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Getting back into bathing--how cold is too cold?

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  • Getting back into bathing--how cold is too cold?

    I usually go by feel, but the other day I was extremely hot and I thought it would be absolutely fine to bathe my horse and then throw on a cooler and graze him until he dried by my trainer said no it was too cold.
    tomorrow the high is 72. We only have cold water. Is it too cold?
    thanks!
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  • #2
    Our rule of thumb is that it must be at least 60 degrees in the barn to bathe horses. This excludes things like rinsing legs or washing tails, of course.

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    • #3
      I have always went with 70...

      But you also have to take into account how cold is the water coming out of the hose? Just because the temp is 70 the water could still be in the 50's.
      What you might want to do, is fill 4 or 5 buckets, let the sun warm up the water, and then give your horse a bath with that water.
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      • #4
        I think you should be fine tomorrow.

        I usually don't bathe under 60 or so, unless I have hot/warm water, then I'll bathe in the 50s but throw on a thick cooler (I have the really heavy Rambo velour cooler that I use). I bathed today when it was around 63 or so, with hot water, and put a fleece cooler on as soon as I was done, and my horse was fine. He's body clipped though, so he dries pretty quickly.
        “I always knew I had the ability, I just had to find the horse to get me there.” - Calvin Borel, on riding Street Sense to victory in the 2007 Kentucky Derby

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        • #5
          You should be fine tomorrow. I bathe all throughout the winter, but we have hot water and if we bathe we throw like 3 coolers on them.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by OneMoreTime View Post
            Our rule of thumb is that it must be at least 60 degrees in the barn to bathe horses. This excludes things like rinsing legs or washing tails, of course.
            I usually wait til it's in the 70s and sunny, and dry them (at least mostly dry) in the sun before putting them in a stall (with a cooler if necessary) to finish off. This weekend will be the great spring scrubdown for both of mine!

            I was at a farm in the UK with welsh ponies, and it was in the 50s and rainy, and they drove teams of ponies out to work every day which got everything covered in mud & sweat; they then cold hosed the ponies, harnesses, carriages and all, threw some scrims on them, and put them in their stalls to dry. I never saw a single one shiver or flinch!

            So it might depend on the type of horse, climate, and what it's used to.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Paint Hunter/Jumper View Post
              You should be fine tomorrow. I bathe all throughout the winter, but we have hot water and if we bathe we throw like 3 coolers on them.
              This is what my trainer does too. But again they have hot water. I usually always bathe with at least slightly warm water so I can't be of too much help. But if it's sunny and not windy that makes a HUGE difference! That sun can make it seem so much warmer than if it's windy, even if the temperature is the same.
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              • #8
                You'll be fine for tomorrow. I've given bathes in the 65/70s and let my horse graze and dry in the sun. We have hot and cold water in our wash stall, so it's easy to regulate what temperature water is coming out. He also gets his legs hosed when it's muddy, unless it's freezing.
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                • #9
                  Two fat ponies , I have to laugh at your Welsh pony story ! Are they not the most resilient creatures in the world? They adapt to anything. Things that would absolutely kill any other equine has no effect on those Welchies ! Love it !

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                  • #10
                    There's no scientific basis or real equine knowledge to my answer... but I think about how a horse's coat is designed to insulate him, and how if it's wet it doesn't work that way... so I think of him is having about as much protection as we do when it comes to warmth during bathing. So if there's hot water and I would conceivably take a shower in those temperatures, I think it would be fine for a horse that gets snuggled up in coolers afterward. If it's only cold water, like we have at my barn, I wait until it's a pretty warm and sunny day, because that's the only day I could stand being squirted with a cold hose. (:
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                    • #11
                      [hangs head in shame] I've bathed when it was in the 50s. With cold water. Outside, on a windy day. I'm such a bad, bad horse owner
                      I just towel dry as best as I can, toss on a cooler, and feed lots of hay
                      Last edited by Tilly; Apr. 25, 2009, 11:17 AM. Reason: extra word. . .
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                      • #12
                        You do not want to give a horse a bath with cold water ever really if you can help it. What you can do is fill up some buckets and let them sit in the sun, if it is going to be 70, and use that water to bathe your horse.

                        As far as bathing with warm water goes, horses at the Northern tracks bathe horses all the time in the dead of winter, and no it is not in a warm heated barn, same old outside shed rows, and no indoor wash racks. They don't have a choice, winter or not the horse get sweaty and dirty training and running.

                        I am sure you have seen horses get soaked in late winter, early spring with temperatures well below zero, and they survive with no one scrapping them off and no cooler.

                        I am not advocating washing your horse in -20 degree weather, but it is done and they all survive, but you have to be very conscientious regarding cooling them out and making sure they are comfortable before they go to bed.

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