The Rider's Guide to Horse Grooming Supplies

by Michelle Drum January 15, 2021 4 min read

Grooming horse with a Curry Brush

Grooming is a great way to spend time with your horse. And regular grooming helps to keep your horse in top shape — it removes sweat, dirt, and loose hair from the coat, mane, tail, and hooves. Grooming helps increase your horse’s circulation and production of natural oils in the skin. This, in turn, gives your horse’s coat a healthy shine and brings out natural dapples. Regular grooming also serves another important purpose as an early warning system to alert you to issues that may require medical care.

The wide range of horse grooming supplies available to assist you with this important task can be overwhelming. But don’t worry, we’ve got you! This guide tells you all you need to know about essential horse grooming supplies and also includes some optional tools you might find beneficial.

Essential Horse-Grooming Toolkit

While there are many horse-grooming tools that you may want to use, here is the core list that will make up your horse-grooming kit:

  • Curry comb
  • Stiff brush, or dandy brush
  • Soft brush
  • Hoof pick
  • Sponge or soft cloth
  • Brush for mane and tail
  • Rub rag (old barn towel)


Each of the horse-grooming tools in your kit serves a very specific purpose for the care of your horse. Let’s look at each of these tools, including what they’re used for and some examples available for sale.

Curry Comb

A curry comb is a tool with soft rubber teeth or nubs that loosens debris and shedding hair while gently stimulating circulation in the horse’s skin and muscles. Think of it as a gentle massage that simultaneously grooms your horse. It’s the first tool you use when you groom and an essential tool for your kit.

Dandy/Stiff Brush

A dandy brush is a stiff-bristled brush used to remove the heaviest layer of loosened hair and dirt. It’s generally used after currying a horse to groom the horse more deeply. It’s a good brush for removing dried mud from a horse’s legs and can be helpful with removing mud from hooves as well.

The hard bristles are made of coarse, natural animal hair or synthetic fibers. Dandy brushes are contoured to fit well in the hand, providing a good grip. Brushes can range in coarseness so try some options to see what your horse will tolerate as not all can tolerate the stiffness of this brush.

Soft Brush

A soft brush, sometimes called a finishing brush or a body brush, is used after currying a horse and brushing it with a dandy brush. It has soft, fine bristles that are positioned closely together to remove fine dust and dirt from a horse’s coat. It’s also used to smooth out the hair and when you use a soft brush, you may find that your horse’s coat has more of a shine to it.

They are available in a range from medium-stiff to medium-soft and can be helpful for especially sensitive horses or for horses who don’t require a stiff dandy brush. Bristles are available in natural or synthetic styles or a blend of both. They’re oval in shape and often have a leather strap positioned over the handle.

Hoof Pick

A hoof pick is the most important horse-grooming tool. Keeping a horse’s hooves healthy is critical for their wellbeing. If you only have the time to do one thing daily, it should be to pick out your horse’s hooves, clearing them of sticks, caked mud, stones, and other small objects. Hoof picks come in a range of styles.


Other Helpful Horse Grooming Tools

There are some other tools you may want to consider adding to your grooming kit, though they are not absolutely required.

    • Clippers or scissors — Can be used to tidy tails and manes as needed
    • Grooming spray — This is used for a nice healthy shine or when you need a little help with detangling your horse’s mane and tail
    • Pulling comb — It’s the simplest tool to pull manes and can be helpful for horses in sport disciplines like jumper, hunter, and dressage.
    • Shedding blade — Especially useful during the shedding season, this tool has tiny metal teeth to remove loose hair.
    • Shires Groomi Shedding Tool Our new favorite shedding tool, grabs the loose hair and slides it off with ease. 


    Recommended Brushes and Tools for Your Horse-Grooming Kit

    Here are some of the brushes and tools we recommend based on our own experiences and customer feedback:

    Humane Rubber Curry ($5.95)

    This curry comb is designed for removing mud and dirt effectively. It’s made with flexible rubber and includes a convenient hand strap. The measurements are 6” x 4 ½”.

    Mud Brush ($6.95)

    This stiff mud brush is kiln-dried and has a double-lacquered and pocket-sized hardwood brush block designed to fit in a back pocket or grooming kit. The bristles are oiled palmyra fiber with a 2-inch trim.

    Grooming Brush ($9.95)

    Kiln-dried, double-lacquered curved-back hardwood brush block with bleached white soft Tampico fiber. It is designed for light to medium general-purpose body grooming.

    Soft Finishing Brush ($18.95)

    A soft brush made with a lush blend of black horsehair and fine polypropylene fiber, this brush has a small traditional-sized western-style strap back with a kiln-dried hardwood oval brush block. It features an embossed, saddle-stitched oiled-leather strap with nickel-plated fasteners and a signature nickel-plated Texas-star concho.

    Nunn Finer All In One Hoof Pick with Brush ($2.50)

    This multi-purpose tool includes a hoof pick and a brush. It’s 5” long and features an ergonomic handle made of lightweight plastic. It does come in multiple colors.

    Equestria Sport Duffel Bag Grooming Set 4 piece ($21.95)

    Consider this handy all-in-one grooming set with a jelly curry, body brush, finishing brush, and hoof pick in a handy bag.


    Grooming is an essential aspect of horse ownership both for keeping your horse healthy and for bonding with your horse. Having the right tools makes it easier. If you have any questions about these tools or others, we’re happy to help you. Give us a call at 864-457-3557!

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