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What's your winter grooming routine?

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  • What's your winter grooming routine?

    I ride less in the winter and I let my horse go back to a more "natural" state. I don't trim his whiskers or his feathers and I let his mane grow out. (I keep it short in the summer for shows.) He's what I call a "mud horse," loves to roll and is usually covered in the dried clay we have in my area. I brush his coat and get the mud off his legs at least once a week. Every day I go over his body and look for any nicks or scrapes he may have gotten in the pasture. I also check his feet daily and make sure his shoes are still on and his feet look healthy. I also remove burrs or loose shavings in his tail whenever I see them.

    I'm at a do-it-yourself barn and I honestly don't have time to do all my chores and then groom him thoroughly every day.
    I'm wondering if what I'm doing is enough. Thoughts?

  • #2
    Honestly, for the naked horses, all I do is pick out their feet and check them over.

    We don't have mud, etc.--totally frozen.
    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

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    • #3
      I do about the same. I check them over for injuries, pick stuff out of the tails and check their hooves. I also brush any dried mud off their legs, and wash under their tails with warm water to keep them from rubbing. Since I have a grey, that one gets any major stains curried out. Last week I clipped the longest of the fetlock hairs off since I was tired of prying ice balls out of them.
      Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

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      • #4
        I do self-care, too, and my horses live au' natural all the time. They're fine.

        I'll always groom good before riding (curry, hard/soft brush, tail, hooves picked) but that's about it during the winter. Mostly I let them be.

        Come spring, they'll get a bath to knock it all out
        Last edited by ChocoMare; Jan. 28, 2010, 01:28 PM.
        <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

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        • #5
          Pretty much the same as in the summer except no baths, needless to say, and no trimming of fetlocks, bridle path, etc. Both my horses are in work but not clipped. The gelding doesn't grow much of a winter coat so he's no problem. My mare, on the other hand, resembles a very large Shetland pony in the winter and, if anything, needs more attention in the winter. I have to get all the sweaty and manure-stained bits out. If I don't keep after her, she looks like a filthy dusty carpet by the end of the winter. I must say that currently she looks like a very shiny albeit long-haired beast.

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          • #6
            I pretty much do the same thing. My horse is out 24/7 and he's not blanketed - so his winter coat is super thick. I get all the dried mud off him before I ride him and take a curry to him and of course take care of his feet - that is about it though. He is a gray, but right now he looks like a yellow/brown pinto. I don't pull his mane, clip him or anything from about September - March. Come spring he looks like a whole new horse after his first bath, a clipping and getting the mane pulled!

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            • #7
              I actually think I do better grooming in winter than warmer months, probably b/c I'm usually to cold to ride!

              I've been giving my older guy this winter off (chronic knee issues means we can't do too much) and since I work off board, I'm usually too lazy to hop on anyways. My 2 1/2 year old isn't backed yet so.....

              I groom them both nearly everyday. Pick feet & paint with Miracle Hoof Oil as needed (the weather here has been not pleasant!), curry, brush, Healthy Hair in their manes/tails and brush them out, Healthy Hair on their coats a few times a week, brush again. I do let their manes & whiskers grow long, and don't bother with clipping at all.

              They are both woolly beasts, and the weather here has left us with lots of mud, followed by frozen, followed by mud...etc. They both live outside 24/7, so I like the remove their blankets daily and check for injuries everyday....might as well make them look pretty in the process.
              <3 Vinnie <3
              1992-2010
              Jackie's Punt ("Bailey") My Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbred

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              • #8
                I have one of those heavy duty grooming vacuums. It is worth it's weight in gold. It was pretty expensive but I've had it now for 9 years and never had a problem. it has sucked an acre of mud off my guys.

                I make sure everyone is vacuumed at least once or twice a week and scraped down before they get into their jammies at night. The vacuum works well on blankets too. I feed everyone one a bit of flax seed daily and it makes the mud slide off a lot easier and keeps the greys from getting soiled.

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                • #9
                  With the exception of no bathing during the winter, I groom pretty much the same way year round. Pony has a trace clip, we leave ears and legs furry for warmth but I keep the bridle path trimmed (he's still wearing a bridle all winter) and his whiskers too. If we get an occasional warm spell I will wash white legs (we have hot water) if needed.

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                  • #10
                    I'm doing a lot more grooming with my new guy - who must be blanketed (came show-clipped from FL at the end of November!) - than I've done in the past 5+ years.

                    My other horses went nekkid as they both grew coats that would make a Mammoth green with envy.
                    I'd check feet for ice,stones, etc and use a shedding blade to remove the worst of the mud & That was It.
                    Infrequently they'd get a Beauty Day where I'd comb through manes & tails and add Cowboy Magic Detangler.

                    New Guy gets his blanket turned back every couple days to make sure he hasn't lost weight or condition underneath (No..still slick & fat as a tick) and as long as he's uncovered he gets a quick curry & brush.
                    Feet get checked and back out he goes.
                    He's still so slick under the blanket, even if I'm working him it only takes a quick onceover with the curry & brush.
                    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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                    • #11
                      I'd say my winter grooming routine is more time consuming than in the summer but I'm riding the entire winter. My horse lives out 24/7 and with this frozen-mud-frozen-mud cycle sometimes my horse can be totally caked with mud on his legs and neck.. My guy is trace clipped and blanketed so that does help keep his body clean but his legs and parts of his neck and belly that are not clipped can get really dirty.
                      Usually I curry, stiff brush, soft brush and use detangler for his tail/mane. If it's a warmer day I'll hose down his white socks since we have hot water. I generally keep up with bridle path, mane pulling, whiskers too, although sometimes I do slack a little more in the winter

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                      • #12
                        I groom my guy almost every day. Currie comb, hard brush, soft brush moisturizer spray and pick out his hooves. Occasionally I will put detangler in his tail and maybe brush it out. He has a nice coat as it is but I feel like putting some elbow grease into it almost daily really adds some sheen.

                        He also manages to find mud...somehow, somewhere whenever he is naked.

                        I do keep his bridle path and muzzle clipped. I don't really touch anything else with the clippers in the winter though. I just don't like overgrown bridle paths and muzzles, a personal preference.

                        I also wipe his eyes and nose with a rag. I can't stand crusty eyes and noses!

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                        • #13
                          My horse is clipped and in work. She wears a blanket so pre ride grooming is easy.. soft brush & feet picked. I keep her mane pulled short and wash her legs every so often. She's shiny & has dapples.

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                          • #14
                            Right now I call the trail horses "My Little Mud Balls"....funny how 4 different horses under identical housing can look so different.....one has hair texture that mud dries and falls off like magic....he almost always looks clean. Then another one just has to LOOK at the mud to end up caked in it from stem to stern until I brush him off. The show horses have the same grooming routine as during the show season but we are in SoCal so the weather never gets cold enough to worry about iceballs on their fetlocks!

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                            • #15
                              Winter grooming - take off sheet. Put hands between his back legs to warm up. Curry Curry Curry everywhere. Put hands between his back legs (shorter time). Use medium brush everywhere. Use soft brush everywhere. Hands again between legs (even shorter time). Pick out front feet (no back shoes) comb mane. Don't ever touch tail unless there are ice balls.
                              Now ready to tack up. By now wishing I could put my feet between his back legs. Sometimes actually think of how I could do it. Could I lie on my back in the grooming stall and stick my legs up there? Probably not. Keep telling self that once on the horse I will warm up.
                              Tack up as fast as possible and get on. Once on, the mental concentration of riding can push the cold away.
                              Most of the time...
                              Some days the best thing about my job is that the chair spins.

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                              • #16
                                I brush, curry if necessary (if he's clean I don't curry), pick feet, and brush mane every day, year-round, mostly because I ride him every day year-round! I still clip (well, cut with scissors) his wiskers & bridle path, ears only occasionally b/c I have to steal hubby's clippers to do ears. I try to abstain from brushing his tail because he finally has a nice tail and I don't want to pull hairs out every day I keep his mane trimmed/pulled. He's blanketed but not clipped, so everywhere not covered with a blanket is really hairy!

                                He's a gray, so in warmer weather he gets baths pretty regularly. Right now I feel like he has months worth of crud that needs to get washed off!
                                "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11

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                                • #17
                                  1. Remove blanket.

                                  2. Curry off mud on neck, bottom of belly, legs, and face.

                                  3. Brush entire body.

                                  4. Pick out feet.

                                  Every few days I brush out her tail, and her mane gets clipped once a month or so (she's got a roached mane).

                                  Really, her routine is no different in the winter. Actually in the summer my grooming routine is more difficult, because she's not blanketed.
                                  Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

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                                  • #18
                                    Winter, well being in Mn the cold and darkness can make the ambition to ride... well a bit low. Even though we have an indoor / insulated (but not heated) riding arena it's still cold. Yesterday the wind chill was like -15 burrrrrr
                                    What we do to keep it fun in the winter is every Wednesday evening we have about 4-5 of us who all groom and ride together. It's even more fun for me because one of them is my daughter. Of course I get out once or twice on the weekends too but at least you can go during the heat of the day and it's light out. I don't blanket my horse he doesn't need a blanket he is big, over weight, and really furry! I would say the grooming isn't any different but maybe a bit quicker because they stay so clean because of the snow and no mud. The only thing is soaking is hard when you need to treat thrush - right now I'm just using sprays but they don't work as well. My guy has been fighting a bad infection in his frogs (most say not thrush but something like it, either bacteria, fungus, or yeast has to be one of the three right?) that I can't seem to get him completely over yet. Hey any feedback on that would be great!
                                    I just love reading all the posts and listening to all the horse talk.
                                    Monica
                                    www.horsefencedirect.com
                                    No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle ~ Winston Churchill

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                                    • #19
                                      Winter grooming for me means that my guy tolerates harder brushes and more quality curry time. He's bib-clipped (badly.....I keep meaning to clean it up but haven't had any sort of time to do so) so that makes things easier. I pick his feet and put thrushbuster on them. Then curry, hard brush, soft brush. I do keep up with trimming whiskers/bridlepaths and mane pulling. I rarely touch his tail anyway, but I do wash the mud out with hot water on warmer days. I did trim it to just above his fetlocks to help with the mudball situation.
                                      I love my Econo-Nag!

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