A good daily grooming is essential for healthy horses-especially in winter. Daily grooming helps a horse build a healthy coat, fight off fungus and makes weight loss and wounds easier to spot. It also builds a strong bond between humans and horses.
As the weather cools and in some climates dampens, you’ll need to pay particular attention to your horse’s hooves. Horses that stand in damp paddocks develop thrush and scratches, both of which can be easily prevented with a little daily maintenance.
If you want to give your horse a bath when the weather is cool, you still can-provided you have a few of the right tools. Following is a brief guide to cool weather grooming and bathing techniques.
1) Curry (using a circular motion to lift the dirt) and brush your horse every day. Use a rubber curry comb and a longer bristled brush to lift off the dirt. Use a soft brush around his face. After you’ve given him a good rubdown, you can spray him with a non-silicone grooming solution to keep further dirt at bay and rub him down with a clean towel.
2) Pick his hooves daily. Apply a dilution of Lysol disinfectant (2 oz. to 1 gallon of water), dilution of bleach, or a commercial thrush product, every week.
3) To give a horse a winter bath, work in sections and with the hottest water available that your horse can stand. A stock tank heater and a bucket work well for this purpose. As you finish each section of the horse, rub off the excess water and cover with a towel. When you’re totally finished, cover the horse (and the towels) with a fleece cooler and walk him in a warm place until he’s dry. A good rule of thumb is not to bathe a horse if it’s colder than 55 degrees.