Considerations: The ideal tool will effectively remove your horse’s winter coat hairs, speeding the shedding process, without being too harsh; some horses may find certain sensations overwhelming or annoying, so it’s wise to have a selection of tools on hand and start with a “softer” option.
Options: The traditional shedding tool is a blade—a long, narrow and flexible strip of metal with one smooth and one serrated edge. Blades can be very effective, particularly on dense or muddy coats, but they need to be used cautiously on sensitive horses and over areas that don’t have a good padding of fat or muscle. Fiberglass “slick blocks” remove hair more gently and can be used on sensitive areas, but their smaller surfaces mean it may take more time to shed out an entire horse. Specialized shedding combs, originally developed for dogs and adapted for equine use, are typically very effective but can’t follow the contours of a horse’s body as a blade does.
Cost: Fiberglass blocks start at about $4, but they wear away and require replacement. Shedding blades range from $5 to about $15 depending on their quality and materials. Combs start around $10 but cost as much as $60, depending on features.
This article was originally published the March 2016 issue, Volume #474 of EQUUS magazine