Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Product Review: Haas brushes

Background:  I like pretty things.  A lot.  But with brushes, I usually just use whatever is in my bag and don't think about it too hard.  I've had a random collection of nylon and unknown bristles in plastic handles for most of my career.  The horses are clean and shiny, no harm, no foul.  Why would I drop a bunch of money on a fancy set of brushes?  Because I own a yak and my brushes are mostly patting the surface.  I need something more effective to get down to the skin or I get this 'dead zone' in his winter coat that isn't groomed and becomes a mass of dead skin and oil.

I stared at the Haas brushes for a year.  Literally a year.  Reviews kept saying they really got into the coat.  I finally pulled the trigger and have been using them for a month.

The Product:  Haas brushes are made in Germany from a company that is very old (est 1919) and well respected.  They're definitely more expensive than your standard nylon bristle brushes.  They use natural materials for the bristles and most have a nice leather strap on the back to keep your hand in place.  They also have fancy German names like Cavaliere and Diva Exklusiv.

I did not go buy the whole 'Black Pack' set of brushes.  I couldn't convince myself to buy in that much.  But I did use sample lists of brushes to piece my set together.  I went through Smarkpak and bought  the Der Gute curry comb, Schimmel stiff brush, Cavaliere body brush, and Diamond Gloss finishing brush.

 Curry comb:  This thing is magic.  When I picked it up for the first time I went 'ugh, it feels cheap, it's hard plastic, why did I buy this?'.  And then I used it and watched the dirt and scurf and dandruff fly.   I don't know why this thing works as well as it does, but it cuts through mi papi's ridiculous coat and gets right down to the skin.  I usually buy softer, rubber curry combs.  This thing puts them all to shame for brute dirt removal.  Theo tolerated it on his belly better than I thought he would, so it's clearly not rough or offensive, just effective.  This thing is only $6 and is worth every penny and then some.  Even if you think the rest of the set is overpriced and dumb, give the curry a try for thick coats that get dirty.  It's also perfect for cleaning off brushes as you work.

Schimmel brush:  I like this one a lot.  I don't usually keep really stiff brushes around, too many horses get offended, but this one is a keeper.  It's coconut fiber and no joke stiff, but Theo hasn't killed me yet even when I do the girth area, so it's not over the top (unlike the Mustang that actually has some wire in it, I'm pretty sure that is too much for any clipped pony).  It's fantastic on knees and hocks that are coated in dried mud/manure/I do NOT want to know.  It's another product that really cuts through the coat and gets the dirt up from near the skin.  I keep the curry in my left hand to clean this brush as I go because it's great cutting through Theo's winter coat and getting up the dead skin.  I scrape it with the curry and watch the flakes of icky fall to the mats.  This is the other brush I would flat out recommend.  Between this and the curry, I'm seeing a real difference in how clean I can keep my shaggy yak.  I mean horse.
Cavaliere brush:  I was very confused on body brushes for awhile with Haas.  I eventually figured out that the Lippizaner and the Cavaliere were the same brush, but the Cavaliere was smaller and easier for small hands to handle.  That works for me!  I like this brush, it's a nice body brush and does a good job of getting the finer debris off of my horse that is left by the stiff brush.  It's also the one that goes on his face and he approves of it for use on delicate areas that still need a decent scrub (mud around the eyes most of the time).  It's not stunning like the first two, it's just very effective.  If you already have an effective, well loved body brush, don't bother.  If you need a replacement?  Go for it.  It's nice, dense, should last a long time, and puts on a nice shine.

Diamond Gloss brush:  This is so the wrong time of year to test this brush.  I did give it a good work out after his last clip job to see it in action.  It's so dense that it feels stiff and not like a finishing brush.  It does put one heck of a shine on your horse.  I don't bust this one out much since it's November and my horse is actually a yak, but when I tested it, it got the job done.  Worth the purchase?  If you're show ring bound, yeah, I'd toss this one in the show bag to give me that extra hit of shine before I head in.  I find I stop with the body brush most days at home, but I suspect the finishing brush will be getting more use in the summer.  It really needs your horse to be most of the way clean before you start to get the effect.  It's so dense it just jams up with dirt, but if you've done your work with the other brushes?  Mirror like finish is possible.

Overall?  I'm happy with my investment.  I'm seeing a real difference in the amount of gunk hidden under his coat and I'm having an easier time keeping him looking reasonable in this very rough time of year.  I'm looking forward to putting these brushes through their paces next summer when I can really shine him up for the competition ring.

At least the curry and the Schimmel brushes should be added to brush collections.  Those things are magic for those that own yaks.


  1. I love the Schimmel so much that I bought a second one for horse #2. I realkg want that Der Gute curry comb, Here's my review It's a couple of their other brushes: https://grayflannelhorses.blogspot.ca/2017/07/favourite-things-2.html

  2. One day I will learn to edit before pushing Publish.