When you were little did you dream of owning a pony? I loved ponies, but luckily for me, I grew up at a riding school in Connecticut. Thinking of my first pony makes me smile. His name was Little Man. He was brown and fuzzy, but quite naughty. Little Man was a calm, lazy fellow. On the bright side, I never had to worry that he’d get excited and gallop away. He did have one odd habit though. He liked to sleep when I was riding him. He’d lie down with me on his back. But finally, I learned to watch out when he started walking slower and slower. Then I’d give him a kick to make him keep walking; problem solved.
Let’s say you want to groom your pony. What would you do? First, you’d use a curry comb to loosen the mud and old hair. Always remember to press hard with the curry comb and go in a circular motion with it. Little Man never minded that. In fact, it might have relaxed him. After the curry comb, you should use the dandy brush. It’s stiff and it’ll help brush the dust and dirt away. When you use the dandy brush, you can brush all the way down your pony’s legs.
What about your pony’s feet, or hooves? It’s important to be sure his feet are healthy and nothing is stuck in them that could hurt him. For example, part of your pony’s foot is the frog. You’ll see it once you pick up your pony’s foot. It’s a V-shape. Now take your hoof pick, a special tool for cleaning your pony’s feet. It has a hook on the end. Use the hoof pick from the top of the frog down and be sure to clean the sides in case there are any stones in there. Also, be sure the frog is not too wet in the center. If the center is wet and sensitive, your pony might have thrush and you’d need to treat it. If not, thrush could cause lameness.
Now, the last step in grooming. Take a soft brush called a body brush and gently clean off your pony’s head, neck and body. The body brush helps remove all the little pieces of dust left on the pony’s coat. Now you’ve gotten the basics of grooming. You could untangle your pony’s hair by using the tail comb too. He might have burrs stuck there if he’s been out in the field.
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Copyright 2017: Deanie Humphrys-Dunne