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What are you using to groom your wooly beast down to the skin? Cactus Cloth? Tiger Tongue? Grooming gloves? ???

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    What are you using to groom your wooly beast down to the skin? Cactus Cloth? Tiger Tongue? Grooming gloves? ???

    'Tis the season for double-coated horses to get scuzzy because there is not a curry or brush on earth that manages to part the hair enough to let air get down to the skin.

    He has the hair coat of a Shetland pony- thick and plush on the base layer and wiry guard hairs waterproofing on top. My trusty long-nubbed curry combs are just moving guard hairs around at this point, and I fight fungus all winter because I can barely feel the base of the hair, much less get it dry. I've been fighting this with a collection of nubby towels and a spray bottle of alcohol. Does anyone have a better arsenal? I know a cactus cloth or tiger tongue tend to be the first recommendations for removing sweat marks from the top layer of the hair coat, but I'm looking for something to help me get down to the under layer, and I'm not sure if these are the right idea.
    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

    I shop vac my yak of a horse. He’s food oriented and chill so it was super easy to put a stiff bristle vacuum nozzle on and go to town. It is also fast!

    What helped more than anything else for the fungus issue was a diet adjustment. I added a copper/zinc supplement and never had to deal with fungus again. I tried many topicals and they helped but not like the diet change. I found old style yellow original Listerine worked better on fungus than any commercial topical and the thymol in it makes the coat soft.


      Hands On Grooming Gloves. Works every time on my wooly pony.Schedule
      Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.


        As much as I love both a cactus cloth and a Tiger's Tongue I don't think either of them really gets down to the skin on a super wooly beast. They are both great if you have a weenie TB who sleeps with his head in his pee spot and it's too cold to bathe. I liked using a vacuum for getting scruff and dander out in the winter.
        I love my Econo-Nag!


          I use the cheap plastic curries that have the 1/2" teeth with the adjustable hand strap (the ones that come with or without the extension to screw a garden hose on). They seem to be the only thing that really gets down to the skin, especially on my mini donks.
          Last edited by DinkyDonk; Nov. 9, 2019, 10:36 AM.


            Ridge weeder and Furminator. Best results with a dog brush -> pic
            Attached Files


              I kept seeing ads for “Coat Defense” powder. I don’t have an issue with fungus, but got some on a bit of a whim to help out with those days where I ride my yak on a cool day enough that he gets a sweaty under his girth, enough so that I felt bad about just turning him back out with cold wet armpits, but not so much that I really want to mess around with a cooler and walking. It does seem to help a great deal for that purpose, but I can’t speak to specific efficacy against fungal issues. Helping to keep things dry is unlikely to hurt, anyway. Since I don’t have the fungus issues I’ll probably look into the ingredient list a bit more and see if I can concoct my own more inexpensively than the official product. I think it’s largely corn starch.

              As far as grooming implements, I use the grooming gloves (the good, expensive name brand Hands On ones, the others I’ve tried are worse than useless), and just recently got a “Schimmel” Haas brush. The brush works great, seems much better at actually getting grunge up AND out, but I find I have to clean it more often to keep up performance than I do a regular body brush (especially if shedding), and the short dense bristles aren’t amenable to doing so by running agains a tack rail or door edge sort of thing. I use my hoof brush to clean it.


                If you have a vacuum that also can blow, that REALLY gets the dirt out. Press the hose nozzle up against their skin and wear a mask.


                  Originally posted by StormyDay View Post
                  If you have a vacuum that also can blow, that REALLY gets the dirt out. Press the hose nozzle up against their skin and wear a mask.
                  The vet that does my dental work uses a leaf blower. He has QH’s and said they had no problems getting used to it. I haven’t tried it. The vacuum works well for mine as long as I don’t zap her with static (low humidity here).



                    Originally posted by Kyrabee View Post

                    The vet that does my dental work uses a leaf blower. He has QH’s and said they had no problems getting used to it. I haven’t tried it. The vacuum works well for mine as long as I don’t zap her with static (low humidity here).

                    Susan, when I use the vacuum I have a bucket of water next to me. Every now and then I will turn the machine off (very important step, this ) and dunk the vacuum head in the bucket of water--keeps the static at bay beautifully.

                    I've only just pulled the vacuum out for the winter, and we are going through "it's going to eat me" issues again. I can't imagine how much fun it would be to try the leaf blower...


                      I've found that when I get the nutrition right there is no scurf or dandruff, and that turns out to be most of what we see as dirt in the coat.


                        Original Poster

                        As a result of this thread I have ordered the grooming gloves and the Haas Schimmel brush. (My stiff brush is so stiff I can only really use it on encrusted mud, and a jelly scrubber is a much better tool for the job!)

                        Toblersmom, baby powder is an important ingredient in my "fungus-free legs" tool box. I scrub legs on a weekly basis, towel dry, rough up the hair so it doesn't lay flat, and puff with baby powder. Let sit, then brush off. If the leg is still damp to the touch I repeat. This has been very effective. That said, I haven't tried it on body hair- that's a good idea.

                        I also hadn't thought about using the blower function of the vacuum to dry and work the hairs apart before a good grooming.

                        Re. nutrition: though his bloodwork doesn't show any deficiency I put him on Platinum Performance once the grass dies, and that does seem to have helped. He's a Cushings horse so I need to fight what his immune system can't. That said, the real environmental issue is the hair coat, which is well optimized to keep him very happy out standing in the field when it's sleeting sideways - much to the dismay of the barn staff because he declines to come in in such weather - but the same insulating factors become a hygiene issue when sweat is involved.
                        "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden


                          Originally posted by Kyrabee View Post

                          The vet that does my dental work uses a leaf blower. He has QH’s and said they had no problems getting used to it. I haven’t tried it. The vacuum works well for mine as long as I don’t zap her with static (low humidity here).

                          Mine would not tolerate a loud leaf blower. The vacuum is pretty quiet and they still give me snorts when it comes out in the fall.
                          The best part about blowing vs vaccuming is since the nozzle doesn’t touch the horse there is no static electricity.


                            I don't have the storage for a vacuum, but a blow dryer and corn starch works really well. My ponies skin craziness went away when I added a higher dose of Vitamin E last winter. No grass in the winter.
                            "Anyone who tries to make brownies without butter should be arrested." Ina Garten


                              I second hands on grooming gloves!! They are incredible. You can use them in the summer for bathing and they work perfectly on my fuzzy minis in the winter. I bought another set for my dogs too!


                                I second adding Vitamin E to your horse's diet to help with skin funk, especially if they are on a restricted diet. My young OTTB was constantly having skin crud, mostly where the tack sat. It didn't even matter that I had him clipped an could clean and dry those areas. Adding vitamin E has him looking slick and shiny and no issues with skin funk so far even though I haven't clipped him and he's had plenty of sweaty rides.


                                  The big blue vacuum, and a great attachment. Nothing beats it for actual grooming.

                                  Flaxseed and vitamin e are also your fiends...
                                  When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE them- Maya Angelou


                                    I have a Thing. Honestly the Thing looks like it belongs to some other larger Thing and someone picked it up one day and thought the teeth would get through a horse's winter coat nicely. When I first got the Thing I wondered how one was supposed to hold the Thing while grooming.

                                    I can tell you the label on the Thing actually says "body brush" but you would not be thinking body brush if you saw the Thing.

                                    The back is shaped like nothing else in the brush bin. The teeth though, the teeth are just the thing for thick winter coats. Stiff, yet flexible, like the plastic currycomb another. poster mentioned, but longer, stronger, and spaced further apart so the dense hair has somewhere to go.

                                    My boy has a very dense winter coat with more hairs per square inch than my other horses and he gets itchy. He looves a good scratch with the Thing and it gets all the dry sweat loosened up so I can brush it out. I bought a second Thing as we have worn almost a quarter inch off the first Thing's teeth and I wasn't sure it would get through his winter coat all the way.

                                    I'm sorry to have been so unhelpful because if you want a Thing for yourself I wouldn't have any idea how to find it with Google. I don't think the place I got it has a full online catalogue....


                                      Shedding blade then grooming gloves. Those tiny teeth do a great job. especially on faces, and legs.
                                      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                                        We bought a cattle blower with heat. The horses have no trouble getting used to it (it's about expectations, really) and then we're not blowing cold air on them. It not only dries them after they've cooled out, but gets crud all the way down to the skin!