as good.

Brushes Need Care Too

And after you have assembled your grooming brushes, don’t forget to clean them from time to time. It isn’t hard, and I like to do this in a bucket of warm water, or even in my kitchen sink. I have washed all my brushes, even the really expensive ones, and never had any issues with them. Your brushes are an investment, a tool to be used to keep your horse clean and gorgeous. So take care of them! I actually made a video showing you how to wash your horse brushes, in case you are more of a visual learner.

Horse Brushes Explained (9)

(Video) Learn how to properly brush your horse in 5 mins

After you wash them, rest them on their sides, or bristles for shorter brushes in the sun to dry. Then store them on their backs so you don’t crimp or bend the bristles. This will keep them In great shape and ready to use on your horse.


What horse brushes are used for what? ›

body brush and curry comb - the body brush is the main brush used on a stabled horse. It's used to remove dirt, dust, and scurf from the skin. The curry comb is used to keep it clean.

What order should horse brushes be? ›

Curry your horse

As you go over their coat, you should see dirt particles rise up from the skin for easier brushing later. Begin on their left side, working from ear to tail, avoiding the head, mane, tail, and lower legs, and taking care when going over bony sections of the shoulders, hips, and legs.

What is the brush used to brush more sensitive parts of the horse called? ›

Face Brush

Face brushes are essentially very soft, smaller brushes that can easily be used to brush the grooves and sensitive areas of the horse's face. Face bushes are the right product for making sure even their forehead, eyes, and muzzle are clean and have a healthy shine. Shop All Face Brushes.

What does a hard brush do for a horse? ›

Hard Brush or Dandy Brush

The Hard Brush is an essential item to have in your grooming kit. It has long, coarse bristles that are great for removing heavy dirt and dried mud from the legs and face.

How often should you brush a horse? ›

Daily grooming for your horse is recommended. When this is not possible, grooming at least three times a week is required to keep a horse's coat in good condition.

What is the 1 2 3 rule horses? ›

Remember the 1-2-3 rule.

1: Foals should stand by one hour of age. 2: Foals should successfully nurse by two hours of age. 3: Mares should pass her fetal membranes within three hours of delivery.

What brush do you use first on a horse? ›

A curry comb is often a circular brush that has a hand strap. This type of brush has sets of teeth on it that will be used to lift and loosen dirt from the horse's coat. Because of this, it should be the first brush you use when you start to groom your horse.

Do you brush a horse before or after a bath? ›

Before bath time, brush as much dirt as possible from your horse's coat. Then, either fill a bucket or tub with moderately warm water or set your hose on “shower/spray” and check the temperature of the stream (comfort is key).

Do you comb or slicker first? ›

Groomer Brittany says, “The slicker brush is the best and should be used first. It shouldn't take a lot of pressure to use. If it doesn't slide through easily, use a detangler or combine conditioner and water to create your own.

How do you groom a horse for beginners? ›

  1. Step 1: Use a Lead Rope to Secure Your Horse. ...
  2. Step 2: Use the Curry Comb to Loosen Excess Dirt and Mud. ...
  3. Step 3: Use a Hard/stiff Brush to Remove Dirt and Mud. ...
  4. Step 4: Use a Soft Brush to Remove Any Remaining Dust and to Groom Sensitive Areas. ...
  5. Step 5: Use a Sponge or Washcloth to Clean Your Horse's Face.

Do you brush or comb first? ›

As a rule of thumb, use a comb first before you use a brush. The comb will detangle and style your beard, particularly longer beards, while a brush adds the finishing touches and helps hold your style in place. There's not much need to use a brush and a comb during your beard's early growth stages.

What brush do you use on a horses mane and tail? ›

The best are hard brushes or those designed to brush manes and tails. We do not recommend combing your horses tail with a regular comb, because your horse's hair is very thick and instead of combing it you might only make more tangles and cause a lot of hair to fall out.

Why do people brush horses all the time? ›

The main reasons for daily grooming include: Improved health of the skin and coat. Decreases the chance of various health problems such as thrush, scratches, and other skin problems. Cleans the horse, so chafing does not occur under areas of tack.

What is a flicky brush? ›

Horse Flick Brushes

Flick brushes are manufactured with strong, tough bristles that enable dust, dandruff, and other debris to be removed effortlessly from your horse's coat.

Why do people brush horses with straw? ›

Using the grooming cloth to polish the horse's coat and wipe its eyes, nostrils and muzzle. If the horse was wet, a whisp made of straw or hay was used as a sponge to dry its coat.

Should you brush a wet horse? ›

If your horse has come in from the field muddy and wet, then he will need to dry off before he can be groomed. Brushing a muddy, wet horse just brushes the mud deeper into the coat instead of out of it.

How often should you pick up horse poop? ›

Poo-picking your paddock, especially if it's a smaller one, helps to keep the pasture palatable as well as reducing weeds and the worm burden of any horses grazing the field. You should poo-pick at least twice a week and ideally more often than that.

Should you scrape a horse after hosing? ›

Application of water without scraping may help decrease the core body temperature in horses more effectively in the early stage of exertional heat illness.”

Do horses like to be washed? ›

Start slowly; most horses love a bath, but for those that are nervous you may want to use a bucket of water in lieu of a hose, washcloth and sponge at first.

What is the 80 20 rule horses? ›

This has also been described as the '20/80 rule', with approximately 20% of horses responsible for 80% of the total strongyle egg output [29,33,34]. Thus, it is imperative to identify these “high egg shedders” and ensure that they get treated in order to reduce the infection pressure [8,33,35].

What is the golden rule of horses? ›

Whatever movement you're riding, your horse should stay listening to you and not take over. Always have in your mind that you must be in control of each and every step he takes.

What is the 20 rule in horse riding? ›

The researchers found that an average adult light riding horse could comfortably carry about 20 percent of their ideal bodyweight. This result agrees with the value recommended by the Certified Horsemanship Association and the U.S. Cavalry Manuals of Horse Management published in 1920.

How long do you soak a horse brush? ›

Dissolve some of your equine shampoo in the water. Place the grooming brushes bristles down into the warm water. Make sure the water does NOT touch the wood! Let soak for about 3 minutes.

How do you touch a horse for the first time? ›

Get your horse used to your touch

Standing on the near side of your horse, reach over the barrel, drape your arms over his sides and squeeze and pat all over him. Stand up straight, remove your arms, and repeat this a few times – your horse should accept this without flinching or tightening his back up in response.

What happens if you don't groom your horse? ›

It can help to keep their coat clean and keep your horse comfortable. But the most important reason you should groom your horse regularly is because of their hooves. If you don't groom your horse's hooves regularly and remove any trapped stones, this could result in injury for your horse, such as a lame leg.

How many times a month should you bathe your horse? ›

While there is no definitive rule about how often to bathe your horse, it IS critical to make sure the natural oils in your horse's coat and skin are not stripped away with over-bathing. Bathing your horse too often will leave the coat dry and flaky and the unprotected skin prone to infections.

Why do horses roll in the dirt after a bath? ›

Why do horses roll after getting a bath? In nature, horses often roll to dry themselves off, so they'll often roll immediately after a bath. Dirt also acts as a natural conditioner and insect repellant.

What is the difference between a slicker and a pin brush? ›

A pin brush is a gentler brush than the slicker but won't remove loose hair quite as well. Pin brushes have widely spaced bristle with a soft protective cap at the end of each bristle to be soft against your dog's skin.

Should you comb when wet or dry? ›

Hair that's wet and filled with moisture is more fragile than hair that's dry, which can result in snapping when brushed. As such, it's recommended to brush hair in a dry state (guide-to-detangling-curls). This may mean allowing your hair to air-dry post-shower before beginning to comb through hair strands.

What is different about a slicker brush? ›

Slicker brushes come in various sizes, both flat and curved with close set wire teeth that are either soft or firm. A firm slicker is ideal for wavy dense coats and the soft for silkier finer coats. The size of the slicker will depend on the size of your dog. The bigger the dog the bigger the brush is recommended.

What is the first thing to teach a horse? ›

What is this? Groundwork is a great way to introduce new training to your horse. If you want to train a horse under saddle, groundwork would be the first place you start.

How do you groom a horse that doesn't like it? ›

For horses that shy away from the sticky bristles of a hard or even soft brush, there are some other grooming tools you can try instead. A rub rag – or a dedicated towel – maybe used to rub into your horse's coat. Plenty of equestrian companies make soft, fleece “grooming mitts” which may work in place of a brush.

Is a wet brush better than a comb? ›

First of all, a comb will always be a better tool for your hair when wet than a brush because a hair brush can cause more breakage than a comb since the bristle is more narrow.

What is the difference between boar and horse beard brush? ›

Boar hair is a stiffer shaving brush hair that softens with use. Horse hair is a softer option. Both certainly whip up a great lather!

What is the difference between horse and boar bristle brush? ›

The boar hair brush is in general more tough and rough than the bristles of a horse hair brush and is suited for cleaning leather with texture, such as pebble grain leathers and shoes with broguing. The tougher boar hair gets deeper in the leather to remove accumulated polish and dirt.

Are all horse hair brushes the same? ›

Horsehair brushes can vary greatly in size depending on what type of brush you want and what purpose you have for it. Brushes used to clean shoes, for example, are large enough to cover the length of one's hand, and this works to your advantage as you can clean shoes more quickly.

Is it good to brush your horse everyday? ›

As an equestrian, you will already know that by grooming your horse daily you are increasing blood flow to the surface of the skin, therefore helping to maintain healthy skin and coat but also affording you the opportunity to check your horse over for any lumps, bumps and cuts.

When should you use a boar bristle brush? ›

Fine to Medium Hair: Pure Boar Bristle Brush

Fine-to-medium hair may be easy to maintain and style with any old brush, but boar bristle brushes are really the gold standard for creating polished strands. They actually lift away dirt, dust, and debris, while redistributing the scalp's natural oils from root to tip.

Do I really need a boar bristle brush? ›

A boar bristle hairbrush helps prevent hair breakage, seal split ends, and minimizes frizz. As a result, this makes it better than any anti-frizz product available on the market today. On top of that, it gives hair more elasticity and minimizes breakage.

How do I know if my brush is boar bristle? ›

“The only way that consumers will know is by the look of each of the bristles; if each of the bristles is trifurcate, that means it is pig's bristle. Goat or sheep's hair meanwhile have sharp ends.

Are horse hair brushes better? ›

Softer than synthetic and boar: While horse hair is tougher than badger, it is softer than both bore hair and synthetic brushes. This means they could be a fantastic option if you have sensitive skin as it will cause less irritation.

Why are boar bristle brushes better? ›

Because they are rich in keratin, boar bristles improve the elasticity, waterproofing and resistance of our hair. But that's not all: they also allow for gentle detangling and better sebum distribution. After brushing, the hair is nourished, soothed and shiny: it comes back to life! Brushing is essential for hair care.

What type of brush bristles are best? ›

Boar bristle brushes are popular because of their ability to redistribute the natural, healthy oils in the scalp, which enhances hair health and creates smooth, shiny locks.

What is the best brand of horse brushes? ›

  • 1 SleekEZ Horse Brush – Best Overall.
  • 2 Wahl Professional Horse Brush – Great Design.
  • 3 Mane And Tail Horse Brush – Most Versatile.
  • 4 Decker FB21 Face Brush For Horses – Best Grip.
  • 5 JT International Horse Brush – High-Quality Materials.
Jan 17, 2023

How do you differentiate the 2 types of hair brush bristles? ›

Hair brushes not only detangle your hair and reduce frizz but also improve hair texture and style. A vented brush is great for blowdrying your hair, while a round hair brush is great for styling and blowouts. A boar bristle brush is suitable for curly hair, and a paddle brush is great for detangling straight hair.

Should you let a horse rub on you? ›

Even though some horses rub their head on humans as a way to show affection, it's a behavior that should be discouraged due to the risk of injury. Keep reading for tips on redirecting.


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