Want to care for your horse like a top groom? Really, the top grooms don’t use many “secrets” — it’s all about time, attention to detail, and understanding what horses need to feel well in their bodies.
For Olympic show jumper Mclain Ward, Lee McKeever has been a right hand source of horse wellness for multiple years. In this USEF Learning Center video, Lee offers up five steps in his post-competition care routine:
1. Walk the horse for 10-15 minutes to allow their mind and body to cool down. Don’t just head straight back to the stall.
2. Go over and check for any cuts/scrapes or other issues on the skin and body/legs, then, weather-depending, do a mild soap bath — use mild soap, especially during a competition week when your horse might be getting bathed more frequently than usual.
3. Icing — this helps reduce inflammation and reduce heat build-up. Lee prefers an ice boot with velcro, icing for at least 20 minutes.
4. Poultice — further draws out heat and inflammation in the leg. Leave overnight to tighten the leg.
5. Packing the feet — no foot, no horse! Pack those feet to address any soreness and supply relief from the hard work they’ve done throughout the competition. Most hoof packs contain Epsom salt.