If you experience static while grooming your horse, wet the brush.
I wish this had occurred to me when I lived in a high desert town in Colorado. One of the area’s lovely amenities was extremely low humidity and a short, mild Winter. I’ve never done as much outdoor riding during Winter as I did when I lived there. Heaven!
Low humidity has very little downside for me. One notable exception is static. Previous to my move, I had only ridden or kept horses on the East coast or in the Midwest. Both humid climates where I rarely encountered static.
Imagine my shock when I went to groom my horse one Colorado Winter day, only to have Bear startle and jump. Being slow to realize what was happening, I tried two more times to brush him. Bear had the same reaction.
Bear is naturally a twitchy, nervous, high energy kind of guy. His strong reaction wasn’t entirely out of character. I figured he was just having a bad day. On about the third grooming try, I felt a spark. I finally realized I must have been shocking him with every stroke.
The only thing that I new stopped static? Dryer sheets. We lived in a small rental with attached pasture. I was a backyard horse keeper in Colorado too. I quickly marched into the house’s laundry room and grabbed a box. I went back outside to stroke my now wide-eyed horse with the dry sheets until we both relaxed.
I was reminded of this incident while recently reading an article in the January/February 2021 issue of Horse Illustrated magazine, “Fuzzy Wuzzy Winter Spa Day” by Elizabeth Moyer. Moyer writes about ways to cut Winter grooming static including using a grooming spray/conditioner or wetting the grooming tools. Genius!
Fortunately for Bear, static wasn’t an everyday occurrence in Colorado. But it happened often enough that I could have saved money/eliminated dryer-sheet waste had this tip been on my radar.
So if you ever encounter a similar situation, just remember to lightly wet the bottom of your grooming tools to eliminate that static (an unfrozen spritz bottle of water or a damp cloth can both do the trick).
*Thank you to photographer, Chris Bair, and Unsplash for the use of this post’s featured photo.