There are many different ways to groom a horse, and many supposed "correct" ways. Do this, but don't do this. How is one suppose to know what is right from wrong?
For me, I gather a lot of information, and based on what I know (and common sense) I come up with a "plan" of how I am going to groom.
Generally I choose to have the horse tied in his/her stall. I have used cross ties in the past, but from an accident two years ago I am uncertain around them. Sometimes I won't have the horse tied in the stall, but if he or she starts moving regardless of where I am I tie right away, mostly because of safety concerns. When it is nice and I am in a good mood I also attempt to groom in the hallway of the barn. When in the hallway I make sure that the horse does not move, and if he/she does I either back the horse up or trot it down the hallway, and put it back roughly in the same area it was before. This usually makes my grooming process longer, but I feel it is a good skill for the horse to learn.
Next I use the curry vigorously to break up the loose dirt. It also is a great "scratcher" for the horse, and also messages muscles. I make sure not to use the curry below the hip or shoulder, because past those points horses do not have a lot of muscle to use the curry and generally brushing the legs is enough. Some people go lower to the next joint down which I hear is okay also as long as you are more gentle.
After currying I have 2 brushes and use the harder of the two to brush away the big dirt and to bring dirt that is by the skin to the surface of the coat. When brushing I make little "sweeps" instead of a couple long ones. I believe this does a better job at getting to the dirt. Then I use the softer brush and repeat the process. I tend to brush a little more vigriously in order to get that shine from the coat and bring out the oils.
After all the brushing of the coat is done, I brush the mane and tail starting from the bottom and working my way up. Everyone seems to have a different opinion about brushing manes and tails, saying that brushing them too often damages the hair, while some say it doesn't damage the hair at all. I personally believe that as long as you aren't putting a ton of "product" in the horses mane or tail, you are all set. I brush the horses mane's and tail's every time I groom and I have yet to see a negative impact on the quality of the hair.
Lastly I pick the feet, making sure I get as much dirt out as I can. This is especially important since Spring will soon be here and thrush will become a concern.
How do you groom your horse? Do you prefer to have the horse tied, cross tied, drop tied, or with no halter at all? Where do you stand on brushing the mane and tail?