Is your wash stall inside with hot water? If so, I'd say go for it, just make sure you have lots of coolers on hand. I'd also handwalk right after the bath inside the barn aisle to keep him warm. You can also bring old large bath towels to the barn to help get a lot of moisure off that way.
Or what you could do is go over him with a warm wet rag, then pop a cooler on him until he's completely dry after that.
Yup I am in the same boat. I at least usually wash his tail is it is HUGE. We are going dirty. I can not get off early so it will be getting dark by the time I can get out to the barn and I would rather him be dirty than get sick. I normally keep him washed for shows but it is just to COLD!!! Are barn is also cement block and we do have hot water.
I wouldn't bathe. Vacuum if you can, then do your suggested routine. You won't be the only one with a less than sparkling horse if the weather sucks.
I did a BNT dressage clinic last winter when it was about 5 degrees out for a high and no warm, or even indoor and enclosed, place at that barn to groom. I was on a borrowed, black horse whose owner wasn't much of a regular groomer. We were all kinda filthy. I apologized and she told me she was there to help me ride not judge my grooming skills. From under her 3 coats, lap blanket, scarf, and hat down to her eyelids...
Great suggestions so far. I will note that when I showed my lotsa-white pinto up in VA through the winter she got a proper bath even in sub-freezing temps. Inside, with hot water and a heat lamp hung outside the wash stall and shining into it, cooler and snug stall with lots of hay to munch right after.
When I didn't bathe, however, hot toweling can get a horse pretty darn clean. It takes a constant supply of scalding-hot water and some patience, but you can get a scrubbed-shiny horse with virtually no chill factor.
^ horse I'll be riding (and I'll be in my gray and brown jacket, not navy). Oh and I'll probably be the only one there with a horse with a modified bib clip just on his gullet
OK did the vacuum, wrung out towel and then did the horse grooming wipes and presto! Very clean horse.
Got him braided up and fancy. I put his blanket on with neck attachment to help smooth/shine his coat and keep him clean.
Thanks everyone! Now I know!!! I usually have clipped horses if showing in winter so this is quite a learning curve!
ETA: I've canceled my spot at the show (long, long, long day at work, the thought of no sleep tonight and no one coming with me to the show tomorrow, so I was just stressing). I'm disappointed but now I have a very clean pony!
Last edited by AzuWish; Dec. 3, 2010 at 08:24 PM.
Reason: not going to show tomorrow