The most incredible thing about the Christian faith, besides coming to the point where we are convinced we need the Savior, is the practical servant heartedness of it.

Many times religion is thought of as regular ritual activity, but Christ threw a wrench in that when he flung aside his robe and started washing feet. This pillar of Christianity (when we are awake) is all about doing more than is required. Since we know we are going to heaven based totally on God’s extraordinary servant heartedness in Jesus Christ, we are free to be true volunteers. Christ was always about healing, helping, and true growth, and this same down to earth scenario transfers to the horse world also.

A good horseman knows how to walk the extra mile, not because he or she fell off, but rather doing more to start with.

Mike Daniels

Mike Daniels

My focus this time will emphasize grooming. Women are usually much better at this than men, but that is really no excuse for mediocrity. No one should pass up an opportunity like this for a horse to appreciate us better. Remember that this is one of the building blocks for self-working horses (natural GPS systems).

This time of year, horses can get cockleburs in their manes and tails, and we might have to take extra effort to get them out. Vegetable oil will make it easier for this “inspiration for velcro” to slide out of their hair. Oil will also help untangle knots and twisted hair.

We should regularly pick out horses’ feet to free any unwanted material that has accumulated that can grow bacteria that can weaken the feet. Any soft, flaky material can be scraped loose. Any parts of the frog that are looking wimpy and folded over can be cut off, because moisture and bacteria can thrive in that environment. The foot gets tougher if it can dry. Direct contact with dry ground will strengthen the frog and sole of their foot.

We can use metal curry combs to free mud, dead hair and other debris from their bodies We then use stiff brushes to clean their hair coats further. Soft brushes and cloths should be used around sensitive areas. After a good workout on the ground or in the saddle, we can take rubber curry combs and massage their muscles. I usually have a grooming instrument in each hand, whether it be two brushes, curry combs, or a brush and a curry comb. I serve the horses I ride in such a way that I use it as a workout for myself as well.

I have emphasized in the past that when we work with a horse on the ground, it’s also a foot washing situation. If we are asking a horse to go through a wide variety of dance moves on the ground, we are in effect a lead dancer moving with our horses as well. There are times when we are trying to groom our horses, and they do not want to stand still. This is an excellent time to do a vigorous mind engaging workout on the ground.

Remember that a good “Simon says” style routine which works the mind and body equally helps horses and humans appreciate the grooming experience that much more, especially if there happens to be a lack of patience present. Mutual respect happens when there is more walk than talk, so we can cut back the scolding and not be afraid to sweat with the horse while we are both engaging our minds at the same time.

Remember, since we get to play the role of God with our horses – imitating how God serves us – we are shaping their world. Let us be such servant leaders to our mounts, that they can indeed say about us “my god is a foot washer.”

Mike Daniels is a horsemanship trainer and barefoot trimming specialist from Raymondville. Email: