The horse with a thick winter coat is a few things: adorable, warm, and really hard to clean! The long hairs of a horse in winter love to trap shavings, dirt, dust, dried mud, and basically everything that horses love to roll in and be covered by. And if we are riding, all of that fuzz plus exercise plus tack means sweat also. It’s often ideal for some horses to remain fuzzy in winter, but skin infections and discomfort are a real possibility.
So how do you get your furry horse super deep clean in winter? You hot towel him. This is actually a two for one special – as you will get a nice work out also. Your supplies:
- Steamy hot water.
- Washcloths and lots of ‘em.
- Another bucket of water for rising towels.
- A wool or fleece cooler for your horse.
- Your HandsOn Gloves.
- Maybe some dry shampoo – it’s optional.
Hot toweling your horse uses steam and curry action to get your fuzzy horse clean. Wearing your grooming gloves during this protects your skin from the repeated dunking into hot water and helps you curry the steamy towel into your horse.
First, groom your horse as usual, as best you can, to get all of the dirt and dust loose. Make sure any mud has dried and you have groomed it away. A grooming vacuum comes in really handy here!
Get a washcloth nice and wet in super hot water. It might be helpful to soak several at a time. Wring the washcloth until it’s barely damp. Some of the heat will also be removed, which is good. You don’t want to make your horse uncomfortable. The key is to keep the cloth fairly hot and steamy, and not so wet. Hold the cloth and use it as a curry comb, working in small sections to clean your horse. The more water you can wring out, the better.
If your horse is stained, adding a tiny bit of dry shampoo or spot remover to the hot water solution can help any discolorations come out. Also be sure to toss the used washcloths into a rinse bucket before you get them hot again. No use in making the hot water dirty. Avoid letting your damp horse hang out, so after you clean and are switching out wash cloths, cover him with a cooler. If you are really diligent about wringing out the cloth, he won’t be wet at all. It also helps to work away from drafts and the wind!
You may want to use a stiffer brush to ruffle up the toweled areas so the cooler can do it’s job a little better. This is a long process to do your entire horse, so prioritize the areas that are covered with tack. No horse wants to wear tack that covers up a gritty coat!
Enjoy the new found clean horse after all of your efforts!