When grooming a horse, you should conduct a hands-on inspection of the animal's body, writes Charlene Strickland in the September edition of The Horse
. Since a horse's skin is his largest organ, and the only one you can inspect in total, use it to determine his overall health. As you groom, you'll learn not only the horse's contours and cowlicks, but the normal condition of his skin and sensitivity level. You will be able to discover any change quickly.
Look and feel the condition of the horse's body as you curry and brush. If you detect any irregularity with the grooming tool, feel it with your fingertips. You can even use your free hand as a tool, swiping the coat.
Squat down to see what you are brushing. Stay out of kicking range, but visually inspect the belly and legs for cuts, swellings, or insect bites as you brush.
Check the potential problem areas, looking for anything out of the ordinary. These areas include inside the ears, the sheath, under the tail, behind the elbows, and under the fetlocks.
Check the quality of your grooming, too. Rub your fingertips against the hair to confirm that the dirt is gone. Gray lines in the coat, or dirt under your nails, tell you that you're not done yet.
Polish the horse's coat with firm strokes of a rub rag, your softest brush, or a dampened sponge. You'll lay down the coat as you feel for anything unusual you might have missed.