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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2011
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    540

    Default brushing in the winter

    Many, (many lol) years ago I was told it not a good idea to brush a horse in the winter.
    The idea is that it disturbs the insulating qualities of the skin/hair.

    I hadn't thought about this for a while but it recently came up in a conversation and got me wondering again.

    I understand that a horse will puff its coat to hold air and this helps to keep him warm.

    But....
    I also often see snow staying on the back and even melting and freezing there. I never pick it off, (ok I have tried to put my reasons into words but can't do it.)
    Where this snow and ice are the hair is not puffed up, even is fairly chilly temps this hair can be wet, so there is heat rising for sure but the horse doesn't seem to be in discomfort or chilly because of it.
    So, this leads me to wonder if the accumalation of dander or ? does have some insulating properties?

    Ideas?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 21, 2005
    Location
    Crestwood, KY
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    1,436

    Default

    I have always thought brushing my horses to remove caked mud helps them be able to fluff up their coat better to stay warm. It seems to me that caked mud would prevent the coat from fluffing properly. I would think ice would do the same.

    My primary reason for regular grooming in the winter is to promote healthy skin-- one of my horses is very prone to rainrot on her back in the winter. Currying frequently keeps her skin healthier and helps avoid rainrot.


    8 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2007
    Location
    Triangle Area, NC
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    6,707

    Default

    Grooming is always a good idea. I even use extra show sheen in the winter to keep the dirt from sticking and matting the hair down.
    A good curry and brushing of dry hair will always help keep the horse healthier
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble


    1 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2011
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    540

    Default

    I completely agree with keeping caked mud off but for me that is spring or fall

    Interesting about the rain rot. I am going to try the show shine, the trick there would be to remember to bring it back into the house so it doesn't freeze.
    Last edited by colorfan; Dec. 15, 2012 at 09:34 AM. Reason: clarify



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
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    Default

    I sincerely doubt that there are too many situations where "less clean" is better.

    That said, I am very much guilty, when daylight is limited and comfort is minimal, of simply brushing off the saddle place and girth area, riding, and calling it good. I also will frequently leave dried mud be on the legs if it's mud season--no point in cleaning it all off for an hour only to have the horse go right back out in it. I inspect the legs, clean the feet, and leave the mud at times.
    Click here before you buy.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 9, 2005
    Location
    uk
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    15,268

    Default

    i do the same lol, delta



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep. 16, 2006
    Posts
    610

    Default

    I brush more in the winter. My horse's skin gets dry and his coat gets dull with all the blanketing.

    I felt terrible yesterday when I went out. I've been so busy with school this term that it's been close to a month since I brushed him He's had his blanket changed a few times and I've gone out to visit him quickly and give him some treats but that's it. Brought him in yesterday, took off his blanket, and his coat was smushed to his body and dandruffy. I spent an hour currying him - which made it look worse - and rubbing him with a towel.

    (In case anyone wants to jump on me for neglecting my horse: I've set up a half-lease situation with a friend who's going to go out and ride him a few times a week so this won't happen next term.)



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
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    Default

    If you're guilty of neglect, then so am I. Grooming is great but they don't die from the lack of it. During mud season (Nov-Dec and Mar-May) my idle horses are so grody I sometimes can't stand to look at them!
    Click here before you buy.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct. 9, 2012
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    506

    Default

    My horses live out so regular grooming is next to impossible. I give them a curry when the rain stops long enough for their coats to dry out, otherwise I just scrape the mud off the best I can with a curry when they are wet. I may try the showsheen trick the next time they are dry.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 9, 2001
    Location
    Lake County, IL
    Posts
    1,236

    Default

    My professor many moons ago said, "cleanliness is godliness," which applied to all aspects of livestock mgt.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2002
    Posts
    3,788

    Default

    What bothers me (and my mare) the most about brushing in the winter is the static! I have to dip the brush lightly in water, or else...
    When she's filthy, before riding I only groom the saddle, girth, bridle areas, and the legs because she wears hind boots. And I feel a bit guilty, because my instructors were sticklers about good grooming (you'd be sent back to the stables for more grooming until they were satisfied). But now, since no one sees us...so be it.
    Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2011
    Posts
    540

    Default

    otv no neglect noted. I think the looks of the horse bother us more than it affects the horse.

    I did a google search and found a few sites that recommended not brushing in the winter as it lessened the insulating qualities but none of the articles cited a source for their info.

    I will continue to remove the blanket and brush as often as the weather allows.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 3, 2012
    Location
    Twin Cities
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    Default

    I would think that a good curry, which increases and distributes oils, would help the loft. Oils will help with loft, insulation & to some extent keeping wetness from the skin.

    as others mentioned, you want to make sure the coat isn't matted down with mud (no loft). If they are wearing a blanket I think that lends itself to dandruff or other skin irritations, and they can't get a good scratchy roll going, so curry is even more important.

    Grooming is about more than cleaning. It gives you a chance to check over whole body, see horse's response as you touch her in various places, etc etc. A vigorous curry can almost be deep massage. I think most of them love the good scritching, and it is great for bonding & all that stuff.

    That said, Deltawave is right in that they certainly do not die from lack of it.

    Sophie, I, too, came from where you were sent back to the barn (O THE HORROR AND SHAME) if you horse was not up to spec & I think Marcella & I had the same animal sci teacher Of course, there are times when I can go to town brushing & rubbing & wiping & they will look better, but still be filthy.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 24, 2006
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    1,123

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    Mine are blanketed, I curry them everyday- even if it's only a 5 minute process. I do it more to see what's going on under their blankets than I do to keep them clean.
    Kerri



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2007
    Location
    Beside Myself ~ Western NY
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    6,301

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by colorfan View Post
    I was told it not a good idea to brush a horse in the winter.
    The idea is that it disturbs the insulating qualities of the skin/hair.
    Another example of the "if some is good, more is better" fallacy.

    I keep mine groomed, but on the days I feel it's pointless fruitless and an exercise in futility, I use the dander excuse. Honestly, my horse has shelter and hay in front of him 24/7. He hasn't been cold a moment in his life and if he was it certainly wasn't because he was over-groomed



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2003
    Location
    Dallas, Georgia
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    16,552

    Default

    Mine are out 24/7 too and sometimes just a quick once over is all they get. BUT when I'm in a hurry to ride, God Bless the Shop-Vac with brush attachment Five minutes of sucking out the dirt and we're good to go. Plus their coat is totally fluffed & puffed.
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- "When they try to tell you these are your Golden years, don't believe 'em.... It's rust."


    2 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec. 20, 2011
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    1,192

    Default

    I like getting the caked in stuff out -- that seems to me to be the best way to promote loft of the coat. It's been really muddy so far this winter so I also pay extra attention to making sure that there isn't any mud caked up in the longer hair around his joints -- between the front legs and around the armpits, fetlocks/pasterns and crevice above the heel bulbs, etc.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 29, 2000
    Location
    Brownsburg, VA
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    2,947

    Default

    I do groom the mud off frequently in the winter. Presently, the two retired broodmares and the long yearling are not blanketed. I think it keeps the loft in the coat, and therefore keeps them warmer.

    But I no longer use curry combs. I use rectangular mane/tail brushes over the entire body, legs, fetlocks, cheeks, everything. Like these
    http://www.doversaddlery.com/epona-m...7/#ProductTabs

    Those brushes, with the longer, plastic-covered tips, just POWER through the dried mud, and really get down to the skin for woolly winter coats. It must feel better too, as one kind of thin-skinned mare did not care much for currying, but will stand there all day for the mane brush.
    "No matter how cynical I get its just not enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2009
    Location
    south eastern US
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    2,519

    Default

    I regularly brush my horses in the winter. Particularly after they've gotten wet and their hair dries matted or muddied. I use the mane and tail brush to get down to their skin. I do this primarily so their hair will fluff back up and keep them warm. Also to dry out any moisture trapped near their skin so rain rot doesn't get a chance to set in.
    "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."



  20. #20
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2011
    Posts
    1,737

    Default

    I use my cactus cloth constantly in the winter. I've never had anything work as effectively on mud/dirt/crud as that.



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