For much of the year, a mud-encrusted horse can be dealt with easily enough with a quick trip to the wash stall. When temperatures are near or below freezing, however, you won’t be able to rely on water to clean him up. Try this five-step method to deal with winter mud:
1. Allow it to dry. Wet mud is nearly impossible to remove from a horse’s coat. Put your horse in a dry space and return a few hours later.
2. Tackle the worst with a shedding blade. The “toothed” edge of a shedding blade will cut through the thickest mud. Reserve this tool for the hindquarters, shoulders and other similarly-padded areas and use a light touch, only enough to scrape off the mud.
3. Curry, curry, curry. With the worst of the mud gone, use a currycomb—one with long, flexible “fingers” works best—to remove the rest.
4. Break out the brushes. When no more mud is visible, give your horse a good brushing.
5. Do one last wipe. Use a well-wrung damp towel to wipe away the last of the fine dust. Then brush again with a clean soft finishing brush. Removing all dust will be nearly impossible, but by focusing on areas where tack will sit, you’ll get what’s important.