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Too cold to bathe?

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  • Too cold to bathe?

    So what do you all think is too cold to bathe. The thing I hate most about winter is not being able to give the horses a proper bath.

  • #2
    I think it is okay to bathe so long as it is not below 50 degrees. Horses, unlike us, do not prefer tropical climates. If it's a little chilly, simply use warm water (if available) and towel dry with a cooler after.

    There have been a few nights-before-show (or show mornings) where it's been a generous 50. My horses never hated me for it, but it's not ideal.


    • #3
      I agree with the 50 degree mark and I'd even dry with towels if it's in the evening where the temps drop quickly.


      • #4
        I have bathed in some pretty cold temps but always with a hot horse. They would come off the track sweaty and hot and we would bathe quickly with warm water. I always had two dry antisweats and one cooler available for immediately afterwards. Put the antisweat on first then the cooler. Swap the wet antisweat for the dry one when the horse is cooled out and ready to go in the stall. I know we don't work non race horses as hard as race horses but the same principle applies. Don't just pull them out of the stall, work them first or at least free lunge.
        McDowell Racing Stables

        Home Away From Home


        • #5
          I've bathed a body-clipped horse lots of times in cold weather in an unheated wash stall with a heat lamp. The trick is to keep the horse covered in warm water while you work (quickly!), then scrape and pile on layers of antisweats, blankets, cooler to cover neck, etc. Dry the head, tail, legs with towels. Strip off the bottom layers as they become damp. Repeat till horse is dry, then blanket appropriately. YOU might get wet and cold, but the horse will remain warm as toast throughout.


          • #6
            I have done it down to 40 degrees, with warm water and lots of towels/ coolers. Really not a big deal (other than having to heat the water with a bucket warmer)-- the joys of doing a pony club rating with a white pony in March


            • #7
              Originally posted by Highflyer View Post
              I have done it down to 40 degrees, with warm water and lots of towels/ coolers. Really not a big deal (other than having to heat the water with a bucket warmer)-- the joys of doing a pony club rating with a white pony in March
              Hah! I think I had my first rating in March too! My old gelding was not happy, he looked like a yak! I miss PC!
              AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


              • #8
                Take in effect the wind chill as well.


                • #9
                  I've done it with warm water on an unclipped horse - done it in sections and hand dried and blanketed as each part is done - neck, shoulders, belly, rump.
                  Then put a cotton cooler under the main cooler, and removed it when horse is almost dry and warm.
                  Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                  • #10
                    I always stayed in shirt sleeves and got wet, too. If I didn't mind getting wet, I figured horses would be OK too. It also depends what you're accustomed to. When I went to AZ for the winter, I would be clipping and hosing off sweat when the other boarders were putting winter coats on themselves and their horses. Me and mine were HOT!
                    Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org


                    • #11
                      I have to clip my horse in the next couple of weeks, but I have no indoor wash stall or warm water. I'm in Eastern Ontario, so warm days are numbered. I was planning on filling large buckets with hot water from the barn I work at, then diluting with cool water when I bathe. I feel like a monster getting by boy wet outside, but his coat is pretty gross from sweat and dirt. Any suggestions?
                      Proud mother to Matt, a 18 year-old TB gelding.



                      • #12
                        I'm ok with down to 50's as long as it can be done out of the wind and there is a blanket (SP has one I really like that is wicking and dries quick) on them quickly afterwards and until they are dry. Some horses may tolerate colder but my poor girl will shiver pretty bad and so I tend to do warm buckets of water and spot treat if I must and it's colder. I yearn for a barn some day with warm water indoor wash racks...

                        As far as warm water for just spot treating - I have see people bring hot plates to the barn and heat water to boiling and then add it into a larger bucket of cold to make "warm."


                        • #13
                          My vet once told me 60 was the coldest it should be. My gelding had rain rot BAD in Winter and needed a bath every day. We had to carry hot water from the house, I never want to go though that again!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BrookdaleBay View Post
                            I have to clip my horse in the next couple of weeks, but I have no indoor wash stall or warm water. I'm in Eastern Ontario, so warm days are numbered. I was planning on filling large buckets with hot water from the barn I work at, then diluting with cool water when I bathe. I feel like a monster getting by boy wet outside, but his coat is pretty gross from sweat and dirt. Any suggestions?
                            I attach a garden hose to the drain valve on my hot water heater down to the outdoor wash rack by my barn. It's a walk-out basement so I just run the hose through the patio door. By the time the hot water drains through 300 feet of hose it is the perfect warm shower temperature.


                            • #15
                              When I was a kid, we bathed in sub zero by bringing the horses into the heated old dairy barn.

                              As long as you're using warm water and can keep them warm until they're dry (through heating or blankets/coolers) I think you can bathe down to zero. If you don't have a heated space, though, you'll need a LOT of coolers....especially if they're furry.


                              • #16
                                Like Laurierace I've bathed horses all winter long at the track on some freezing days. Use warm water, cover with good, warm coolers and walk dry. It's a cold wind more than anything that can cause trouble.
                                Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"