Grooming after cold weather riding
How do you groom your horse after riding in chilly or cold weather. when it's warm I usually wash my horse down to remove the sweat and dirt. I use a sweat scraper to remove all the excess water, I brush her and then I put a fleece cooler on her. However, I don't know what to do when it's cold. Where I ride most people don't ride when the weather starts to get cold so I want to know the proper grooming methods when riding in cold weather. Thanks
If they are really hot, I rub with a towel, and then put a fleece cooler on. Then I keep them in the stall for a few hours to keep out of the wind, and so they don't trash the cooler :wink:
brush em, usually give em a bit to eat and water while I do, check his feet, then we just walk circles for a bit till he dries off, I'm usually not in a hurry. If it was cold and he was damp or wet from sweat Id get him inside till he dries. Im not a believer in blankets. Horses are better able to regulate their body temperature without them as long as they arnt exposed to something unnatural, Like way more sweat in the cold, or big unseasonal drop in temp, artificial lighting, or being clipped.
I always spend extra time cooling my horse off at a walk after I ride during winter. Then I usually bring the cooler down to the arena with me and I put it on him after taking the saddle off. then I walk him around in the cooler so his legs stay warm and the cooler sucks out all of the sweat.
Then when I get back to the barn with him (I carry my tack or go back for it) I start to slowly peel off the cooler depending on how dry areas of his body are. I have a square cooler right now so the first area would be his chest and front legs. So I peel it back when it's dry. Then his back and underbelly, then lastly his hips/kidney region. After he's all dry (usually takes around 15-20 minutes, 30 max) then I make sure to curry him really well so his hair isn't lying flat. I always use a hand towel to dry around his ears and throat latch where his bridle was.
But to me, it's very important to cool them off completely after you have finished working them. Don't let them go out steaming hot or they can get sick.
When it starts to get colder I trace clip my mare so that she dries more quickly with just a simple cooler. But if she really works up a sweat, the first thing I do is take my rubber curry and brush backwards to fluff up the sweaty hair then stick a cooler on her. Then I go on to other grooming things like her mane/tail and her hooves, and come back to the body hair when I'm finished there. If she's still really wet I'll use a hair dryer to get her dry before I put her turnout sheet back on.
If Caleb is not soaking wet I use a fine tooth rubber curry loaded with baby powder and rub it into his skin then put his cooler and walk him for about 20 minutes. If hes super wet I rub him down with a towel before I curry.
Also extra long warm up/cool down time in winter is very important. In summer I spend 1/2 the ride doing warm up/cool down, in winter its 2/3.
I usually hand walk a few extra laps around the arena, then when I untack I immediately put Cin's cooler on him. I kind of rub him all over from the outside of the cooler to help it absorb some of the excess moisture. When most of the moisture is gone I groom him in spots by pulling up the cooler in one area, then putting it back down when done and moving to another area.
Then I put him away and feed. If it's going to be a cold night I put an appropriate blanket on him and/or shut him in from his run. For some reason his winter coat never seems as thick as the other horses so I get a little paranoid.
Hits, I do the same, except that I curry in circles, then brush in the direction of the hairs--which I do every time that I ride, even in the hottest weather.
I would blanket until cool, after you've walked enough to dry your horse off some. Remember to remove the blanket. Your horse has been building a good coat as temperatures dropped, so you don't want to make him too warm and sweat by leaving the blanket on. THAT's only important if you clip all year round.
If your stable is metal, then it's going to be a lot colder inside when you finish. Wooden barns insulate, but the steel/aluminum ones with big, indoor arenas, are affordable so it's more likely. As long as the horse's core is warm, his legs can feel cold, but he'll be okay. Just plan on investing more time warming up and cooling down in cold weather. =D
Also, if it's one of those sunny days without a wind, your horse can be walked outside and sun-dried...like tomatoes! =d
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