11-28-2010, 10:47 PM
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This is from Horse Experts, Horse Training, Equestrian Resources
, cause I'm lazy and I don't feel like typing right now:
Winter Spa Day
Temperatures may be chilly, but you can still spiff up your horse with these eight tips for cold weather cleanup.
By Jennifer Nice
Horse IllustratedFebruary 2008
Oh, how we love to ride in the winter! Our toes and fingers might be painfully cold, but our hearts are warmed by the sound
Of our horses' hooves and the sweet smell of their breath in the frosty air.
Unfortunately, some things winter weather dishes out aren't so fabulous. Take, for example, your horse's wooly mammoth
Coat. Have you ever noticed that the last day of fly season leads directly into the first day your horse starts getting fuzzy?
The fact that the water coming out of the hose is freezing cold makes it official. Instead of lamenting your lack of such
Luxuries as a hot water wash rack, or that your horse's lifestyle doesn't permit a full body clip, use a little innovation to get
Him clean on cold days.
1. Hot Towel Treatment
A towel bath is a bit of a workout for you, but it will get your horse surprisingly clean. Thoroughly groom your horse first to
Remove any caked-on mud and dirt. Then collect several medium-sized towels, and fill a 5-gallon bucket with the hottest
Water you can find. (Cold water will suffice if that's what you have access to, but don't discount a trek to the kitchen sink.)
The hotter the water, the better it will pick up dirt and dust. You can use rubber kitchen gloves if the water temperature is
Uncomfortable on your hands.
Soak a towel in the bucket of water, wring out as much of the water as you can, and rub the hair briskly in both directions
(with and against the hair growth). Rinse out the towel as necessary and repeat, working over small sections at a time. You
May need to change the water if it gets dirty.
When you finish an area, take a dry towel and rub the hair in the same manner. Your last stroke should be against the
Direction the hair grows so it is standing up; this will help it dry quicker. As soon as you finish toweling, cover your horse with
A cooler to keep him from getting chilled and to speed drying. Once he is dry, spray his coat with a coat conditioner to
Moisturize the hair and help repel dust, then finish with a regular brushing.
2. Sponge Bath
Regardless of how thoroughly you brushed your horse before riding, you may still have mud-caked sweat to contend with
Afterward. Sponge bathing with warm water is the best method for a full-body bath in the cold; you can keep half of his body
Covered with a cooler while washing the other half. A large, coarse sponge is best to use for a post-ride rubdown. Squeeze
Excess water out of the sponge and scrub the sweaty areas, starting at your horse's ears. If he has worked up a good sweat,
These areas may be foamy. Frequently rinse out the sponge and continue scrubbing the sweaty parts until the foam is gone.
Finally, rub the areas with a dry towel and leave the hair standing up. A cooler will help wick moisture from the coat and
Keep him warm as he dries.
3. Braving the Cold
Although it may be too cold for a full bath, you can generally hose off your horse from the elbows down without making him
Uncomfortable. To get your horse accustomed to the cold water, particularly if he is still hot from a workout, start at the
Bottom of his legs and slowly work your way up. By the time you reach the top of his legs, he should be acclimated to the
Water, and you can wash his girth area and between his front and back legs without worrying about him getting chilled.
Work as quickly as possible in an area protected from drafts or wind. Avoid getting cold water along his topline or the
Hindquarters, as these areas are more sensitive to cold and will cause him to become chilled. Rub him down thoroughly with
Dry towels when you finish, and cover him with a cooler until he is dry.
You can also wash your horse's tail in cold water, provided you wash below the tailbone. Use a sponge for the top part of his
Tail. Because there are no flies to contend with during the winter, you can also braid or bag your horse's tail to help keep it
Keep in mind that cold weather bathing is generally best suited for a mild winter climate or a heated wash rack.