Any tips on winter grooming? I plan on riding throughout our very cold winters and want to keep my mare as healthy as possible. I won't have access to a wash bay and she will be kept outside all winter without a blanket (her privious owner said her coat gets long and fluffy enough to keep her warm without a blanket). So, my question is mainly how to deal with all that hair!? Also, any tips on a cooler? I can't seem to find any reliable tips online so I'm hoping someone here can help me out :)
Thanks in advance!!
If she's healthy, she'll do well without a blanket :) fluffy coat is no different from normal coat, really. It just takes more time to dry. She should have access to a "safe" area (safe from the wind, safe from the rain, safe from the mud) in case she wants to use it.
If she gets muddy (and then the mud dries) you brush, and brush, and brush... until you clean the parts of the horse where the saddle, bridle and girth go. Don't worry with the rest of the horse unless you like to have her clean. And spend two hours grooming. The horse doesn't really need to sparkle, but you need to check that under all that mud there are no cuts.
If the mud is wet, you should try to dry it with sand, or straw, or whatever, and then brush it off. Just don't saddle a muddy coat, because it can cause frictions and sores.
After riding, you should have a couple of fleece blankets to put on her and then walk her until she's dry. You usually end up having a wet blanket, and then you change it with another, and you remove the last when you're positive her skin is dry.
If it rains, you might consider covering her under a roof, and let her out without blankets when she's reasonably dry and you're sure she have a normal "at rest" breath/heart rate.
To be sure, check how she is before you ride, you should return her to the pasture no more wet/panting than that.
If the ground gets very muddy, you will want to put some fungicide under the hooves. I just know the common name for it in Italian, so I don't want to translate badly and advice something different and harmful, check with local horse-owners, they should know one and how often they use it.
We rode in Wpg at -25 and kept mainly to the walk. The chest was what would get the wettest so we'd scissor it to about 2" in length and kept towels handy to wipe the chest area dry and the saddle area. Also, we would remove the saddle and leave the pad on until the back had returned to normal temp. then remove the pad and rub vigorously with the towel.
Thanks for the run down! I'm not too worried about the mud until the spring but it's good to know and be prepared for. Our winters are pretty harsh, usually no warmer than -20 Celsius until around March so I don't think there will be much mud until it warms up and the snow melts.
I'm not planning on clipping her, I want the winter to be as natural as possible because she isn't being blanketed so I don't want to alter her natural protection, but I will keep that in mind for the future!
She has a nice big three sided shelter with a roof so she can get away if need be :) I'll be on the lookout for fleece blankets in the next month or so!
I'm very excited for the fluffy hair to grow in, she'll be so cute! Thanks for the tips :)
Winter riding is great! My guy gets so hairy you can hardly see his bridle and breatcollar lol. The biggest thing is not excersize without getting him wet. Warm yes wet no. Unless you plan on hanging out with him/her for a while. Make sure you curry comb well where the saddle and girth ect, go. You might have to as the hair comes let out you bridle/girth depending on how hairy your horse gets. If your horse gets wet get ready to brush vigorously until dry. Think about how you would feel if you ran in your chore clothes till sweaty then had to loose the jacket and coveralls. Another way to get around - bareback. Warm on our tooshy lol ( my preffered method come -30 lol)
My oldest one is used to a shop vac and as long as he's not wet and dirty I shop vac him. He quite likes it actually, I use an attachment that that I think massages him while I do it.
I ride in the winter pretty often, my mare doesn't get a thick coat, at all. It's more like just her undercoat grows. There have only been a few instances where she had actually worked up a sweat. I bought a cooler (fleece liner) because I'm a little obsessive.
Adjusta-Fit® TEKNO-FLEECE® Bellyband Liner in Blanket Liners at Schneider Saddlery
I use that after we rider, regardless of if she gets sweaty, in cold weather. Just so that while she cools down, she has something to keep her back muscles warm.
As for grooming, although I blanket my mare now, for the first two years I didn't.
I would curry the heck out of her, all over. If she had any wet/muddy spots I would do those last. (Just try to get off the chunky dirt off, it'll dry while you ride)
Then brush as normal.
I have found it is helpful to have a good brush to keep their coat healthy and get the mud and dirt out without getting them wet. Our TB mare gets blanketed on the really cold days but we want her to have a thick coat to stay warm. I also have a wool coolout blanket to help soak up sweat and dry them out while keeping them warm.
That you all for all the great tips!!
Also, does anyone have any good winter riding boots they could suggest? The pair I had picked out doesn't ship to Canada :(
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