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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I need a little help. When I ride our horses, it's normally for no more than 40 minutes, the usual walk/trot/canter warm up, then either moving on to lateral work or jumping. The horses are never really "hot" as such, so I just walk them on a long rein for a few minutes, jump off and take them to the stable, untack, brush them and then put their rugs back on.

I am trying to do some coursework (for BHS Stage 3) and I could do with some help. I need to know how to cool a horse off properly after hard work. So basically a competition horse or a race horse. The horse would be much hotter, sweatier etc. Now, I have used trust Google and found more than 5 different articles, all with different opinions and information! I referred back to my BHS and PC books, and again they had completely different ideas.

What the hell? Some say no cold water on the body, some say cold water cools them quicker and is fine. Some say leave the saddle on for a while, some say take it off ASAP. You get the idea... So, what do you think?
 

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My mentor used to work on the race track in New York. What they did was put two wool blankets, like you get at the army surplus stores, on the horse and walk it until they dried. She said the first blanket wicks the sweat away and the second soaks it up drying the horse really fast. She said walking them with the blankets helps them cool so you have to walk them. I too will interested to read what others have to say.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, I knew you had to walk them and I get the whole blanket thing :) It's so hard to find a difinitive answer, and that's what my coursework is asking for!

Some articles said cold water on the body will close the blood vessels leading to problems, other articles said there is no proof of this and the cold water cools the horse down quicker and is better. Some said don't remove the saddle to keep the back warm, others said remove tack immediately before you walk.

UGH. HELP :shock:
 

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I've raced in dead of winter and middle of a Florida summer, cooling a hot horse out is a challenge in both conditions.

In cooler weather you will need 2-3 coolers (the army surplus blankets can be as expensive as a horse cooler so watch your prices) sometimes 4 are necessary in cold weather as you have to remove the wet blanket or the horse can get sick.

I never put cold water on especially in a hot summer, it closes the pores and traps the heat in. Warmish water works best until you can drop their core temp more. In winter we bathe the horse and put 4 coolers on and walk them while letting them get 3 to 5 sips of water (we lap a shedrow so each lap we stop at water buckets) after 5 mins I check the bottom blanket and strip it (trick is do not take other blankets off, just slowly strip the bottom off) clip the fronts back together and walk/sip for another 5 mins. Until the horse is dry (I will also take towels and rub them down with that) we walk and sip.

Hot weather you need a lighter cooler or fly sheet but same principles bath in cool but not cold water, sometimes in hot weather you will wash/scrap 4 or 5 times to help cool them down. I still give 4 or 5 sips of water and sometimes I bathe/scrap while they sip.

A horse that is in shape will cool down a lot easier than an out of shape horse, and after racing usually within 20 mins they are watered out and cooled down.
 

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In cold weather, cooler and you rub with towel every 20 steps or so, to dry the horse off. You do NOT remove the cooler but rub down under it. Towels are switched so they are dry.

Cooler may be swapped out as well.

Warm weather, ACV and warm water rinse is sponged on and scrapped off. Toweled dry.
 

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Your coursework may be asking for specifics with examples. For example, you can mention walking until the horse is cooled off, but also WHY you want to do this. Covering with a blanket? Talk about the fabric choices you might opt for, and why you're doing it.

It's important to know what to do, but also to know why, in case the condition of the horse changes and you need to adjust too.
 
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