How to dry the damp or wet horse in winter!
Horses are amazingly adept at dealing with winter weather! Their coats are designed to keep them warm and dry, and for the most part being outside in a downpour can be just fine. The outer layer of hair allows the water to run off your horse. There’s also the instance in winter when your horse starts to sweat – in which case he’s getting wet from the skin. This can happen on an unusually warm winter day, or you have ridden your horse and the sweat starts coming!
It now becomes your job to dry your horse to avoid him getting chilled as your horse cools out. This prevents his body from swinging into hypothermia mode as he dries. The easiest ways to do this involve some elbow grease, some fleece or wool coolers, and perhaps even a walk around the property.
When you come back from your ride and have untacked your horse, toss a cooler over the sweaty parts to start wicking moisture from his skin and coat into the cooler. The cooler also serves to keep any wind from chilling your horse and helps his body temperature return to normal. Then you can go around him and ruffle up his coat with your grooming gloves. Think the opposite of smooth and sleek, you want the coat to get some air under the cooler and dry out.
You can also take him for a hand walk around the property. Be sure the cooler has leg straps so it doesn’t fly up. His walking will create some body heat to dry the hair, but not so much that he starts to sweat again. Check frequently on the drying status.
It does take time to dry the wet horse in winter, but use your grooming tools and a cooler to make it safer and more comfortable for your horse.