Everyone develops their own style and rhythm to grooming, but the main thing is to work with the lie of the hair, not against it. Pay attention to your horse's body language for signs of pleasure, pain, or annoyance during the process. He'll tell you what he likes or doesn't like simply by the way he reacts.
To give your horse's coat a thorough grooming, follow these steps:
Begin with a curry comb of your choosing and brush up loose hair and underlying dirt. If the horse is shedding, use a shedding blade first and get as much loose hair as possible out before you begin brushing. Use these tools only on the horse's main body, not in areas where bones stick out, such as in the flank or shoulder area, and not on the legs and face.
Use your stiffest body brush to brush out all the loose dirt and hair the curry brought to the surface. Use this brush to get the mud off the horse's legs. Don't forget to brush under the mane. Brush gently but firmly, using a flicking motion as the brush leaves the horse's body to help lift up the deeply embedded dirt.
Use the soft finishing brush to brush out any remaining hair and dirt and to give your horse's coat a nice shine.
Finish by rubbing down your horse's coat with a clean, soft towel.
As you groom your horse, inspect for cuts, parasites, or other skin problems. Be aware of any tenderness she may exhibit as you touch her. While picking out hooves, sniff for foul odors (indicative of thrush) and look for any bruises or sensitivity in that area, especially if you picked out a stone or stick that was caught in her foot.
Some horses stand quietly and pick up their feet for you for cleaning. They aren't born knowing how to do this; it requires some careful and consistent training. Other horses can be quite nasty about having their feet touched and will kick. Regardless of your horse's typical behavior, you should always exercise extra caution when doing anything around a horse's feet. A kick from a horse can kill or seriously injure you.
The proper way to pick up a horse's foot is to stand beside him, starting on the left and facing toward the rear. Lean your weight against his shoulder to make him shift his weight to the other side. As you bend over, run your hand down his leg and gently squeeze the back of his leg to encourage him to lift it. When he does so, cradle the hoof in your hand and clean it out with a hoof pick, working from heel to toe.
Gently dig the packed dirt, manure, and bedding out of the grooves (bars) around the triangular-shaped protrusion known as the frog. If your horse is barefoot (without horseshoes), the rest of the dirt will pop right out. If your horse has shoes on, remove other packed dirt that has stuck to the inside of the shoe, and inspect the shoes for looseness and wear.
Avoid shaving your horse's whiskers. They are tactile instruments. However, if you're going to show, you will need to do this. You can use small electric clippers designed for delicate areas. Some people use disposable human razors, especially for touch-ups. Don't shave the inside of her ears. Ear hair keeps out dirt, water, and insects. If her ear hair is long and unruly, you can tidy it up with a small pair of scissors.
In winter, digging frozen snow out of your horse's hoof can require a little muscle. To avoid the problems of ice adhering to metal horseshoes, many people have their farrier pull off the horse's shoes for wintertime, when they ride less often.