5 Grooming Tips

Five of Practical Horseman's top grooming tips from the last five decades.

Over the last five decades, veterinary care and best practices for horse health and management have undergone extraordinary advancements, driven by improvements in technology and research methods. Since the first issue in January 1973, Practical Horseman has informed readers of the latest findings and developments so they can provide the best possible care for their horses. Nutrition guidelines, fly protection, corrective shoeing—you name it, PH has covered it.  

Tip 2 | © Amy K. Dragoo

Below are some of our favorite grooming tips from the last 50 years. These tips are excerpted from 50 Health and Management Tips, which was written in celebration of Practical Horseman’s 50th Anniversary.


  1. “When you brush the legs, hold the brush lengthwise, or pointing down the leg; in this way you put all the bristles to work with each stroke.”Susan Harris, Grooming Your Horse, January 1980
  2. “Bang his tail every two months to prevent split ends and tangles and to encourage faster growth.”—Teresa Skidmore, Drop-Dead Gorgeous Tail!February 1998
  3. “Where I find hair ruffled from sleeping, I dampen my short-bristled mane brush in water, shake off excess, and brush in the direction of hair, over and over, until it lies flat. The more mussed the hair, the wetter I want my brush. A brush works better here than a sponge, which would get the hair wet but wouldn’t affect the hair’s direction.”—Jo Long, A Spic ‘N’ Span Horse In Twenty Minutes Honest, May 2002 
  4. “Many people conclude a grooming with a quick ‘going over’ with the rub rag. To me, this is neither firmly nor thoroughly enough. I spend more time with the rub rag—at least three to five minutes per side—than with any of my other grooming tools. And I don’t just save it for show time; I use it every time I groom. Apply quite a bit of pressure with each stroke of the rag, always following the direction of the hair growth. Your horse will love it!”—Laurie Pitts, Groom Like the Greats, April 2008 
  5. “One of the main goals of bathing is to bring out the beautiful shine of a horse’s coat. Using an apple cider vinegar rinse after rinsing the shampoo off your horse is great for this. It cuts the soap residue and also helps to repel bugs.”—Laurie Pitts, Bathe Your Horse Beautiful, Summer 2020

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2023 issue of Practical Horseman.

This article is sponsored by WeatherBeeta.

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