Rocky Says: Horse Hygiene

I think horses have a different idea of hygiene than humans. Humans want us to be clean and shiny and give us baths, often with sweet smelling shampoos and conditioners. This can feel REALLY good on a hot day, but guess what? We like being dirty! The dirt and sand that we roll into our coats helps to protect us from flies and other insects. Our coats naturally have oil in them that helps repel rain and when we get washed too often, these oils gets washed right out of our coats, which allows the rain to seep into our skin. This is what make us cold. In the winter, you will notice that sometimes we get a layer of snow and ice just sitting on our backs. This is because our hair is hollow and a layer of air will get trapped between our skin and our hair which is like extra insulation. I have a lot of extra insulation myself because I have a LOT of hair and an extra layer of fat, which I’m quite proud of. Humans don’t like to see us covered in snow, but some of us really aren’t bothered by it at all!

We do like being brushed, or at least most of us do. We get itchy bug bites and when our hair is shedding we are SO itchy! The curry comb usually feels the best. I get extra itchy under my long mane so I LOVE it when a human lifts up my mane and scrubs me under there. I sweat under my mane a lot. Speaking of manes and tails. Did you know it will take us at least two years to grow a tail hair all the way to the ground? Our humans don’t let other humans brush out our tails unless they’ve put conditioner in it.

Did you know that we will groom each other? We don’t really need humans to do this at all! Though it feels pretty good when you do. We will use our teeth and lips to groom each other. We’ll tell each other where we want to be scratched by scratching our buddy in that same spot on their body. So if I want my shoulder scratched, I’ll scratch Boden’s shoulder. Then he knows to scratch mine. Sometimes I have better luck telling the humans to scratch me than Boden, but I try!

One other thing. We don’t have to brush our teeth. Our teeth keep growing and even though they look yellow, that it because the outer layer of our teeth have this protective coating that helps keep them strong and healthy. We’re proud of our yellow smiles!

I’m wondering, do any of you humans have other hygiene questions about horses?

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About the Author : Erica Lewis

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