For a variety of reasons I've decided not to clip my horse this winter. He's a Thoroughbred that has been banketed since early fall so he's not super super hairy, but just hairy enough to work up a light sweat during lessons or longer rides. I've decided to get him an irish knit cooler to help him dry faster (we both hate waiting in the cold for him to dry so he can have his blanket back on). I've seen a lot of different irish knits/waffle weave/anti-sweat coolers. What have you found the most effective? Any brands to look out for or not to look out for? What kind of material should I be looking at, some are 100% cotton, some are 50/50 polyester blend. I'd like to not pay an arm and a leg but I also want to make sure I get one that actually works.
Honestly I would go with a fleece cooler. Fleece actually wicks the moisture away, where a irish knit being cotton just keeps the moisture next to the skin like a cotton t shirt does with us.
I will notice that the fleece cooler I use on my horse will have sweat condensed on it on the outside of the cooler.
Just a thought.
"Half the failures in life result from pulling in one's horse when it is leaping."
Irish knits are designed to be used under a cooler (wool, fleece, thermatex...whichever you prefer). The idea is that the holes in the knit create a layer of warm air, while the cooler actually wicks and absorbs the moisture and draws it away from the horse. So the irish knit and the cooler will be damp, but the horse underneath will be dry. Using a true irish knit by itself (the ones with clear holes in them) doesnt really serve too much of a purpose. There is a hybrid knit sheet out that is waffle-weave, but not a true irish knit with holes in it, and those can be used by themselves. It really depends on how cold it is where you live. If the temps are relatively mild you can get away with the waffle-weave, which will keep your horse from getting chilled while drying, but wont really speed up drying time. If you are looking to speed up the time it takes to dry, you would be best using a true irish knit and then adding a light cooler on top. For example:
LOVE this high neck cooler. It is so versatile and light, but does a great job. If I am not trying to speed up drying time, but dont want the horse to chill I use it by itself. The best part is that it dries off the horse really fast, which can be an issue with some coolers. It is no use when the cooler takes longer to dry off the horse that it takes the horse to dry by itself!
wool coolers are much better for drying the horse And typically a string cooler is used under the wool to create air space for wicking.
They dont make the string coolers I like anymore (with very large holes) only the irish knit- which if the horse is very wet they get soggy and heavy.