What's in Your Grooming Tote? by #TeamDiO Member Sara Dircks
What’s in your grooming tote? With Spring fast approaching (thank goodness!) here in the Midwest, it is MUD SEASON! Wet turnouts, muddy fields, and dirty horses! I’ve been a working student the majority of my younger years and was even a paid groom for a period of time. We’ve all been there… your horse is muddy, dusty, and gross so you run a quick brush over the tack areas and hop on! However 98% of the time I am extremely OCD about my horse’s coat. If you want your horse to shine and have everyone in the barn envy your grooming handiwork then you must put in the time for EVERY ride. Your horse’s coat starts with proper nutrition. Good hay quality is super important and a basic skin/coat/hoof supplement can go a long way. I personally use a supplement with higher doses of Biotin to promote healthy hair growth and good feet. I’m fortunate to have a horse that is relatively clean. He’s not a huge fan of the mud so if the turnout is wet, he most likely won’t roll! However if you have a horse that will spend his time rolling in the biggest mud puddle he can find… then we need to discuss the proper tools to have in your groom tote!
Here’s what is in my personal groom tote:
- 3 brushes: soft, medium, and stiff
- Rubber Curry
- Hoof Pick
- Mane/Tail Brush
- Mane/Tail detangler (I prefer a thicker liquid that I can work in the tail with my hands)
- Antifungal/Antimicrobial Lotion: perfect for the springtime when horses are prone to scratches on their legs.
- Coat Shine/Conditioner Spray: This goes hand-in- hand with the soft brush
- Bit wipes for cleaning the bit after EVERY ride
- Hoof Conditioner
- Baby Wipes: Great for wiping dirty horse noses/eyes
- Mouth Butter: To soften the corners of the horse’s mouth before bridling.
- Sugar Cubes (yep, spoiled I know)
- Last but definitely NOT least… DiO Liniment.
My biggest grooming tips are to always curry, curry, curry! Even if your horse looks clean when you take them out of their stall… make sure you go over their entire body with a rubber curry. This loosens any dust or dirt from under the coat and easily brings it to the surface for you to brush off. If your horse is particularly dusty and no amount of brushing is taking it off, that is where the coat conditioner and soft brush comes in. Spraying your horse with the coat conditioner and lightly brushing it in will then put that dust in your brush instead of on your horse. You can also choose to use a towel for that same purpose instead of the soft brush… but who wants more laundry to do?! Once your horse is all shiny and tacked up, you can use your DiO liniment on your horse’s legs BEFORE your ride as well as after. My horse had some time off this winter due to some soundness issues and now that we are back to full training, I have been using my DiO Liniment under my horse’s boots before each ride. After our workout I will groom again and use DiO again to make sure all four legs are feeling their best. I use DiO every ride to help warm up and cool down my horse’s muscles. The gel is my personal favorite and once the weather warms up, I’ll be using the liquid concentrate in a spray bottle on his back after a hose down. Happy Riding!
Sara Dircks is a 3-day eventer that attempts to juggle horse-life, work-life, and wife-life. She has a heavy love for competition and is constantly learning new ins and outs of the sport. Located in a small town in Illinois, she enjoys the company of her husband, dogs, cats, and her beloved horse Charlie.