Thursday, December 4, 2008

Strapping your horse (a grooming technique)

Practical Horseman magazine published a book in the seventies -- The Practical Horseman Book of Horsekeeping -- that I still have and hold dearly. The book has a section on grooming, where I read for the first time about "strapping" or what the book referred to as banging. The idea behind strapping is to lightly slap the horse's muscled areas with a wisp, cloth, or leather pad. The horse tenses and relaxes with each slap. It does not *sound* like fun, but apparently the groom gets into a rhythm and the horses relish the feeling as they would a massage. Strapping aids muscle tone, relaxation, and cleaning/polishing. Most experts advise starting with just a few slaps per muscle group and building from there.

Wanna give it a try? The info below tells you more or less what you need to know...

Laura Bechtolsheimer on grooming
from (uses wisp)

) .

Strapping a horse from Videojug (with a leather pad)

Horse Riding: How To Strap Your Horse

Tools for strapping a horse (click images to enlarge) The Practical Horseman book showed strapping with a wisp, which is made at home, from hay. Instructions for making one are hard to come by but super instructions from the book have been reproduced below.
Nowadays, it seems leather pads or tea towels are popular for strapping.

Another description of strapping

In the old days we called it strapping and it has a marvelous effect not only on the horse but on you to. Start off by giving your animal a good body brushing, remembering to scrape the brush across the curry comb regularly. Next take a strapping pad (a round leather pad with a suede face) and starting at the neck work over the whole body attacking each group of muscles by thumping them, then smoothing the pad across them in a regular thump and slide motion.

It is as well to alternate between your right and left hand otherwise after a month your muscles will be more developed on one side than another. That of course is if you have been doing it properly!

If you are unable to get a strapping pad you could try making an old fashioned wisp from hay. First twist some hay into a long string then gather the top end of the string into two loops. Wind the remaining string through the loops to form a hay pad.
Perhaps not as stylish as a leather pad but the coarse hay will help stimulate the skin
blog it


  1. I love are awesome for posting it! will try it and get back to you!

  2. My German Shepherd loves it when I do 'slapping' to his sides and back - guessing this is a very similar thing?

    We do it more as play than as a massage, but he loves it all the same!

    I've also tagged your blog for a great picture meme - Sixth Photo Game... oh, and My Birthday. It's a lot of fun :)

    Admitably I know very little about the equestrian world, yet your blog seems to bring it to a very approachable level - which is a great thing!

  3. Thanks for posting the videos! I've often heard of this technique, but without seeing it it's hard to "get it" from just written descriptions. It looks like a great thing to do for any performance horse!

  4. I got that book for Christmas in 1993 and still treasure it. One of my FAVORITE horse books.

    There's also instructions for making a wisp and strapping in Grooming To Win by Susan Harris.

    I always wanted to try it, but when I had my own horse I was tiny (14 - 17 years old and not even 100 lbs until i was 16), so I thought it wouldn't really do any good.

    I'm still tiny, but I think with my next horse I will try it!


  5. I love your blog!!! I noticed you were following mine, and I wwill now follow yours. Such great info. Keep on riding, and writing!

  6. I've begun trying this on my sensitive TB and he loves it. --Eve


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