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Keeping Horses Clean in Winter

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  • Keeping Horses Clean in Winter

    Hello! My boys are already growing nice winter coats and after brushing them recently it left me wondering how I can keep them clean during the winter. This will be their first winter with me as I got them back in March. I've only bathed them twice during nice weather and they got rinsed a lot this summer with the heat. So if they rolled in the mud I typically hosed them down and they were good to go. We don't have hot water outside so I'm not sure how to handle this in the cold weather. It was really muddy last week and they are just full of dirt even after a good curry and hard brushing.

    Do they make dry shampoo for horses? Do I need better grooming tools? A vacuum?

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    When I lived up north, vacuums were quite common. So was clipping and blanketing. I still have dreams of my horse coming in covered in mud, still wet, in the spring...UGH.

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    • #3
      A truly unsatisfying answer, I realize...but what is your need to keep them clean other than it makes you feel better?

      We humans have an affinity for cleanliness, especially in our animals. If you are going to an exhibition or a show or some other event where you need to show your animal at it's best, that's one thing, but beyond that the only thing you really must do is make sure the areas that the tack lays on/touches are clean.
      Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember that what you have now was once among the many things that you only hoped for.

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      • #4
        I LOVE the vacuum over the winter. I curry really well, vacuum away the dust and dirt, and then hard brush and my boys stay relatively shiny!

        because of the harsh winters up north I do blanket my horses so it helps, but my older gelding is a swamp monster and tends to somehow get mud under is blanket

        my barn has the older model of the ElectroGroom and it works wonders!

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        • #5
          Do you have your own place? I do.

          My milk white mare was always nice and clean because she was kept in/out with a spotless turnout paddock. She was blanketed and the paddock never had any mud in it due to the crusher dust and a large pile of yellow cedar sawdust which she used as a bed, sunpad, rolling spot, etc. Manure was picked up all the time. She came inside voluntarily in the rain/snow.

          I
          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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          • #6
            I use a Furminator to stir up the dirt & stimulate skin, then I take the shop vac to them

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            • #7
              I blanket anything that I plan on riding in the winter to keep it clean first and warm second and I don't care who judges me. I just don't have time to spend an hour grooming a horse, or not riding because it's wet. I often clip to speed up cooling out in the winter so they need a blanket anyway.
              http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

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              • #8
                My new pinto pony has a really thick fuzzy coat and I swear he repels dirt. It must be the flax I've been giving him. Also, the Tiger Tongue grooming sponge easily takes off the clumps of mud. I haven't used my vacuum on him yet, but the blowing part is best on winter coats. As for being wet, only a sheet will prevent that.

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                • #9
                  Some pretty reasonable level of cleanliness IS necessary if you're going to put a saddle on and ride.

                  Shop Vacs are awesome things. And yes, this might require some more frequent blanketing than if it was just a woolly horse living without a job all Winter
                  ______________________________
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Abbie.S View Post
                    A truly unsatisfying answer, I realize...but what is your need to keep them clean other than it makes you feel better?
                    That was my first thought as well. Dust in the coat is kind of normal and no reason to bathe horses in winter to remove it.

                    Obviously chunks of mud need to be removed to ride...but not really any other reason. Particularly because at certain times of year (like now), it is only going to last minutes, not even hours.

                    Some horses tolerate vacuums fairly well.

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                    • #11
                      I do want to point out to those who are judging people who want clean horses in the winter that many people continue to take lessons and clinics in the winter, and it is unacceptable and disrespectful to show up with just the mud knocked off where the tack touches, even if that's your routine when you ride at home alone the rest of the time. I'm not going to be as clean as with a bath, but I need to be cleaner than I would at home.
                      http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                        I do want to point out that many people continue to take lessons and clinics in the winter, and it is unacceptable and disrespectful to show up with just the mud knocked off where the tack touches, even if that's your routine when you ride at home alone the rest of the time.
                        If that is the case, I would probably invest in some type of hot water heating device - like an electric teapot - to have at the barn and use towels and warm water after grooming to remove mud dust. And I would definitely have a variety of blankets to keep the majority of the horse as mud free as possible so you're not scraping mud off an entire horse each day. And, ideally, you would have time for the horse to dry thoroughly before a lesson.

                        It's a fair question, though. Why someone wants to clean a horse in winter will change the kind of responses people give.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                          I do want to point out to those who are judging people who want clean horses in the winter that many people continue to take lessons and clinics in the winter, and it is unacceptable and disrespectful to show up with just the mud knocked off where the tack touches, even if that's your routine when you ride at home alone the rest of the time. I'm not going to be as clean as with a bath, but I need to be cleaner than I would at home.
                          No one is judging anyone.
                          "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Abbie.S View Post
                            A truly unsatisfying answer, I realize...but what is your need to keep them clean other than it makes you feel better?

                            We humans have an affinity for cleanliness, especially in our animals. If you are going to an exhibition or a show or some other event where you need to show your animal at it's best, that's one thing, but beyond that the only thing you really must do is make sure the areas that the tack lays on/touches are clean.
                            I'd disagree with you on this - I think a reasonable standard of cleanliness is a hygiene issue. When environmental dirt gets trapped next to the skin, in combination with dampness (mud, rain, sweat), it can be a recipe for skin funk. Now, the madness of attempting to keep a white horse white, instead of vaguely pinto, is another story. This is why I have a brown horse.

                            Vacuums are probably your best friend for quickly and easily removing dirt. If you are able to use an electric kettle in the barn, you can hot-towel the horse to steam clean him. This raises dirt to the surface of the hair and a stack of towels rubbed vigorously against the horse will clean him well. Rubbing alcohol will also help to remove stains off of a gray horse if you need him to be fit to be seen in public.

                            I do find that the best tool for removing encrusted mud is a jelly scrubber, used not as a curry but as a brush. The side with the rubber bristles is gentle enough not to bother your delicate flower types, and to use over bone, but it's strong enough to cut through mud clumps. Knocking them off instead of currying through them prevents you from grinding dry mud into the hair coat. Then you can take your curry to raise the rest of the stuff to the surface and brush for the rest of your life to try to get rid of it.
                            "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

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                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Mostly want to keep them clean on the backs and belly for riding so the saddle pad and girth don't cause any irritations. I don't blanket and their sacrifice lot is dirt so they are either muddy or dusty. One of my guys had some skin issues last spring and they cleared up once he was being brushed regularly.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Vacuum + regular grooming + opportunities to dry out will keep them clean enough for riding and skin health.

                                I have a (white) grey mare who doesn't grow much coat, so she is sheeted/blanketed throughout winter---and for that, I am grateful! Because otherwise she would look like a pig in mud.

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                                • #17
                                  I have a 16.1 WHITE (okay, okay, I know I'm supposed to call him grey, but there isn't a thing "grey" about him) horse. In the summer, it's easy to keep him clean because dirt just brushes off of his coat without leaving much of an impact. However, in winter, he is a teddy bear and when he rolls, it drives me nuts! I brush and brush and brush. I have kind of forgotten about the shop vac trick since my show halter days, so I'm going to try that this weekend when I have an extra hand around to help me.
                                  20% off code for Hay Chix hay nets--http://682haychix.refr.cc/chelseaboda

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                                  • #18
                                    Curry then shop vac - but don't try to vacuum. Instead, blow - you'll be amazed at how much dirt comes flying off! I'm spoiled and have hot water aaannnnddd overhead cross-tie heaters, so I can bathe on warmer days in the winter. But before this spoiled lifestyle, what I used to do is give a good scrubby bath on the last warm day of the year, spray their whole body - except saddle area - down with excessive amounts of silverado spray or shapely's coat gloss and use a clean curry to really get it in where they weren't clipped. It at least gave an extra bit of non-stick for dust

                                    I'm not sure where you are OP, but it might be worth investing in no-fill rain sheets. I have one of the amigos and it's super lightweight!

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      EVneo I have debated this! I stall them as I can in wet weather but the rain sheets may be nice for my senior boys. I will try the shop vac!

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                                      • #20
                                        I second the Electro Groom. It is amazing !

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