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Horse Care Equipment - Brushes
Horses Need Brushing
Every pony crazy little girl knows that you brush horses regularly. This means you need a horse brush.
However, it is not quite that simple. There are, in fact, several kinds of brushes in a standard grooming kit...and a couple that are not quite as standard.
The Dandy Brush
The dandy or stiff brush is used to get tough mud or dirt off of a horse's coat and is usually the first grooming tool reached for.
Modern dandy brushes generally have plastic bristles. They have a plastic or wooden back and are usually about six inches long and two wide. Often, they are made with cheerfully colored bristles.
'Junior' dandy brushes are smaller and are designed to be used by children or women with small hands. Natural bristle dandy brushes can be bought, but are generally both more expensive and less durable. Most horses do not mind the synthetic brushes.
The Body Brush
The body brush is of the same design as the dandy brush, but has much softer bristles. It is intended to be used to 'shine' a horse's coat and also on sensitive areas where the fur is thinner such as the face and belly. (A dandy brush should never be used on a horse's head).
Body brushes can have either synthetic or natural bristles. Some may have a strap for ease of use. The most expensive ones have leather backs, making them more comfortable for the user. As with dandy brushes, it is possible to get smaller body brushes for those with smaller hands. Some people also prefer to get smaller brushes for use on ponies. Cheap body brushes, like dandy brushes, have wooden or plastic backs. (In fact, often the only way to tell the difference between synthetic brushes is to feel the bristles).
The Water Brush
A less commonly seen brush is the water brush, which is intended to be used to brush a wet horse. They have bristles that are designed not to clump together when wet and to help build up a lather. The bristles tend to be somewhere between a dandy brush and a body brush in firmness.
Many people use an ordinary body brush for bathing a horse and a water brush is only really necessary if you bathe your horse regularly. They are also useful for wetting down the mane to get it to lie flat.
The Face Brush
A face brush is a much smaller body brush that fits in the palm of the hand. Some people find these brushes easier to brush the head and face with without risking bristles in the eye. They can also be useful if you have a head shy horse - a horse that will pull away from a larger brush will often tolerate a face brush. Some people also use face brushes to brush the horse's mane. (I have also seen cheap hairbrushes used as mane brushes, without, it seems, any problems, although they tend not to last very long).
The Hoof Brush
A hoof brush is a very stiff, smaller brush, usually with a wooden back. It is designed for scrubbing mud and dirt off, and out of, your horse's hooves.
One very popular tool is a wooden or plastic handle with a hoof pick on one side and a hoof brush on the other.
Hoof brushes are very firm, and should never be used on any other part of the horse.