Tips for Winter Horse Grooming

by Matt

Do you have a fuzzy horse in your barn this winter? Will you be blanketing as covered in my earlier post, Long coats call for special grooming strategies. A long winter coat is perfect for beating the winter wind and snow off your horse’s back, but it calls for extra attention when you’re exercising and training during the cold months. Long coats can hide dander, dried sweat, and dirt — which can make your horse itchy and uncomfortable. You’ll need the right tools for the job if you want to drag all that gunk to the surface and sweep it away

The Basics: Try a spiral curry comb for mud instead of your traditional rubber comb. The metal teeth and multiple rings on the spiral curry get through the layers of hair to bring dander to the surface — they’re also great for breaking up that hard mud caking your horse’s coat after a wet day. Top off a curry comb massage with some good hard strokes from a coarse dandy brush to whisk all that dirt away.

Vacuums: Some professional grooms swear by equine vacuums. While they don’t replace the simple elbow grease which powers a curry comb session, they can replace the whisking power of a dandy brush. And then some. Most horses who have been around noisy barn equipment, like clippers or leaf blowers, won’t find a vacuum alarming with a little time to get acquainted, and some really love the feeling.

Winter Baths: We all rush to the barn to get a bath in the moment the temperature feels moderately warm, but if it’s been weeks since you saw the sun and the mercury seems glued to the freezing mark, pulling out the hose might not be possible. What’s a stinky horse to do? Hot-toweling is one simple option, especially to rub away sweat behind the elbows where the girth might rub dirty skin into sores. Keep a cooler over the wet patches until the horse dries. Waterless shampoos with a balance of cleaning agents and natural oils are also a good choice to help rub the remnants of manure, mud, and sweat off you horse.

Keeping your horse clean both over and under a fuzzy winter coat can be a challenge! Still, it’s important to get in there and scrub regularly, especially if your horse gets wet or breaks a sweat under all that hair. You’ll be fighting off infections, sores, fungus, and making your horse feel good — definitely a cause worthy of your attention.

3 responses on “Tips for Winter Horse Grooming

  1. Warren McCurdy says:

    Awesome article! What are your thoughts on using one of those shedding blades instead of a curry comb? I saw this write up on one of them here

    It sounds like they work decently well, though they do seem a bit on the expensive side

  2. Julie Bradford says:

    Don’t forget to keep the water warm when bathing in cooler temps. I like to use a simple stock tank heater like My horses really love a good warm bath on a cool day.

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