Dick Brown had said that New York horse-buyers were in the neighborhood, so every night Father gave the four-year-old colts a special, careful grooming. The four-year-olds were already perfectly broken, and Almanzo wanted so much to help groom them that Father let him. But he was allowed to go into their stalls only when Father was there.
Carefully Almanzo currycombed and brushed their shining brown sides, and their smooth round haunches and slender legs. Then he rubbed them down with clean cloths. He combed and braided their black manes and their long black tails. With a little brush he oiled their curved hoofs, till they shone black as Mother’s polished stove.
Chapter 13: The Strange Dog, Farmer Boy
Almanzo takes great pride in being old enough to care for his father’s horses and being allowed to currycomb the work horses, but he longs to currycomb the colts.
A currycomb is a grooming tool used for horses and other livestock, although in Farmer Boy, it is used just on horses. It is typically made of metal, plastic, or rubber, and has a handle with a row of small teeth or ridges along one or both sides. The one Almanzo used was likely made of metal but possibly rubber.
Almanzo uses a currycomb to groom the workhorses horses as part of his daily chores on the family farm. The currycomb is used to loosen dirt and debris from the horse’s coat, and to help distribute natural oils throughout the coat for a healthy shine.
To use a currycomb, the groomer will typically use circular motions to work the tool along the horse’s coat, paying special attention to areas like the neck, shoulders, and hindquarters where dirt and sweat tend to accumulate. The currycomb can also be used to massage and stimulate the horse’s skin, which can improve circulation and overall health.
Overall, the currycomb is an essential tool for any farmer or rancher who works with horses or other livestock, and it remains a common tool for grooming animals to this day.
Almanzo was always well known for his utmost care for his horses.