Removing Mud Stains During Winter

When cold weather makes a full bath impossible, try these tactics for removing manure and mud stains.

Mud and manure stains on your horse’s coat are never easy to get out, but when winter weather makes a full bath impossible, the chore is even more challenging. Stains don’t present a health hazard, but if your competition schedule or sense of aesthetics compels you to address them, try these tactics:

Keeping a horse, particularly a gray one, clean during winter calls for some creative stain-removal tricks. ©Kate Light

• Rub white vinegar directly onto the stains with a clean towel, then wipe it off. This also works on manes and tails tinged with urine or manure. For stubborn spots, you may need to repeat the process a couple of times.

• Use baby wipes to gently scrub away small stains around sensitive areas like the eyes, ears, nose and dock.

• Opt for a dry shampoo for larger body stains. Most are sprayed directly onto the coat and rubbed in with a?towel, against the grain of the hair.

• For a deeper cleaning, steam away stains with hot towels. First, use a submersible heating element or a portable kettle to warm a bucket of water. You’ll know the temperature is right if you can just stand to dip your gloved hand into it. While the water is heating, vigorously curry your horse’s coat and use a dry shampoo to pretreat stubborn grass or manure marks. When the water is ready, dunk large bath towels into the bucket and wring out the excess moisture, leaving the towels damp but not dripping. Rapidly rub the stains in a?circular motion. Continue to wet and rotate to clean parts of the towel as it lifts dirt. Use a smaller hand towel for the face. If your horse is damp from the towel treatment, cover him with a cooler to prevent chill.