Grooming the insanely muddy horse

Don’t laugh, but after riding for 24 years, owning for much of that, I need advice!

I have a horse that recently moved to a paddock. There are pros and cons to the situation. One is that we just got over two feet of snow and then some more later in the week and rain. It’s extremely muddy. Like suck your boot off, sink into the mud type situation. My horse is a mud pit. We got his top line pretty cleaned off (but that was less muddy anyways) by rubbing him with a towel one night when he was damp.

But his hindquarters, girth area and legs are just crusty. I tried a metal scraper on the lesss sensitive areas, I tried currying with one of those jelly type hand scrubbers and one of those stiff miracle brushes. I honestly don’t think I made a dent in it!! I’m going to take a more traditional stiff curry comb. It’s too cold to bathe but I’m wondering if I should try a warm damp towel again.

If he is dry a jelly curry or rubber curry should break it up. He will still be lumpy dusty. Or try one of those plastic puff dish scouring pads.

I wouldn’t dampen him as you will just have sticky mud again. Though maybe if you have giant clumps glued in that might help pull them off.

Not sure how cold your winter is but it has to get real chilly before I stop hosing down legs (basically anything not covered by a blanket) to remove mud when I bring them in.

For the body, if it’s dry, a metal shedding blade or metal shedding curry grabs mud well and I use those wherever the horse will tolerate it. It’s one of the few times I’m really pleased to be wearing a mask and will continue to do so in the future!

If it’s wet or damp mud, there’s really not a lot of good options. Bring them in early and let them dry; or damp towel just enough to wipe the saddle blanket and girth areas clean enough to ride and the rest can stay. That stuff is sticky!

1 Like

I think the career that I used was too soft. For a little bit of mud it works fine but this level of crusty mud on his kind of curly coat just didn’t budge much!

The weather can go up and down so I might get a day that I can hose him off on his legs at least. I’m hoping for many days of sunshine and dry ground!!

The SleekEZ thing works awesome on the dried, crusty mud!

Also great for peeling off the shedding winter coat. Gets a lot of use around here right now!

1 Like

Cheap Conair human paddle hairbrush has been my go-to for a curry when it’s dry crusty mud - then shop-vac in blower mode!

1 Like

I use a metal shedding blade with teeth and sometimes even that won’t break up the big clumps in a horse with long hair - for that you need a very stiff curry that has large, wide-set “teeth” or nubs. This Oster one works well until the nubs get too soft/bendy.

1 Like

I live in a muddy country, all year round. Horses dry quickly with their body heat so bring it into a stable, leave it for a couple of hours and then use a cheap rubber curry comb to brush off the dry mud. Bit dusty, but effective. And if short of time, or the horse will just get filthy again, or you are not concerned with what the neighbours will say, only clean the places where the bridle, saddle and girth will go and leave the rest looking muddy. It won’t affect your ride.


Grooming gloves work great and are flexible to get all round the legs and pasterns.

It will still take some work but maybe between the toweling and the gloves. The horses love them too.

Ain’t dry lots great in the mud :stuck_out_tongue:. Just keep thinking how good being out with buddies is for him. My mare is gray (white), in a dry lot pen with no blanket. I sympathize :grinning:


Tiger Tongue spongey thing works well.


Hands On grooming gloves. And wear a mask lol.


Yup. This is the answer. Good luck.

1 Like

Use a vacuum with a curry attachment- Dr. Smith’s horse vac (from Valley Vet, $19.95) is great and you can use it with any vac. (I have a regular household canister type). Bissell makes a metal shedding blade attachment for a vac(the Shedaway 99x3) for about $15.00. It works really well on dry mud!

1 Like

I keep telling myself that it’s worth the benefits!!

Oh man a grey in this mud, that keeps you busy!!

I think a harder curry and the grooming gloves will be my next try!

I had a white horse and he took great glee in getting as muddy nasty as he could. He would find the blackest stickiest mud pit and roll in it on one side. When I came out, I got the white (well, white-ish) side first and then it was Look Mom! I swear he was laughing at me…

I used a metal curry to scrape off the worst, followed by the metal toothed scraper, followed by the Grooma rubber curry, then a smaller curry, then the stiff bristle brush and a comb if I had too. Sometimes I just gave up and brushed off the bits where the saddle and bridle would go. He was retired at that point so not like we were going out in public or even working hard. Good reason to hate winter and then shedding season where I would leave the barn looking like a bear I was so covered in his white hair. Good times, eh?


I’m not sure why the metal curry didn’t cut it, it’s like a stickier type mud or something! I think that paired with a winter coat is making it tough.

If I get him clean, I might have to post victory photos ha ha!!

1 Like

My old fuzzy horse tends to stay clean, but we had some rain and he found the muddiest spot to roll.
He was caked head to toe, so got a cleaning, except on his flanks.
There, he kept saying ouch, no, leave them be, so I did.

Farrier came then absentminded was pulling on those mud globs.
I said don’t, it hurts him and he doesn’t like it.
As I said that, horse turned head around and was staring holes into the farrier, that looked at me and said, I see sorry horse and quit picking at that mud.

I think some times you have to listen to the horse.
If mud is not hurting him any, pulling it off is, don’t.

1 Like

So, my question is why do you want to groom him?

Is it to ride, or just in general?

In general, I don’t fight my horses to get clumpy mud off. There really is no benefit other than to my eyes. I don’t like looking at them when they are encrusted in mud, but it doesn’t hurt them. And it’s fighting a losing battle because they like to roll in the mud. I could groom them every day during mud season, but it doesn’t even last 24 hour.

Obviously if you are riding you do need to make sure that you don’t cause rubs - so in those areas, curry, metal shedding blade, stiff brushes, wet towels, etc…all help to some degree and sometimes just alternate.

But if it’s just aesthetics - I’d let it go. The ground will dry up soon.


I am with @S1969, I let them enjoy their hard work (getting mud coated) unless I need them to be clean for something.

Wet mud is pretty darn impossible to get off.
Dried mud should come off easily with whatever your chose of curry type grooming tools is. I have had success with lots of different tools - metal shedding blade, those glove curry things, a Grooma rubber curry, etc.