Winter Grooming and Conditioning? - Page 2

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Winter Grooming and Conditioning?

This is a discussion on Winter Grooming and Conditioning? within the Horse Grooming forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    12-06-2009, 10:51 AM
I'm in sarnia and my horse sheds around may. ;)
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    12-06-2009, 11:48 AM
Well, if you don't want him to have much of a winter coat, you can start to blanket him early. The reason some horses don't need blankets unless it gets around 0 is because the owner doesn't blanket them at all. If you start to blanket them early than the hairs will lay flat and they will not get as much insulation from them which is why they will NEED a blanket.

As for the tail bag, yes I prefer to use long socks. Like my fiance's hunting socks which are like 3 ft long lol, maybe 2 ft. I cut the top so that there are two strips where I can tie them and it works really good. For the conditioner, I use cowboy magic, but I've heard M-T-G works amazing so I'm actually going to try it.
    12-06-2009, 12:27 PM
I'm a newbie horse owner too. I just bought a centaur lycra braid and tail bag. My question is, how difficult is it to seperate the three chunks of hair into the three separate bags before you begin to braid? Seems like it would be tough. How often should you take it out and condition it again? Everywhere I've read it states that the horses tail should be completely dry. Should it be dry from the conditioner I use too? (M-T-G) Thanks.
    12-06-2009, 08:10 PM
Yaay for newbie horse owners ! ^^ I'm still confused about the tail bagging to be honest on HOW to do it... like, can someone give me a step by step answer?
    12-06-2009, 11:56 PM
I french braid the top of the tail; well, because of the thickness, my mare has two frenchies; one at the top of her tail, and another halfway down, then I do a simple braid for the bottom layer. I braid the top braids into the lower one, and tie the bag in at the bottom of the tail bone; with the other braids braided in, a horse can't possibly lose his bag! I will braid polar fleece strips into the lower braid as well, sometimes, to help further prevent breakage (as you don't have to braid so tight to keep it in), and bag as usual.
    12-07-2009, 12:09 AM
You can also do a braiding, and not worry about bagging; that's what I currently do with the two young horses I oversee care of, as I don't have bags to go around.

As far as blanketing, I'll be perfectly honest, I don't have much experience in that realm; my mare does wear a protective sheet, mainly because she hates the wind, but other than that doesn't wear clothes for the sake of warmth. I grew up in MN, and never blanketed any horse in the winter. The only exception was a cooler to help dry him off if he got sweated up.

As far as clipping, I don't do any real tight clipping in the winter; bridlepath, maybe whiskers and underside of jaw; legs I leave alone, as I never liked the idea of them standing in deep snow without coat to protect him on his feet and legs. I may do it here in AZ though, especially on my white legged mare...may be easier to keep stains on her legs down, without having to wash much. But it doesn't freeze or get much snow here, so I won't feel so uncomfortable about it.

Shedding started usually around the end of March-early April there. I can foresee that happening earlier here in AZ (my first year here!).

For conditioners, I use Mane and Tail diluted, as a leave in. I also use some of the products I used as a dog groomer, but these aren't always readily available to most folks. For quicky clean ups in the winter, I've always used Laser Sheen, then condition and rebraid as usual. I've had really good results from Eqyus products, but they are a bit more spendy, especially if you're on a limited budget.

As far as his nose, there are products available just for horses, or just use a mild sunblock; say one for kids, on his nose. I would invest in one of the fly masks that has the nose protector as well. Even a nose band protector can help a bit, as it will provide 'shade' to some parts of the nose.
    12-07-2009, 10:48 AM
Hmm.. I see... so basicly you're just braiding the tail after its conditioned and like... bag it. I guess I can use MTG. I'm going to try just... braiding it all. Even though I'm not that good at braiding.
    12-07-2009, 11:01 AM
So my first question, What exactly is the purpose for bagging a horses tail, and how do you do it ?! I'm really interested in this. What would I use?

You can vet wrap it or use a bag, sock or panty hose. Tail bags can be purchased at a tack store. Its suposed to help a tail stay clean. I personally think it can be a pain and isnt really needed as long as you keep the tail from dragging on the groung and brushing it once in a while.

Another thing... Blanketing..How do you know when you should add another liner underneath the winter blanket?

if you horse still gets a good coat with your current blanket. I like my horses to have some coat, while others don't. Its just preference.

A big one Do you think its okay to clip their legs up to their knees in winter time?

I don't clip unless the horse is getting scratches/ fungus from the damp hair and I need to medicated it.

When do they start shedding out their winter fur? Around what month?

When days get longer and it gets warmer. Depends on your area and horses metabolism.

Is there anything else I should know what to do in the winter time regarding grooming/ conditioning and keeping my horse healthy?

Horses require more engery to stay worm, so they may need more food. If you see a decrease in body condition feed a little more. I don't blanket, I try not to brush alot, it flattens hair and the more puffy the more warm air traped in there, to keep them warm. Snowballs can be dangerous. Watch out for snow collecting in a horses feed. Pick it out as much as you can or get pads with your horses shoes. Horses tend to be fiestiery and crabbier in the winter, so just keep that in mind.

    12-15-2009, 10:38 PM
Originally Posted by Unwoven    
What exactly is the purpose for bagging a horses tail, and how do you do it ?! I'm really interested in this. What would I use?
Personally, I bag my mares' tails in the winter for different reasons. My Percheron/ Thoroughbred mare has a super thick tail and tends to form a lot of dread locks. She is also queen at getting grass, shavings, leaves, burrs, etc all in it. The tail bag helps her tail stay clean and dread lock free.

However, my palomino Quarter horse mare has the opposite problem. She has a thin, white tail. In her case the bag not only helps it stay clean, but also protects it from getting stuck on things and further thinning it.

My favorite kind of tail bag is the single bag (as opposed to using vet wrap or the braid in kind). To put in this kind of tail bag, all you do is just wash and condition your horse’s tail really well, let it completely dry, loosely braid the tail starting about an inch under the tail bone, end the braid with a rubber band, put the braid in the bag, and tie or snap (depending on the kind of bag used) the bag through the braid. I usually try to take it out to “air” and re-braid every two weeks, and usually wash and the condition it about once a month.

(this is the kind of tailbag I use on my mares: Pro-Craft? Tail Bag - )

Originally Posted by Unwoven    
How do you know when you should add another liner underneath the winter blanket?
Winter blankets come in different weights. I would think that if you lived in Canada, that you would want a heavy weight blanket. I live in north Georgia and blanket my mares with a medium weight Saxon (Weatherbeeta) blanket when it’s under 50 degrees at night or raining during the day. If it gets less than 25 degrees at night or during the day, I layer their Saxons with a cotton or fleece sheet. My mares also have full winter coats though, so they have “natural” protection as well.

Originally Posted by Unwoven    
Do you think its okay to clip their legs up to their knees in winter time?

I usually don’t clip my mares’ legs at all in the winter time. Unless your horse is constantly stalled, I would think that the “extra” hair would only be beneficial for your horse. Not only is the hair going to keep him/her legs warmer, but it’s also going to protect the legs from mud and other debris.

Originally Posted by Unwoven    
When do they start shedding out their winter fur? Around what month?
This answer depends on a lot of factors.

1) -if your horse was under lights or blanketed in the winter.—For example, since my mares stay warmer from being blanketed, their coats shed sooner and more quickly than my neighbors horses that stay outside and don’t have blankets.

2) – diet and worming schedule. A balanced diet and worming schedule will allow your horse to use the nutrients it takes in to shed out and produce a nice shiny, summer coat. Worming regularly and alternating products also is supposed to aid in the shedding process as well. So pretty much, the healthier your horse, the faster he will shed to a (healthy) coat.

2) –location. Since I live in the Southeast, and it stays significantly warmer and warms up sooner than other places in the country. My girls usually start shedding around mid-March, but do the bulk of it during mid-April. Normally they are finished by early May.
    12-15-2009, 11:12 PM
Originally Posted by Unwoven    
Is there anything reccomended to use to condition my boys tail?
MTG is a good product to use. (Shapley's Original M-T-G - ) However some horses are allergic to it, so test it in a small area first before applying it. Also, you only use it on the tail bone itself, instead of the entire tail, since the tail grows from the tail bone! (Probably an obvious thing, but people still do it! Haha) Make sure to read the directions on the bottle though. If you apply MTG too frequently it can have adverse side effects.

However, it says on the bottle of MTG to only apply in the late afternoon/ night time. I'm assuming that since it is pretty much oil based, that it absorbs sunlight/ heat and possibly increases your horse's chances of sunburning even more. So just be careful where you use it.

Other products you can try are coconut oil and Eqyss Mega Tek (Eqyss Mega Tek Rebuilder - Dover Saddlery.). I haven't tried these, but work well on horses allergic to MTG or owners who can't stand its smell. (I think that it smells like bacon! Haha)

Originally Posted by Unwoven    
Also I want something with some sunblock for in the summer he's prone to bad sunburns on his little muzzle.
If just his muzzle sunburns in the summer, you can just use normal people sunscreen. However if the white patches on his body tend to get sunburned, you can use a flyspray like Endure (by Farnam- Farnam® Endure® Sweat-Resistant Fly Spray - or a fly sheet if he is SUPER prone to burning. Personally I would try to avoid sheeting him and just bring him inside during the day and turnout at night.

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