In order to evaluate the 34 horse grooming brushes in our field trial See Brushes chart, we used three criteria: 1) How well do they clean the horse' How well do they remove dirt, mud, dust and dander and leave a shine' 2) Can you hold the brush comfortably and securely to allow you to brush the horse effectively' 3) Does the brush have bristles that are comfortable to the horse'
Some riders and owners would add attractiveness and color to their list, and clearly that's a consideration for some manufacturers, but color and style fall to the bottom of the list if you're supplying brushes for an entire barn.
DANDY BRUSHES AND SOFT BRUSHES.? Grooma and Grip-Fit (Decker) each make several of their models in full-size and in ?-size. And the different size choice is one reason why we liked the products made by these two manufacturers so much.
The Grooma brushes all have a blue, hard rubber back that fits comfortably in your hand. The key is that the back is raised, so it fits firmly into the palm of your hand, and then each side is indented, so you can brace your thumb and second or third finger.
The Grooma designers seem to have also carefully chosen their synthetic bristles regarding length and density. And we found them comfortable for the horses.
The Grip-Fit dandy and soft brushes are also high-quality brushes, but we didn't find them as comfortable to hold, nor did they do a better job cleaning the horses. Some horse owners will really like the wide variety of colors they can choose in either the Wild Things or Blue Ribbon brushes. You can even custom order the Wild Things brushes.
BODY BRUSHES. Our favorite of the body brushes was by far the Equestria Sport Body Brushes. The synthetic bristles are the perfect length and densely packed, giving a deep shining effect, and the hard back and strap fits nicely in your hand. The ?-size brush fits perfectly in smaller hands, and they come in both two-tone blue and two-toned pink. Our only criticism is that they?re a bit stiff for the face. (If you like these brushes but not the pink, purple and blue colors, look for Equestria Sport Luckstar brushes. They?re the same brush in different colors.)
We also liked the Grip-Fit Pro Body. The soft horse-hair blend bristles are densely packed and highly effective in creating a shine, and we found the molded back fit a variety of hands well.
The three Herm Sprenger body brushes are made with the expected excellent craftsmanship and performance you?d expect from this German company, but the cost gives us pause.
MUD BRUSHES. No other brushes in this category could match the Grip-Fit Legends or the Grooma Brush with Stiff Bristles, primarily because we found the bristles on others too stiff and uncomfortable for the horses. The synthetic plastic bristles on both the Grip-Fit and Grooma brushes seem more rounded than most of the others.
BOTTOM LINE. We had two surprises in this trial. The first was the Pony Boy Plastic Bristle Brush, a wooden-backed brush that made us skeptical at first, especially because the back dips away from your palm (opposite of the Grooma backs). But nothing we tried could beat it in bringing a shine to horses? coats, and it was easy to hold.
The Goat Hair brush from Tail Tamer was the other surprise. it's so small (about ? normal size) we thought it was better suited to a tiny child and her equally tiny pony. But our horses loved the soft texture on their faces.
Both the Grooma brushes and the Desert Equestrian Equestria Sport brushes were consistent barn favorites, but if we had to choose just one brush it would be the Grip-Fit Pro Body Brush, our favorite classic body brush and top choice. Best Buy goes to the Pony Boy Plastic Bristle Brush.
The Brushes In Our Grooming Kit
From among the brushes we used, these are the ones we?d want in our grooming box. We've chosen at least one brush from each of our three categories, because we?d want to have a stiff brush for heavy mud, dirt or manure; a dandy or soft brush or two to remove dust and dander; and a body brush to bring up the shine.
The Grip-Fit Legends is the best mud brush in the group, so we'll start there. The Grooma Brush with Medium Bristles and the Grooma ? Brush With Soft Bristles are definite choices. Useful in so many ways.
The Grip-Fit Pro Body Brush, with its well-designed back, is a classic must-have body brush to bring out the luster in the coat.
We?d also go with the Pony Boy Plastic Bristle Brush, as it shines the coat so very well, and the Tail Tamer Goat Hair, which is the softest, most effective face brush we?ve found.
The total cost of our grooming kit: about $48.
Article by John Strassburger, our Performance Editor.