It may be the end of the show season but it’s not time to forget about grooming your horse. If you take good care of grooming your horse during the winter and make sure his or her coat is in good shape then you’ll be in a much better place to start next season. Here are a few tips to make sure that you keep your horse well groomed for the winter.
Baths Can Help
A bath every week or two, even when it’s not show season is a great way to help your horse maintain their coat and skin health. Make sure that you don’t over bathe because horses need the natural oils and grease to help keep their coat waterproof and fluffy. When you do bathe them, do it with warm water in a closed off area with no drafts, and only do a section of them at a time otherwise they can still get cold!
Daily grooming helps keep the lower layer of the horses coat clean and free from bacteria and fungi that can cause infections. When you bring your horse in make sure you groom them with a curry comb or other brush strong enough to draw the nasties up and out from that lower level. Grooming daily should be a part of your routine as you can check for injuries, bruises and heat that the horse may have developed when playing in the field. They don’t call it horsing around for nothing.
Fight Skin Irritations Early
Grooming daily also allows you to keep on top of the onset of any skin irritations that may arise. Scratches and Rain Rot can appear during the winter and while neither are life threatening or dangerous they can cause the coat to fall out or look scrawny and sparse. The treatments for both involve using anti-fungals and anti-virals to stop the spread and begin to remove the irritation.
Don’t Forget The Elbow Grease
If you are still showing or you’re looking to groom for a show early in the year then don’t forget there is no substitute for elbow grease, time and clean brushes. Start with clean brushes (you can clean most brushes in a washing machine in your house), then give it plenty of effort and time to work its magic. In most cases a long, hard brushing will help most horses come out looking great and save them from the slicked-back Jersey Shore look they get when you use chemical shiners.
Keeping a horse groomed well through the winter is mostly about putting the time in to make things look good. If you take the time to give your horse a bath when the temperature is high enough and a good grooming every day then you’ll have a great looking horse for the winter and a head start on getting that perfect coat once the show season starts next spring. What’s your favorite way to groom your horse over the winter? Leave us a comment and let us know.