By: Deb Kitchenmaster

What triggers horses to let go of their winter coats? If you said ‘the length of day,’ you stated the biggest influencing factor. Yes. The biggest factor is LIGHT. Less light triggers fuzzy winter coats. More daylight tells your horse to LET GO of its winter coat for something more comfortable.

As we are enjoying more daylight, our horses are enjoying ‘letting go’ of what no longer serves them -- winter coats. The horse’s pituitary gland recognizes this change in daylight hours and produces hormones that cause a horse to shed its winter coat. Vigorous grooming can remove all the ‘let go’ hair on your horse’s body. A shedding blade is used by many groomers, using the jagged edge of the blade to collect large amounts of hair. When the hair is thrown out on the manure pile, our feathered friends will come and gather what they need to make their nests this spring. Some groomers prefer using a curry comb. This tool is useful in removing dirt, old hair, and debris from your horse. To be most effective, it should be used in a circular motion. Remember to be gentle when you are grooming under areas of the face and below the knees and hocks, as these areas have little muscle and are sensitive areas.

I have and use on our horses a shedding blade and a curry comb this time of the year; but let me tell you about a ‘new’ tool I got a few weeks ago. It’s called StripHair Gentle Groomer. There is no metal in this grooming tool. It has effective cleaning diamonds. When used at a 45 degree angle, it will remove loose hair and add shine. Large diamonds remove dried mud and sweat, as well as lather shampoo. Small diamonds and tapered ends comfortably groom the face and legs. This tool has orange and olive oils in the material which increase durability, performance, and benefit. Anti-microbial agents and nonporous structure provide lasting sanitation. Contact information would be STRIPHAIR.COM or Betty’s Best, PO. Box 507, Santa Ynez, CA 93460, phone (805)500-8298.

The day my StripHair Gentle Groomer came in the mail, I headed to the barn. I groomed horses outside and inside the barn. Each horse’s body language yelled, “Yes! This is wonderful.” The stallion closed his eyes and gently stood the entire grooming. Usually, he likes to mess around in a playful sort of way. The horses and I are enjoying our new grooming tool. My grooming bucket has five items in it at this time: 1. StripHair Gentle Groomer, 2. Cordless clipper for bridle paths, 3. Coconut oil, 4. Hoof pick, 5. Scissors

What are some of the benefits of grooming a horse rather than it shedding its winter coat? Grooming gets your hands on your horse. What better way to assess your horse’s health. Touching the horse tells you if the horse is sensitive in a particular area. You will notice scratches or swelling. A good grooming session will let you pick up on any of these things prior to it possibly becoming an issue. Grooming increases blood flow to the skin’s surface and massages large muscle groups. Hoof picking keeps the feet clean and helps prevent common hoof issues such as thrush, a bacterial disease of the sole. Horses out in the wild are not groomed, but they have each other; and mutual grooming takes the place of brushes and combs.

Grooming is good exercise for you. As you are moving your grooming tool across your horse’s top line, you will be working your shoulders and triceps. How’s that for an exercise workout? Save yourself a gym membership -- groom a horse.

Grooming is a great opportunity to bond with your horse. You’re not requiring your horse to perform any work; you simply are letting your horse relax as you spend this time with your horse, benefiting both you and your horse’s relationship. And as you groom your horse, you may want to ask yourself if there is anything or any area in your life that would benefit by your ‘letting go.’ If letting go seems to be more of a challenge than you can handle as well as with your horse, take a deep breath, ask Jesus for help, and breathe in courage. If you are a reader (which I’m thinking you are because you are reading this), may I suggest a book by author Joseph Prince entitled LIVE THE LET-GO LIFE, where he talks about how to break free from stress, worry and anxiety?
By: Deb Kitchenmaster

Your “NEIGH” bor,

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