Tuesday, February 03, 2009

S'now What?

It's Snowing Again

Just enough snow to be annoying and not enough to close things down. But it will ruin the footing again.

Except, it's supposed to warm up considerably so it may melt sooner than later, or not.

Daily weather report completed.

The Boys are currently wearing sheets instead of winter blankets. The temperatures seem to be moderating at last, so I decided to let them have a break from the insulated wear. They seemed just fine this morning, but both Tucker and Toby had taken advantage of yesterday's considerable thaw and rolled--a lot. I'd cleaned them off when I put the sheets on, so perhaps under the covers they are still somewhat "un-muddy," but the rest of their bodies are coated. Fortunately, they rolled in the arena which is sand based so the stuff kind of cleans off. My sand has a lot of clay still in it, though, so "clean" is a relative term this time of year.

Winter coats on horses are quite protective and do seem to attract dirt. I think the pictures below of shiny horses is a deception of sorts. But it was nice to have people comment.

Now, all my Boys have fairly heavy winter coats. The theory here, according to the Farnum website, is that the "shine comes from within," because I have them on the Strongid 2X daily wormer. Could be a partial explanation. The rest might be that they are just fat and happy with lots to eat and few worries. Either way, I do like seeing the shine, even this time of year.

Some blankets (rugs) act as coat conditioners, actually. As the horse walks, the blanket moves and "grooms" them a bit, bringing up the coat oils and polishing the hair. Kind of neat, actually. The funny part, though, is when you apply the curry and brush only to find all the dirt kind of buried underneath. Unless you groom and groom and vacuum, it's almost impossible to keep a horse really clean in the winter--presuming he gets some turnout time.

In the case of going to a clinic with someone new, I might use a hot towel to give my horse a bit of a "steam" bath in the winter, but I don't really have the facilities to give a proper bath this time of year. Sometimes too, I can take the shavings from the stall, rub that into the horse's coat and brush it out and it acts as a dry shampoo.

Speaking of dry shampoos--they do work, but doing a whole horse is really a chore and uses up way too much shampoo. They seem to be best at spot cleaning.

The best way to keep clean in the winter is to clip. Then, your grooming tools really do reach down to the horse's skin. But sometimes that's just not practical. If I had an indoor and was sure I could ride on a regular basis, I'd clip. But with so many days off, my Boys are just better off with their natural coats.

I have clipped in the spring, though. If the weather quite suddenly warms up, it's the fastest way to get rid of a shedding winter coat. Contrary to what some people say, I've never noticed the summer coat being any less glossy or beautiful if I clip during shedding season.

Right now, though, it's a moot point as Tucker is dramatically afraid of the clippers. I just haven't bothered to train him to them. Toby is fine, but I've never ever approached Chance.
It's one of those lessons I have failed to complete. "My bad." (Another project for warmer days.) Right now, I do all my show trimming with the scissors. I'm not bad at it as years ago I had barns without electricity and no battery operated clippers, so I did everything by hand.

Isn't that sad? Now I have whatever I want in my own barn and I'm still living in my "horse dark ages." *G*


  1. well if you don't need to clip, why do it? i only did because molly gets a really thick coat and really sweats when worked hard, not good in the winter - and then - well, you've seen her! neck & girth does the job!

    you're right, it's much easier to clean - especially with a grooming block to get the mud off quickly

    hadn't thought about a hot towel steam, that's a good plan! do you just put the towel in boiling water and then apply to the dirty area? i could try that on her legs to get the rest of that stuff off....?

  2. Claire, don't use boiling water, but water as hot as you can stand. Soak the towel, wring it out, and then apply to horse. The heat draws out the dirt but the horse doesn't get really wet.

  3. Hey Jean,
    Wow - your horses are wearing sheets? It's down to 4 degrees here and it's only about 10:30 pm. It will surely be below zero when i wake up. My two are wearing their warmest coats (heaviest thickness Weatherbeetas), and are chomping on some nice second cut hay in the barn. But it's supposed to warm up, so I can't wait!
    You're right, my friend's filly, Cielle, is probably going to be an eventing horse, so there will be some dressage in her future. Her mom is 16.2 hands, so I'm sure she is going to be a big girl. And yes, her conformation does seem to be quite nice. I hope she will be a great horse for my friend Cheryl.