Why you ask? Shouldn’t you groom before you ride?
Well yes, you should groom before you ride. It is a great way to check for bump, bruises and any abnormalities. However there is much to be said for a post work groom too.
It is a really nice post workout massage session for your horse. Back in the olden days grooms would spend hours rubbing horses down after work. It helps increase circulation, boosts the lymphatic system and helps the body process any muscle waste products. This helped horse’s deal with day to day stress and strain on their bodies. I hear people arguing that in the days before saddle fitters, chiros, bowen etc coped just fine… Well in my opinion, this is why. Grooms essentially “massaged” them by grooming them. Curry combs, old fashioned hay whisps, etc = a cheap, easy, DIY massage for your horse (and a bit of a workout for you).
Other benefits include:
- Removing excess hair, sand, skin cells and improving natural coat shine from all that curry combing spreading the natural oils and increasing circulation.
- Saving water .
- Desensitising your horse.
- Spending time enjoying your horse’s company. How often do you just head out to the yard, saddle up, ride, untack and then put your horse away. I occasionally do and when I find riding becomes a chore, I take a step back don’t focus on the riding and results and enjoy my horses company.
I am completely guilty of giving a quick brush before riding and then hosing off after riding before I put my boys away but for the next 4 weeks, each time after a ride or workout I will be giving the boys a good groom to see the difference in the health of their soft tissue. It will be interesting to see the results, especially with Bo. Now his giraffe impersonations are no longer allowed and he actually has to work, his back does get sore. He is currently getting weekly Bowen sessions to help him deal with the Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) that comes with working muscles in a new way. I am predicting that the post work out grooming will help and maybe decrease the Bowen sessions he needs.
I will keep you posted…. Wish me luck.