Curry, Curry, Curry

By Ruthann Smith
© 2011, Ruthann Smith, All rights reserved.
Originally Published in Gypsy Horse Journal

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Currying is one of the best things you can do to assess and promote your Gypsy horse’s wellbeing. Benefits even ripple into preventative measures. So, let’s consider why and how currying should to be pivotal to your daily routine, especially during wet and cold months.


Currying is listening. It is a platform for your horse to tell you what hurts. While currying, notice if your horse looks at the area you are working on or flinches. It’s your flag. There is likely discomfort, which gives you an opportunity. If you catch heat, soreness, swelling, or a cut early, you can save lots of time and money. Addressing those conditions are much easier and have less impact than if they continue to get exasperated, requiring a veterinarian for lameness or infection.


Currying is not just a way to loosen mud before a thorough brushing. It promotes soundness, good muscle tone and comfort. Done properly, currying increases circulation. Bringing blood into the muscles allows it to carry out toxins, including lactic acid. This natural byproduct of anaerobic exercise makes muscles sore. Stiffness can lead to injury. Currying helps move toxins out of muscles to promote suppleness. Currying also stimulates natural protective oils, while exfoliating dead skin to release them. This not only increases shine, but also aids the coat in repelling water. By boosting the horse’s natural defenses, currying helps the animal stay drier and warmer. Natural oils leave skin more resistant as well. It is less apt to get irritated, skin disease or scurf.



Nubbed Curry

The soft nubbed curry exfoliates and pulls dirt away from the skin.


Choose a curry that is not too gel-like. You want to get through all that hair to the skin. How you use the currycomb is most important. Repeat a circular motion, always in the direction the hair grows. Lean into it. Your power comes from your back, not your arm or wrist. Just pushing hair around does nothing. Pressure and rhythm do wonders. The process should be relaxed, yet vigorous. It puts me out of breath. At Top Turnout Clinics, people are often astounded to realize what great exercise a good currying can be. Use it to loosen yourself up as well as your mount.

The nubbed curry does a good job pulling impurities away from the skin. Whichever style curry comb you choose, the important thing is that you use it often and with elbow grease. For thick, wooly coats, the deep curry works well. Remember, circle in the direction of hair growth… not against the grain. Smaller circles are well suited to longer hair



Deep Curry

The deeper curry is great for winter coats and gypsy horses’ legs.

Start gently. Get the blood into the muscles before massaging them. If your horse is not used to vigorous currying, work up to more pressure and time every day. Just like a deep muscle massage can make you sore, don’t do too much at once if your horse is not accustomed. Once he is, the more the better.

On bony areas of the face, legs and shins, use a rubber mitt or curry gently. Avoid currying heels, they warrant softer treatment. However, be sure to keep them clean and dry to avoid scratches.

Comb feather when it is clean and wet. On a daily basis, be sure to feel the legs for heat and cuts. Pick hooves and check for heat at the same time.

It is best to curry well before and after work, on a daily basis. This assures both you and your charge’s muscles will be warmed up. After riding or driving, it will help move lactic acid and other toxins out of muscles. Good circulation is key to soundness. Finish with a medium brush, then a soft brush. I like to really catch a strong rhythm, using a brush in each hand. Putting your horse to bed clean also makes it easier to keep him clean. Otherwise, salt from sweat parches the coat, leaving the skin prone to irritation and disease, while the hair attracts more dirt. Plus, the well-groomed coat is finer. So, everything feels better and is more resilient!



Your currycomb is a silent giant. It is a simple yet powerful tool help your horse be: protected against the elements, free of skin disease, gorgeous, and sound. All the while, currying can reduce your costs and improve your fitness. So, curry, curry, curry, and enjoy.

Bio Pic

Ruthann Smith has spent a lifetime studying sound horsemanship- both as a groom for top international horses and as a renowned braider. Quietly twisting manes atop a ladder, she watched and learned in some of the best stables in the world.

As her passion for great grooming grew, Ruthann became focused on researching, collecting and sharing the best practices of the world’s keenest horsemen. Ultimately, Ruthann used her vast experience to develop exceptional equine grooming products to help raise the bar of horsemanship.

The knowledge she dispenses and the products Ruthann developed solve age-old grooming issues. Making quality horse care easier, they have received the highest honors in the equine industry*. Her Lucky Braids for Top Turnout coat care and braiding products are the best, most versatile, cost-effective and easiest solutions available on the market today.

Now Ruthann offers her LOVE, LOVE Guarantee. If not totally thrilled with a product she developed, Ruthann will refund you in full, regardless of where you purchased it.

It’s her life’s mission to empower horses by educating, motivating and equipping their people to be true horsemen. You can access Ruthann’s tips at: The Grooming Resource on, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and her Horsemanship Clinics.

*After testing 350 products, Lucky Braids All-In-One Horse Shampoo was named product of the year by Horse Journal, the “Consumer Reports” of the industry. They also named Lucky Braids Shampoo and Top Pick for greys and whites. Lucky Braids specialized braiding yarn also got stellar reviews.