I've found grooming to be a very personal thing. For a lot of riders, it becomes a bit of a ritual. So here's my question: What does your grooming routine look like?
For Theo, it take me on average 30 minutes to get him ready for a ride. 45 minutes to an hour isn't unheard of when I have the time to spare. What can I say, my pony is a princess and requires a lot of adoration in order to feel content with the world.
As it's fall, the routine starts with pulling his blanket off. Then I use my hoof brush to get the muck off of the outside of his hooves so they can dry before I pick his feet. Then it's time to get out the tail brush and brush out his forelock, mane and tail. This is to put him in a good mood and usually involves brushing the inside of his ears. He's weird. His tail is massive, so it can take awhile. Good thing he really enjoys it. Which is a little weird, but okay.
If I'm in a hurry, it's just taking out the hay and dirt clods. If I have time, it gets sprayed down with detangler and completely brushed out. I usually braid up his forelock to keep it out of his eyes and out of his fancy browbands.
Next comes the curry comb, making sure to really work over the good spots on the neck and hind quarters. This eats up most of my time. Theo doesn't have a friend for mutual grooming sessions, so that's my job. His crest and withers get a lot of attention. I know I'm doing a good job when he tries to return the favor, messing with my hair or playing with my shirt. Then stiff brush to get the mud off of his legs and body brush on the rest of him. By this point his hooves are dry and he can get his feet picked out.
Once he's cleaned up and fit to be seen in public, I rub the top of his neck down with liniment. Gives it some time to soak in and get to work while I tack him up and get all of his boots on. I've noticed it speeds up our warm up process. He gets a cookie after the girth goes on so he doesn't try to take a chunk out of anyone. By the time we get to the bridle, he's been pet, pampered, and massaged for about 30 minutes. It usually gets me a nice, soft expression before we head out.
I've been informed by several people that the routine is a little over the top, but no one can argue with the shiny, happy results.
So, how does your grooming routine go?