It's that wonderful time of year, when static electricity takes over! I love vacuuming my horses, but still haven't figured out a good way to keep the static from zapping them while I'm grooming! I don't want them to get wary of the vacuum, because it makes life so much easier. What are some good ideas to help with this problem?
Bounce, or any similar fabric softener wipes do wonders to keep static down.
Also helps to apply before blanketing in winter for thin-skinned horses. I've seen some jump (and heard the CRACK of the spark) as their owners pull the blanket off!
... It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that Shwung
Ok, this may sound like a strange suggestion, but so far its been foolproof. And I've tried static guard spray, showsheen, bounce and the rest. I've tried vacuuming for 5 seconds at a time, and grounding myself by touching metal. (zaps me, but not reliable in preventing zaps to the horse). Finally, I was complaining about this to my husband, and he came up with a solution. Computer geeks have these 'grounding straps' they wear to avoid fatally zapping the computers they work on. Essentially, a metal button contacts your wrist on a velcro bracelet. That connects to a wire that you ground. Now the static gets rerouted down the grounding strap to ground instead of through your horse to ground. In our barn, we have metal guides for the sliding doors that work great as grounds. This has been 100% reliable for me, even when I'm wearing goose down and fleece and its dry as a bone outside.
The wrist strap is probably 100% foolproof. I might get one myself!
My current technique (for blanket removal anyway) is to keep my left hand on the horse, using my right to fold the blanket back, and sliding my left hand along the horse as I lift away the blanket. It seems to help keep the sparks down. I don't vacuum often, so I don't know if it would work there.
What works for me is to keep one hand on my horse at all times while I hold the vacuum cleaner wand in my other hand. I only need to do this on days when the humidity here in New England is very low. I am using a mostly plastic Shop-Vac and its upholstery attachment.
What you are trying to dissipate is the charge that builds up between your horse and the vacuum cleaner wand. By keeping a connection, either with your free hand on your horse or a lead rope and halter, as mentioned above, the charge will leak away. Don't wear gloves. Even though the human body has a high resistance, it's not enough to prevent the discharge.
But all the finest horsemen out—the men to Beat the Band—
You’ll find amongst the crowd that ride their races in the Stand
Not having read all and at risk for a repeat. Have you tried dryer sheets? I'm not sure they will work but they are supposed to handle static.
If that doesn't work. Give your horse a curry all give hinm a once over with a semi stiff brush, then take a damp towel
(best way is to wet half of a towel, squeeze the water out of it, then fold it doubble (wet half on top of dry half) roll it up and twist it like you would wring out the water of a wet rag, this gives a nice even dampness to the whole thing)
rub your horse all over with the towel and let it catch all the static dust caught in the hair. Then go over him with a soift brush, if there's still dust or mud in his coat rub the soft brush against the damp towel every now and then to help catch the dust.
In the end you can give him a quick sweep with the towel again to smooth the hair and catch surface dust clinging on to the coat.
At home we often also use a soft brush and a curry. For the left side, the soft brush is in the left hand and the curry in the right. Do a sweep with the soft brush and then in the same round move brush it over the curry. The curry will collect the dust so it's not stuck to the brush anymore. It sounds stupid but really works. Do 100 strokes on one side and then pat the curry on the stable floor and you'll see how much dirt and dust you collected!