I get the horse scrupulously clean before tailgaiting or breakfasting. He just did his best for me for hopefully four hours or more, so I owe him that. First, I make sure to leave the saddle in place, girth loose, for a good 10 minutes after a hard day's hunting, to allow back circulation to restore gradually and prevent a sore back. While waiting, I check/pick feet and check the legs for dings, and check the tail for burrs. If it's a hot day, I'll sponge thoroughly with a combo of water and Vetrolin, and scrape. If it's a cold day, I'll groom thoroughly, not necessarily til they are completely dry, but at least get the vast majority of the sweat off, and then add a cooler, blanket over the top of that if he has a full clip.
We carry plenty of water and on a nice warm day will give our horses a full bath. If it's turned cold we usually only wash mud and sweat from thier legs and put coolers on until they are home and dry enough for a curry.
I take off all my tack and put on a sheet (or more if it is cold) and put him in the trailer. He likes his "me" time ie he needs to pee!!! and he will not do it if I am standing there looking at him. I think after hunting all day I will give him some time to chill, pee and eat hay once I get home he is all cleaned up.
Upon arriving at the trailers, dismount, loosen girths and cavesson. Check tail, hooves, legs (removing boots if horse wore any). My own horse was always clipped, so just a quick light brush to smooth hair back into place or knock mud off. After that, take off tack & put on scrim sheet and/or cooler. Offer water & leave horse to hay net and peace.
At home, remove cooler and let horse roll to heart's content. Check legs again, blanket up, and leave alone with more hay and water.
I untack, quick brushing, sponge if it is warm, check legs, hooves, cooler if cold, toss him on the trailer and take him home. Once home, I spend more time on him, then out he goes to roll and get dirty all over again!
I take off his tack and cover him with a sheet, etc. if it is cold.
As soon as we get home I turn him out.
I never fool much with any of them untill the next day because I want them to roll, drink and relax. I read in a horse care book from the twenties or thirties (? need to go look) that he has worked his best for me, so I don't want to ask him to stand for more fussing. Makes sense, especially since my horse won't drink except from his own trough and he's been standing on a trailer a total of four hours there and back.
Have to echo the sentiments of those who do a little and leave them alone....all my horses want is to see me go away so they can be alone to relax and eat; I'm not going to subject them to undue fussing which only makes me feel better, not them.
Begin by loosening girth but leaving saddle on until ready to hose or blanket, (esp. if a cold and/or windy day; don't want a hot back being exposed to such weather).
Bridle comes off next and offer them water AND their favorite treat. They really appreciate this.
Then saddle comes off and if warm weather, hose liberally. If cold weather, I carry a thermos/cooler with hot water and lightly rub their saddle marks off before putting on an irish sweat cooler and then a wool cooler.
The muddy tails and legs can wait; they are going home to roll anyway.
Then more water if they want, and loaded back onto the trailer, their home away from home where they feel oh-so-safe and since I have an open sided stock, they are well ventilated and can happily look out and see all the activity while munching their alfalfa lunch.
IF and only if I am tailgating in close proximity do I leave them tied to the trailer so they can graze.
I'll offer water one last time after the breakfast/tailgate. Once home, they really want to come off the trailer and be turned out to roll and relax in private (and see their buddies to tell them what fun they missed!)
Last edited by Tantivy1; Nov. 26, 2007 at 10:43 AM.
My horse has a full body clip. After hunting, I loosen the girth and let him stand for a few mintues while I take off coat, gloves, get a bucket of drinking water ready. Then I untack him completely, put a cooler on him and load him into my gooseneck stock ( his compartment is 7 x 9). I offer him the water (leaving the bucket in there with him on the floor in a corner - he never knocks it over), and grass hay. He immediately takes a leak, and enjoys a few minutes of being left alone. When ready to drive home, I remove the water bucket. Once home, he either goes outside with his blanket on for awhile so he can roll, and then comes in for a warm bath, and complete check over , or he stays in and gets the bath right away, then two coolers get piled on and he retires to his stall for some down time alone. I never turn my hunt horse back out with any of my other horses when we get back because he is low man in the pecking order, and I dont want him to be picked on after he has worked so hard for me. Another reason I turn him out alone is that I dont remove his studs until after the bath and he has had some chill out time- the last thing he wants is me fussing with his feet as soon as he gets home, and I wouldnt turn him out with any horses while he still has the studs in. He usually doesnt drink much water while away from home, but as soon as he gets into the barn, I offer him a bucket of warm drinking water, and he downs the entire bucket- sometimes two if he has really been exerting himself. He likes his warm water, hay, and alone time!
\"Give me the fox that holds his point though fools and fate combine,
Give me the hound that follows him with nose upon the line...\" W.H. Ogilvie
When I get off, I run the stirrups up and loosen the girth. Then the bridle comes off, halter on and tied to the trailer. I leave the saddle on for a bit to let the circulation return and also to keep their backs warm.
Then I fill up a water bucket for them to drink and hang it, then my helmet and gloves come off. Then I make a bucket of water and Vetrolin if it isn't cold, and take off any boots they have on, and then the rest of the tack comes off. I sponge off their necks, shoulders and legs with the vetrolin, and then they get their haynet and more water if they need it. Then I finish up with me and go to the breakfast while they nap. If it's kind of cold, when I tie the horse i throw a sheet or cooler over the horse, saddle and all and just work around it to remove everything. I think if you let a warm horse get cold you are asking for muscle soreness, esp on their backs.
Then I just brush the horse well with a hard brush to get the yuck and caked sweat off with special attention to the legs and saddle area. No Vetrolin wash if it's cold.
When we get home they get a good currying and brushing after dinner if it's cold, if it's nice they might get another rinse for the night after they get to roll and relax for a bit.
"Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin
What do you do after hunting as far as grooming goes?
I'm talking about 'at the meet' grooming, not 'at home' grooming.
If it's hot during cubbing I completely hose my horse off after a hunt. Do an eyes, hoof, legs & body check.
When it's cold after the tack is removed I'll brush the hair coat against the grain then put a cooler on my mare and let her eat hay in the trailer until I head out. If she had some nice drinks at creek crossings then I might not get water. Otherwise, offer her water too, grab a quick bite of breakfast then make the 15 minute drive home.