Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Teach Me Tuesday: Thin Skinned Horses

he's definitely shiny
I have to admit, I kind of look forward to this post each week. There never seems to be a shortage of topics I don't understand and I've been surprised by the breadth of information available from other bloggers.

Here's a fun one. I love grooming horses, always have. Until Courage, I never had a horse that was what I'd call thin skinned.

But he is. He's twitchy and uncomfortable and HATES being brushed, even with the speshul majikal uber soft body brush I bought just for him. He thinks a soft rubber curry mitt (used only in the direction of the hair) is HORSE TORTURE.



he's shiny if you squint
He wiggles. He lifts his feet. He makes faces. He makes it crystal clear that he hates every moment I'm wielding a brush in his vicinity.

After taking a winter off and living the low key life style and having 1.5 years to recover physically from racing, I've finally come to accept that he is thin skinned and will never like brushing.

Unless y'all have another idea? How do you keep thin skinned horses happy and clean? Is there something I'm missing?

31 comments:

  1. Nothing to add except a lot of Thoroughbreds are like that. Many of the racehorses we had in high school were thin skinned. They got baths 4 or 5 days a week after they trained, so they just needed a quick once over with the soft brush before getting tacked up usually. Hope you get some good advice!

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  2. My TB mare was like that. She would start shedding her winter coat promptly in Feb. Don't even think about touching her with a shedding blade....you'd lose an arm.

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  3. I wonder how he would feel about a rub rag? And I have a rubber 'curry' I think he might like, it is so soft it doesn't actually remove mud.

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  4. Use a grooming mitt for mud...or one of those grooming stones. Mine are all
    Like this, I find a really soft curry with long cone shaped ends seems to keep them happy. Otherwise it's just do the most where they do enjoy it and a quick brush over the rest.

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  5. Pig hates being brushed. In the summer, I usually just use a slightly damp rag to rub him all over. Even then he swishes his tail at me when I get to his sensitive spots (stifle, belly, ears, inner thigh). In the winter, just a quick brush usually does. He isn't as shiny in the winter, but at least he isn't as grouchy either. I'm lucky that he is also allergic to dirt, and hates mud with a passion. He's the cleanest horse I've ever known. If he wasn't I think we'd have killed each other in the grooming ties long ago...

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  6. Roz is just like this. I use one of those jelly scrubbers (on the soft side), in the direction of the hair. I also do minimal brushing on his belly since he really dislikes that. I have found that's he's pretty okay with those plastic epona shedding flowers (again in the direction of the hair).

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  7. Come groom Pongo anytime you want and curry to your hearts content...go 'head get it all out! Mine has elephant hide for skin I think. I've owned a couple touchy ones and I found less is more, rags, grooming sprays (like the marigold stuff) and a good hose down after work in warm weather are your friends. Especially if even the soft goat hair type brushes are too irritating.

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  8. Miles is the King of Thin-Skinned horses. He hates to be brushed, but his coat is so terrible that he HAS to get groomed or he gets gross fungus... it's really wonderful.

    I use a lot of Laser Sheen and Healthy HairCare sprays to help keep him clean. The only brushes I use are those curry combs for faces that are pretty soft, a grooming mit and a soft brush. For shedding season, I use a Grooming Block.

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  9. I know of a Quarter Horse who has pretty thin-skin. I'm not too certain what the cause of it is, but it does happen, I know.

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  10. Is Courage any less touchy when clipping season ends? Val loves him some scrubbing, but my former trainer had several sensitive types in her tb herd.

    I second the jelly scrubber suggestion above - and they are on super sale at Dover as we speak! :D

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  11. Man, and I thought Murray was fussy! I am going to add this to the list of things of "thank goodness at least he tolerates them!" Honestly, this must be a huge bummer because I love grooming, and it's so good to get the blood moving to their skin too. Alas, I cannot help with this one.

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  12. Is it only when he's clipped? Or year round? I imagine that the clipped fur would be a little more sensitive, but I've definitely met horses that didn't care for grooming!

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  13. yea my mare doesn't love getting brushed either... kinda makes me sad!

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  14. All my horses love being groomed, which is a shame, because I'm a terrible horse owner and I hate grooming. I love winter blanketing season because I can just pull the blanket off to a nice clean horse and maybe run a soft brush over before tacking up.

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  15. I use a lot of towels on Eli, as he, too, hates being groomed a lot of the time.

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  16. Try using a towel dampened with some kind of coat moisturizer (I like the pink one made by Healthy Hair Care Products). I used to groom for a TB jumper who hated being brushed but after moisturizing his skin and coat better, he started almost enjoying it. (Almost.)

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  17. Not gonna lie, part of my attraction to TBs is that they hate being groomed and I hate grooming. The irony is that TBs are total pigs and will get themselves ridiculously filthy, then complain about the grooming process! In warm weather I use a hose to remove mud and sweat and microfiber towels to remove dust (The kind they use on cars. Good for dusting the house, too. Not that I do that very often.) In colder weather I just remove the mud where the saddle goes with the curry and let them fret over my "brutality".

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  18. Ghazal was and still is like this. What worked for us is I brushed him in his stall with him loose. I know not exactly the safest thing but it worked well for us. It allowed Ghazal to move around some and he didn't mind me brushing nearly as much that way, especially if there was something for him to much on.

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  19. Harley doesn't mind grooming, but I have to keep it to a minimum due to his allergies. Jelly scrubber, damp towels, and a quick shower do the trick.

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  20. Copper isn't thin skinned per say; but he is a little more fussy than some other horses I know. He definitely prefers soft rubber, and soft brushes rather than anything else.. An you can't touch him with any other than his baby sized goat's hair brush on his face. It's weird 'coz he's a Standardbred and it took me forever to twig that he was sensitive. I just didn't expect it!

    I like the suggestion of microfiber cloths; because they do pick up dust and dirt really well, and though I've haven't tried them on a horse, I bet they would shine up the pony really nicely!

    bonita of A Riding Habit

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  21. When I was grooming for a GP dressage rider we had several with thin skin that we just used a slightly damp towel and "wisked" them over - they always had glorious coats and were much happier with being toweled as opposed to brushed :)

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  22. I literally have zero clue because Bacardi is the exact same. Sorry I have no input haha.

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  23. I'd go the damp towel/sponge route to remove any dust.
    Archie is thin-skinned too (it drives me nuts!). He's seriously touchy about insects, brushing and hosing (unless it's a dribble of water). He is rugged 24/7 and thankfully he's a clean horse so our grooming sessions are minimal.

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  24. I have literally no advice because I've always had Quarter Horses who would be happy if body builders groomed them with metal shedding blades year round. Maybe they just have skin made of diamonds...
    Then again, Coorina's winter coat was literally, I kid you not, alpaca hair. The super soft tufty fluffy stuff.. Like a baby duck.

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  25. I think it boils down to horse personal preference over actual thin-skinned-ness.
    For example, O, the horse with paper skin that literally chafes herself raw on her own skin folds when she gets sweaty, LOVES to be brushed. Like, will follow you around like a little lamb and put her head in your arms and BEG for you to brush her. She LOVES it. And she doesn't care about being girthed up, tacked up, whatever - doesn't flinch, doesn't move, doesn't care.
    P, on the other hand, who is kind of a yak, doesn't like to be brushed at all. She's not flinchy as in will get her skin flicking and squirming under your brush, she'll just turn her head and glare at you while you brush her. Not with her ears back, just with THAT look in her eye. I have no doubt that she bit her old owner a fair number of times over brushing. This also applies to girthing up, tacking up in general, flymasks, blankets, etc - she hates them all and wants nothing more than to be totally feral.

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    1. Oh, and if you curry O vigorously, she'll turn around and groom you back with gusto. Paper skinned but loves her brushing time... I don't get it.

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  26. Mare tolerates brushing but only with the soft brushes - and that's barely tolerating. She loves a good curry on her shoulders, neck, and hamstrings. She hates belly brushing.

    I don't clip but do blanket due to her thin winter coat - and man, do I love pulling the blanket off to a nice, almost clean coat underneath. A couple wipes with a rag or soft brush (if I'm feeling it) and we are good to go.

    Makes me miss the ponies I had growing up - they loved to be groomed and would stand there and soak it up.

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  27. I'm looking forward to reading everyone's comments here in a minute because my red horse HATES THE BRUSHES and the BLANKETS and the SADDLE PADS and the GIRTHS. The best thing I've found is one of those sisal grooming mitts. He hates it, but so far I haven't been bitten when using it.

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  28. 1. prevention via moisturizer spray after every ride. all over.
    2. soft rags for most grooming. soft curry in direction of hair only to loosen crusty mud spots.
    Hemie is sensitive but luckily not a grouch about it. But finding this method has really helped him be more comfortable.

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  29. My OTTB is truly awful. Strangely enough he seems to like deep, steady, soft pressure better than light pressure - he doesn't like to be scoured with a currycomb, but long, slow, firm strokes with a bodybrush are his friend. Flicking the brush lightly over him just annoys him. He still wiggles and squiggles and paws the ground during many groomings, but he's more ticklish and silly than anything else.

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