by Budweiser Clydesdale Blog Staff | Nov 25, 2013
Grooming is an essential part of the daily care and maintenance of the Budweiser Clydesdales. Proper grooming helps keep the Clydesdales’ coats looking healthy and at full shine. Along with an excellent diet, daily grooming helps bring out the dappling in the Clydesdales’ coats, which is very pronounced on Victor's hair coat (pictured). Dappling is the circular or giraffe-like coat pattern seen on Victor's hair coat; it can be one indicator of a good diet and healthy coat.
Depending on the season and if the horses are shedding more or less, it can take approximately 20 minutes to groom each horse. There are several steps used by the handlers to keep the horses looking their best. The horses are first “curried” or rubbed with a blue, round rubber curry comb. The curry helps surface all of the dirt, grit, and old loose hair to the top of the hair coat, making it easy to remove any debris that may be entrenched in the horse’s coat. This initial grooming step however, does more than simply dislodging debris. Due to the fact that the curry brush used is often made of rubber, the oil on the skin and in the hair coat of the horses is increased and evenly spread to produce a shiny, healthy coat.
Furthermore, in addition to promoting a healthy hair coat and skin, currying can be critical in the detection of wounds or lesions. While grooming, it is important to keep an eye out for any sign of injury so that it may be treated rapidly. Once this important step is complete, the horses are then vacuumed off, a step they seem to enjoy. Finally, they are brushed off with a soft bristled brush to get any dirt or hair that was missed by the vacuum and to help the hair lay down properly. After the coat of the horse has been groomed, it is time to move on to the mane, fore-top, and tail. These are combed with a brush designed for these specific areas. When brushing, the handlers begin by detangling the hair at the bottom in a downward motion until the comb can run freely and cleanly from the top down. Through this daily brushing routine, the Clydesdales are able to achieve a full, healthy mane and tail that flows and shines.