September 2016 - Grooming Tips
Written by Sarah Braun
Thursday, 01 September 2016 05:38
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The drugstore has a surprising amount of clever horse grooming products. 

Sarah Braun, 2014 USEA Groom of the Year, has accumulated a few tricks of the trade over the years. One is that a trip to the local drug store for personal care items can double as an opportunity to stock up on handy horse care products. Here’s seven suggestions for people products that work well on horses and can often save horse owners money.

Hair Dye: Packaged hair dye is a great way to make dulled or bleached out black tails regain their true color, shine and fullness. Follow the box instructions for use on human hair and look for a “blue/black” shade if you want the deepest, richest results.  It’s a trick Sarah learned while grooming for Canadian Olympian Hawley Bennett and it’s especially useful for Thoroughbreds who tend to have “wimpy” tails that can use all the help they can get.

Baby Oil and/or Skin So Soft: Either product is a great way to enhance the color and shine of muzzles and the around-the-eye area—perfect for a pre-jog inspection and best applied with a soft towel or by hand in a pinch. Skin So Soft offers the added benefit of being an insect repellent.

Vegetable Oil: This makes a great hoof dressing, from a purely cosmetic standpoint. Refill a hoof dressing can with it and apply just before the jog or dressage phase or whenever a glossy hoof coating is desired.

Betadine as a Brightener: “I found this works better for whitening horse’s socks than whitening products,” says Sarah. “And it kills bacteria in case your horse has any little funguses going on – so it does two things at once.”

Bag Balm: Vaseline is commonly applied to the corners of horses’ mouths, but over use can lead to drying out that area. Sarah has had better results with Bag Balm, which comes in a green container about the size of a large Vaseline jar.

Baby Wipes: Sarah does not leave home without these, at least not when she’s headed to a competition.  They’re great for getting last minute dust off a horse’s coat.

Vinegar: Diluted in a bucket of water, vinegar is a great addition to a post-bath sponge down. It helps remove soap residue and adds shine to the coat. It also helps prevent skin issues including
rain rot and scratches.


Sarah worked as a groom for Hawley Bennett for several years and now continues to ride with her and compete on the eventing circuit. She recently took a position with San Luis Rey Equine Hospital’s newly-opened rehab facility, Trifecta Equine Athletic Center, in San Diego County’s Bonsall.