Horse Care Equipment - Curry Combs
What is a Curry Comb?
A curry comb takes the form of a flat device that has rows of 'comb' like bristles and/or teeth in a circular pattern.
Curry combs are used to remove shed hair and also to clean brushes. (It's not uncommon to read about a horse being 'curried' in a novel, but only certain kinds of curry comb are used directly on the horse).
Curry combs come in three distinct types.
Metal Curry Combs
Metal curry combs have fairly sharp teeth and are never used on the horse. They are, however, a very effective device for cleaning shed hair and debris out of brushes.
When a horse is shedding, the most common method is to brush the horse, then clean the brush with the curry comb, then brush again. This stops the brush becoming so clogged with hair that it becomes non-functional. (Richer horse owners might sometimes use a vacuum groomer, but they are very expensive and require power to the barn).
Metal curry combs are expensive and are rarely seen these days.
Plastic Curry Combs
Plastic curry combs are cheaper than metal ones, but are used in the same way. They generally have a plastic strap on the back and a raised flange that falls between the middle and ring fingers, for grip. They come in a variety of colors, although red and blue tend to be the most popular.
Most large barns use plastic curry combs due to the lesser expense. They are almost as durable as the more expensive metal ones.
Rubber Curry Combs
Rubber (or synthetic rubber) curry combs have flat teeth, generally in a circular pattern. Rubber curry combs are used directly on the horse, but still to remove shed hair. Generally, the horse is brushed first, and then curried, but in some cases the curry may be used first, for example if a horse is 'blowing' a lot of winter coat in the spring or if he is extremely muddy.
Relatively few modern barns use or keep rubber curry combs, as most people find them less effective than the combination of a brush and a plastic or metal curry. However, they are durable and it is not uncommon to find one or two lying around in the back of the tack room somewhere. They are not used for cleaning brushes, however.
A grooming mitt fits over the hand, but closely resembles a rubber curry comb. It allows the handler to use their hand directly as a grooming brush.
Grooming mitts are seldom seen, but are a good tool for giving your horse a massage - something many horses appreciate. Like rubber curry combs, they are also good for encouraging shedding out of the horse's coat in spring and fall.