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January 2014

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Organize your Grooming Tools

Frigid winter weather may limit your riding, but you can put your “downtime” to good use by organizing and upgrading your grooming kit. Here are some basic steps for an overhaul that will make your daily chores a little easier.

Sorting through and organizing your tools can make you a more efficient groomer.

1. Remove everything from the tote or box. Then examine the container itself. Is it cracked or damaged? Is it still able to hold all the tools you need so that you can access them easily? It may be time to purchase a replacement, perhaps with more compartments or a sturdier construction. If your current tote or box is still useful, vacuum or scrub down the interior and exterior.

2. Sort out the "trash." Separate the still-useful tools from those that are ready to be replaced. Brushes that are damaged or missing bristles, broken sweat scrapers and hoof picks, and threadbare towels are probably ready for the trash bin. If you keep any ointments in your grooming kit, check the expiration dates as well as the color and texture of the products. Discard any that look questionable.

3. Clean and disinfect the "keepers." Scrape or knock off any hair or caked-on dirt, then scrub each tool in a gallon of water with a squirt of detergent and rinse thoroughly. Disinfect by soaking the tools with a commercial sanitizer or mild bleach solution for at least 10 minutes, then rinse and set the tools out in bright sunlight to dry thoroughly.

4. Repack your tools carefully. Push brushes together so the bristles interlock. Not only does this save room in the box, but it prevents the bristles from getting crushed. Put tools you use most frequently where you can reach them easily and, if possible, place them in the order you'd typically need them.

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