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Best way to dry a horse in cold weather

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  • Best way to dry a horse in cold weather

    Our temps are already getting down to the high 40s over night. With my work schedule, it's only feasible for me to ride in the evening. My Haf is already turning into a wooly beast. I will not clip him because finding a turnout blanket for him has proven to be very difficult and he lives outside 24/7. He has a short body (wears about a 74"), but he as large, thick neck. Which makes finding something that doesn't ride up, bind, pinch, pull, rub or otherwise not fit properly very difficult.

    An irish knit sheet and a cooler have been recommended to me. I already have a fitter fleece dress sheet/cooler and a large fleece square cooler.

    Can anyone recommend specific products they love for drying a horse post exercise in the cold weather?

    I've also been looking at anti-sweat sheets. Is that the same thing as an irish knit cooler? They look very similar.

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    When I lived in a colder climate we dried the horses by putting an irish knit on (not buckled anywhere, just draped) with a wool cooler on top of that (same thing, just draped). Then the horse was vigorously rubbed with a towel and rubbing alcohol to remove the sweat marks and any remaining sweat. Once the horse was completely dry and clean then the stable rug was put on for the night.
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    • #3
      Having owned a woolybear before, to really help them dry you are going to have to clip a little.

      You can clip between the front legs and up the neck to the throat crease on both sides. You don't necessarily have to blanket though or reclip. It can be enough to help.

      Then if you can leave him in for a bit to cool down it's a help. Irish knit works or if really damp you may have to put a layer of straw or hay under the cooler to absorb some of the steam as he cools off. The idea is to wick the damp away to remove it.

      We also like something called a Cactus Cloth - hard to find, but worth it. Looks a little like bailing twine woven into cloth. Seems to help rough up the hair enough to remove some of the water as you rub. Removes sweat mark edges and horses love the scratchy feel. Doesn't completely dry them though.

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      • #4
        I use a hair dryer. My horses have all adapted quickly and seem to enjoy being blown with warm air after a ride. I just bought a new gelding, and I hope he doesn't make me eat my words when the weather turns cold here and I dust off the dryer!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by saddleup View Post
          I use a hair dryer. My horses have all adapted quickly and seem to enjoy being blown with warm air after a ride. I just bought a new gelding, and I hope he doesn't make me eat my words when the weather turns cold here and I dust off the dryer!
          A shop vac on reverse works too.

          I'm a big fan of the Irish knit with a fleece or wool cooler on top. Cuts drying time in half.

          I've used alcohol to take off sweat marks and to dry, but be careful overusing it. Alcohol is very drying and can cause a rash around the girth area.
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          • #6
            Irish knit and wool cooler is the ticket. You will end up with a dry horse and a wet wool cooler.
            ... _. ._ .._. .._

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            • #7
              Here is the ghetto college kid version:

              Buy a cheep fleece queen or king blanket at Goodwill, get come clothes pins and a hair dryer (as already mentioned). Pull up a chair and start drying from the legs up. The ghetto cooler is applied simply by placing over horse and using clothes pins to secure it. Every 20 minutes or so, pull cooler aside and vigorously rub the horse's coat, both to keep him and you warm. He will enjoy the "massage" as well as the release of the moisture and you will appreciate the "warm-up".

              Oh, and dinner that night is Ramen - your choice of "chicken" or "beef".

              I do not miss my ghetto college kid days - no sir! But they do provide some fond memories!
              Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.
              W. C. Fields

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Equibrit View Post
                Irish knit and wool cooler is the ticket. You will end up with a dry horse and a wet wool cooler.
                See, this is MUCH classier. Much much classier...

                Stay in school, kids!
                Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.
                W. C. Fields

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                • #9
                  Wool cooler has always been my go-to. Old-school, but it works.
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                  • #10
                    Walk them out after you ride. Untack, brush up the sweaty areas with a hard brush, and throw on a heavyweight fleece (not the lightweight crap they sell at Joanns). You actually see the wetness wicking up onto the surface! Walk out until dry. Curry & brush, then you're done.

                    Heavy fleece works as well as wool, plus its easier to handle (physically lighter) and machine washable. Try a commercial fabric store or if none is available to you, Seattle Fabrics for the "300" weight fleece by the yard. You just need a square the right size, and buy a couple of clamps at the hardware store.

                    It takes time. There aren't too many shortcuts that are less work than walking them out.

                    A pony clip (just under the neck and between the forelegs) isn't a terrible idea either.
                    Proud Member: Bull-snap Haters Clique, Michigan Clique, and Appaloosa Clique!

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                    • #11
                      I have a weatherbeeta fleece cooler, and that thing works amazing!! It doesn't take long and you can see the moisture on the outside that's been wicked away from their hair. I've also heard/seen that the ones from schneiders with the fitted neck work really well also.

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                      • #12
                        I received a "honeycomb chill chaser" from Dover for a birthday gift. I use that under a wool cooler for when he is really sweaty (usually due to misbehavior!).

                        I have to say, I really do like the chill chaser. Works great on its own for drying the horse in not so cold temps, and works beautifully under the wool cooler for when he has to be bathed and its cold out, or again, if he gets really sweaty.

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                        • #13
                          I use a blow dryer. It works great.
                          Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CR Gorge Girl View Post
                            I have a weatherbeeta fleece cooler, and that thing works amazing!! It doesn't take long and you can see the moisture on the outside that's been wicked away from their hair.
                            Ditto, that is truly amazing the amount of moisture it pulls off a wet, hot horse.
                            save lives...spay/neuter/geld

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by danceronice View Post
                              Wool cooler has always been my go-to. Old-school, but it works.
                              Well, yeah, me too. Except...real old school as I learned in France is, you take sweaty horse back to his stall (standing or box) and make wads of clean dry straw from the bedding, and groom with that until dry, making new wads as needed.

                              If you do have straw on hand but don't want to do all that work, placing some under the wool cooler does hasten the process.

                              I've had an unclipped horse that, after hunting, took 8 hours to dry completely. A pain. In that case I put cooler under a sheet that could be fastened in place to prevent shifting, went home to tend to family, eat dinner etc, and went back to barn around midnight to remove cooler and sheet and groom horse to ensure he was dry. Horse wasn't clipped because he was on trial- got clipped as soon as he passed the hunting test!

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                              • #16
                                I bought a Shamwow this summer... I've used it to dry the dog after a bath. I wonder if it will help dry the horses too? I do use alcohol and a fleece cooler too... of course I'm in California and don't have to deal with real cold weather, so I'll just go sit in a corner now...

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                                • #17
                                  Ya know, I laughed when I saw a box of ShamWows on a fellow boarde'rs tack trunk. And then when I saw her I forgot to ask her how well they worked!

                                  I've seen the ads on tv but was holding out til they throw in the set of Ginsu knives...

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                                  • #18
                                    First I rub a towel over horse to get as much dampness off as possible. Then I use either an Irish Knit anti sweat sheet or my Dover Chill Chaser with a wool cooler over.

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Beverley View Post
                                      Ya know, I laughed when I saw a box of ShamWows on a fellow boarde'rs tack trunk. And then when I saw her I forgot to ask her how well they worked!

                                      I've seen the ads on tv but was holding out til they throw in the set of Ginsu knives...
                                      Didn't! I tried them, but did not see a big difference.
                                      I agree with the straw. I saw it done often in France!

                                      We had a deal with the barn that, since our lesson was late and our mare was quite hairy, we dried her as much as we could and she stayed in that night! They put her back out in the morning. Otherwise, we had to spend hours drying her, wool cooler, walking, brushing, wool cooler and more walking.

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                                      • #20
                                        Get one of the Bucas blankets that pulls off moisture. They have stable sheets that do it as well as turnouts. I can put one on a wet horse and put him away in the stall. Saves tons of time.

                                        Expensive, but how much is your time worth every time you ride?

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