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How cold is too cold to give a partial bath?

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  • How cold is too cold to give a partial bath?

    I have a grey, so I'd really like to keep up with washing down her legs and belly, but we've had some cold weeks lately. I'm concerned that she'll get too cold if I wash her when it's in the low 30's. The wash stall is enclosed and I don't have to walk her outside to get back to her stall, but the barn isn't much warmer than it is outside. I have access to hot water.

    What's your normal protocol for winter clean up temperatures?


  • #2
    Bath - meaning shampoo, or just water bath?

    It's not just the temps during winter, it's the long thick hair. Takes a long time to dry. I would think the legs are probably fine, belly, not sure. Maybe try a really good curry and then take a damp towl and rub to pick up the rest of the dirt & scurffy stuff. Sometimes that does just as good a job.

    Grey horse...yeah I feel your pain :-)

    Bathed mine yesterday, but it was 60 an Sunny


    • #3
      Years ago Practical Horseman ran an article on how to give a "winter bath". You needed to use a terry towel, hand towel size; probably wouldn't hurt to have more than one on hand. Then you needed a bucket of quite hot water, not hot enough to burn obviously. Dunk towel in water and wring almost completely out. Then lay towel over a section of your horse, in a sense you are giving your horse a steam clean. Leave it there a few seconds, scrub, then repeat on another section. Your horse should not really get "wet" in this process. They suggested having a wool cooler on your horse and folding it back as necessary to reveal dirty areas and to cover up areas you've alread "steamed". I've never done it myself, but one of my friends has and said it really worked well.


      • Original Poster

        I'd like to use regular quicksilver and hot water. It seems to work better on stains then any dry shampoos. Wow whitener works ok, but for the amount of effort to use it, I'd rather use soap and water. Just her legs and belly though.

        I have done the steam towel method for full body clean up. Works well for darker colored horses. Grays still need some sort of dry shampoo though to get really clean.

        So it sounds like I'd be ok to shampoo her legs, but not her belly? Any other opinions?

        I wish I could clip her, but it's not possible. I noticed that she is starting to shed already. It seems really early for shedding season to start. My farrier said this morning that 'they know better then we do'. Maybe its a good sign that spring will be here early. Wishfull thinking


        • #5
          One winter my gelding got a whole body fungus We had to give him a full bath every other day in temperatures in the low 30's. I washed him outside with warm water, put a cooler on him and put him in an enclosed stall. Once he was amost dry I then put a heavier blanket on him. Never had any problems doing it at those temperatures and he never seemed to get cold. It shouldn't be a big problem in the situation that you described.
          RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
          May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
          RIP San Lena Peppy
          May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010


          • #6
            Track bath: Hot water in bucket (don't scald your hands) and lots of towels. put towel in bucket, wring out, wipe/rub horse and rinse in bucket and repeat. if especially muddy, will need lots of buckets/towels. put on a cooler afterward.

            for legs, no problem rinsing normally with a hose if possible...horse may like belly done with warm wather though.
            I love my OTTB! I get my dressage test done faster!


            • #7
              I have used the hot water/towel method with green-spot spray on my mare's white spots. The spray is a leave-in cleaner, so if I don't rinse it all off, we're OK.

              The hot towels loosen the dirt. I prefer a fleece cooler to a wool one, as I think the fleece cooler draws the wet away more quickly.

              Once she is washed and under the cooler, I then fold back the cooler strategically and use dry towels to rub her wet spots until they are dry. It's a bicep-building exercise, but it works.

              I've done this in temperatures as low as the low-20s without ill effects.


              • #8
                Susan Harris in her book "Grooming to Win" recommends adding just a touch of shampoo to the hot water before doing the hot towel bath. This is because you need to change the pH in order to really remove the dirt.


                • #9
                  Hot towelling as has been described above, with perhaps a touch of soap/shampoo.
                  Riding the winds of change

                  Heeling NRG Aussies
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