Horse Brushes Explained

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.

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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.

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

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.

Horse Brushes Explained

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

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

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

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

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

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.