After this winter’s horrible wet and mud, I decided it was time to invest in a horse vacuum. My horses, Oh So in particular, love to be encrusted in mud. I actually saw Sam go down in a giant mud puddle and completely submerge himself and Bear loves to get both sides dirty the minute I put him back out after a ride.
There aren’t a lot of options out there, with the high end Electro-Groom being a top choice, but also more than $600, and the Vac N’Blo receiving less than stellar reviews, so I went with the Rapid Groom after some research.
It retails for about $370. The vacuum comes with two nozzle ends, one metal and one rubber for vacuuming legs and sensitive areas, and three bags. Extra bags run about $4.
The vacuum itself if pretty small, but is heavy at 32 pounds. It has little wheels on one end so you can drag the vacuum by the hose around the horse. I’ve also found that picking it up by one end and rolling it works too.
In a perfect world, the cord to plug it in would be retractable, but it’s simple enough to put up by wrapping it around two hooks on the outside of the body.
The nozzle were simple to put on. The metal one comes with a small screw to help hold it in place, while the rubber one just slips on to the end of the hose.
The 10′ hose is supposedly “crush proof”, but thankfully I haven’t tested that theory yet!
I wasn’t quite sure when to change the bag, so after about two weeks of use on 2 horses, I opened the end of the vacuum and pulled it out. It was nearly to the top, and changing it was simple. I laughed as I realized that all of that dirt could have been on me! THAT is why I bought a vacuum!
Oh So and Bear took to it pretty easily. They were actually more scared of the hose and of me dragging the vacuum by the hose in front of them, but I just rubbed it on them, let them sniff it, and that was that. I turned it on near Sam once and he started shaking with fear/spookiness, so as I expected, I won’t be using it on him!
The vacuum has two speeds, high and low. Low works well for dust and dirt, but high is definitely better for crusted, dry mud and loose hair.
It is loud, although the company says the motor is quiet. I’d never used any other kind of horse vacuum before, so I can’t say whether this one is particularly loud.
I definitely noticed my horses were cleaner and had more of a shine to their coats after using the vacuum. With regular use, vacuums are said to bring out the naturals oils in the coat, but I had pretty good results right off the bat.
Oh So is very fidgety about being groomed and he’s definitely quieter when I use it. In fact, when I go back to brushes sometimes, he gets agitated.
Bear likes the suction feel on his skin and does a little lip thing, as does Rocky.
We’re at the end of shedding season now, but when I used the vacuum a few weeks ago, I followed up with a curry comb or my Laser Sheen shedding block to really get the hair out.
When Oh So is particularly encrusted in mud, I’ll sometimes use a curry comb to get the big chunks off first, but in the end, I end up cleaner than I would be by grooming by hand and that’s a definite plus!
The only negative I’ve found is that to take off the end to change the bag, you have to unravel the cord to open the snaps, which is inconvenient, but it’s a small price to pay for a clean horse!