With my horse's winter coat starting to come in it's gotten me thinking about winter riding. He lives out 24/7 and will be wearing a blanket but he still grows a thick winter coat. I have an arena to ride in through the winter but with his thick coat, he sweats. I always cool him out properly and don't put him out until he is dry. But I was wondering how much stress it puts on him to get worked liked that or if I should clip him and put extra blankets on him. Just looking for other opinions/experiences. Thank you!!!
I too trace clip - except that I leave the belly hair unclipped. I don't clip below the imaginary line between elbow and stifle. Unless it gets really cold my horse is quite comfortable in a midweight blanket with this clip.
Not sure if you know this trick, but canter earlier and finish with more trot. If you tend to end with the canter the horse will be hotter and wetter and take longer to dry. But if you do some t, c, then rest of t (with usual walk breaks) for the same length of time the horse will be cooler, drier, and dry in less time.
I rode my gelding last winter started out with not clipping but getting him cooled out and dry was a real pain. I had to make sure he was dry before i put him back out. If he wasnt dry he would stand there and shake and be all hunched up and miserable.
If i ride this winter i plan on clipping him so i dont have to spend so much time cooling him out. Hes a real wimp if slightly damp he starts to shake and get all hunched up. Even with our mild winter last winter he would get cold and shake. He had hay to eat 24/7 but still stood there all hunched up and shaking that was on 15 degree nights.
Mine lives out 24/7 self care so blanketing is tough. He's in full work all winter. I do a bib clip -- under the neck, across the shoulders, and along the flank and belly to just behind the girth. This really helps with cooling them out while leaving most of the belly and flank covered for protection. I also use a hair dryer to help with drying when needed.
I use only a rain sheet for cold nasty rain/sleet. In our relatively mild winters that is all he needs - easy keeper with access to shelter and hay.
Thanks everyone for your advice and help!! I should have mentioned we are in south western Ontario so winters are usually pretty snowy (last year being the exception) Looks like he's going to be getting a trace clip and we'll see how that works for him. Thanks again!!
When is it best to do a trace clip? It is mid Sept and believe it or not - most of our horses are still pretty slick. I see the darker winter hair coming in but no one is fuzzy. Should I wait until completely fuzzy?