dealing with unclipped horses in winter

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dealing with unclipped horses in winter

Post by FlorayG on Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:40 am

It's been really mild and when I ride my horses get really sweaty and wet. Even sticking to old Pony Club rules and walking the last half mile, when I take the saddle off Dancing particularly is sodden and steaming under it. Now, I get the hose and wash them off even in winter, my reasoning being that they are already soaking wet and warm enough to get themselves dry when I turn them out, and surely they would be more comfortable wet with clean water than sticky sweat? What do you think/do? Mine don't wear rugs, of course. (Wendy I'm doing this at work because I can't get it to work still in Chrome No ). Any better ideas? What do they do in Nevada and Scandinavia in winter after they ride?
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Re: dealing with unclipped horses in winter

Post by Sydney on Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:42 am

At the royal last weekend I bought these chamois things. They are the exact same thing as shamwow. www.shamwow.com They suck off ALL the water and if anything just leave them a little damp.
I gave Indigo a partial bath yesterday (it's cold here) and then used that chamois to suck the water off her and it worked. I would have bought another set of them if I knew they really did work that well. Extremely helpful when you have two white horses and one that needs to be bathed often for kids birthday parties.
I use a fleece cooler wile they are in the barn and then once they are considerably less sweaty or somewhat dry I turn them out. Mine are outside 24/7 and never get blanketed.
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Re: dealing with unclipped horses in winter

Post by bohohorse on Sat Nov 15, 2008 9:01 am

Good thread... I'm in the same boat. I've been a runner for years, often doing cross country races in the winter and I know how cold you get (and how quickly) when your sweat starts to cool. So I'm obsessive about Z at this time of year. This is what I do:

- try and keep him as fit as possible for the work that he's doing so I'm diligent about exercising him 5 times a week doing groundwork if he is too wet/dirty to saddle.

- nearly always exercise him in the morning so I've got time to deal with it before he goes back out.

- save the harder work for when I've got the day off for the same reason.

- also walk the last mile back and make sure he gets a proper warm up

- walk him in hand after the saddle comes off as thats where most of the sweat is so it doesn't dry when he's walking with me still on board obviously. If he's just got a bit of a damp patch I just walk him till he's cool and dry. If he's wet anywhere then I'll also consider sponging first. Generally speaking, if it's mild enough for him to sweat up then it's mild enough for him to deal with a sponging. I tend to also think that a clean damp patch is better than a sticky one. I get a quick coffee on to carry while I walk and it's no hardship Very Happy

Generally speaking, Z doesn't suffer too much with sweating over the winter despite his fluff. I watch the clipped horses still coming home lathered and he is NEVER in that state. In fact the thing that really makes him hot is thinking - such as during clicker training!
I'm pretty sure it helps if you don't rug - the natural thermostat isn't compromised.

On a related note, I'm just thinking of adjusting his diet on the hard work days too - we came back from a very hilly ride the other day and he was begging for a bit of my banana when we got back. I notice he likes banana on hot days or after hard work! Maybe as it's a good source of potassium... I'm going to add a little salt to each bucket feed and maybe also some ACV after the hard work. Maybe fetch us both a banana each next time too Very Happy
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Re: dealing with unclipped horses in winter

Post by bohohorse on Sat Nov 15, 2008 9:02 am

PS might have to find out if they ship the shamwow to the uk...! Very Happy
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Re: dealing with unclipped horses in winter

Post by Sydney on Sat Nov 15, 2008 9:26 am

I'm pretty sure it helps if you don't rug - the natural thermostat isn't compromised.

How true. A winter blanket on a full furry winter horse flattens the hair. The hair acts as an insulator when it stands up like it should. Just ask the vet.

One thing that is different about horses from humans and sweat is the fitter humans are the less we sweat. Horses sweat the same no matter if they are fit or unfit. Human sweat is very dilute and horse sweat is 10 times more concentrated meaning he loses more salts per liter of sweat than a human.

A horse that does not sweat or sweats very little (think really hot day and all the horses are lathered and sweaty but yours) may be inflicted with a disease called anhydrosis. Anhydrosis is the inability for a horses thremoregulation system to work efficiently. It's common in racing thoroughbreds and horses that were moved from a cool climate to a warm one.

Some people used to mark a horse that had really lathered up an unfit horse and a horse that didn't lather when he sweated fit. That is now known to be untrue. A protein called "latherin" is secreted onto the skin with the sweat. If the days of sweating are increased the leatherin in the sweat and foamy appearance dissapears. The latherin is just exhaused in the body but the electolyte loss remains the same. A few days off and the horse would continue to have the lathery sweat.

ok end ramble lol!
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Re: dealing with unclipped horses in winter

Post by fin on Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:53 pm

Nobody has mentioned rolling to help a sweating horse. I was told many years ago that allowing a horse to roll when he hs sweaty helps him to dry off. This has worked for my pony. I walk him until his breathing is normal then turn him out and he always rolls. He doesn't wear a rug and lives out. Would love to know if there is any science ti back this up. My pony is 15 and has never been ill in the 13 years I've owned him. The next day the sweat marks have gone from his body and if it hasn't rained its easy to brush him clean. If it has rained he looks like he lives in a swamp but nothing's ever perfect!
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Re: dealing with unclipped horses in winter

Post by Sydney on Sat Nov 15, 2008 2:16 pm

It helps the hairs become fluffed up so I don't think theres any science behind that lol! Not like theres flies for dirt to protect in the winter.
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Re: dealing with unclipped horses in winter

Post by FlorayG on Mon Nov 17, 2008 6:27 am

So I'm right then, all that faffing about with getting your horse dry, and clipping, and using rugs, only applies when your horse is stabled? I just chuck mine out sweaty and, like Fin, I've never had a days illness from it. I have no choice, I have exactly one hour to do everything as well as ride from the time I get out of the car in the morning to the time I have to get back in it to go to work. Does anyone here live in a really cold climate? What do you do?
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Re: dealing with unclipped horses in winter

Post by Sydney on Mon Nov 17, 2008 8:56 am

I'm in a cold climate this time of the year, Southern Ontario, Canada. Our winters are very chilling because it's a damp/humid cold even though it may not snow a terrible amount of anything compared to the rest of canada.
I just thought of this now lol should have mentioned it earlier. Last year we had to do this drive in a parade. The mare we were using is a bit of a nutter. She got all worked up because she never stands still for anything and then it snowed and we were right on a river so it was cold. We couldn't find the cooler so she was shivering from head to toe from sweating so I got the brilliant idea of using the shop vac to vacuum her. It worked great so we didn't have to keep her inside for the night (remember shes a nutter she would have had a fit being away from other horses at night). Since they are used to us using the big clippers on them she just squirmed at first, un sure of the snakey hose. You can get little shop vacs for like 50$.
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Re: dealing with unclipped horses in winter

Post by lightertouch on Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:27 am

Wow! Now thats innovation! Very Happy bounce
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Re: dealing with unclipped horses in winter

Post by Sydney on Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:00 pm

It's also cheaper than horse vacuums. You can buy the attachments for the horse ones and use them on the shop vac. I just used the bristle attachment and it worked great. I think I am going to buy a little 50$ one just for the barn this year. I have allergies to dust and when Indigo rolls in the mud SHE ROLLS so shes completely covered in dusty dirt once it dries and I am sneezing for the rest of the night.
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Re: dealing with unclipped horses in winter

Post by bohohorse on Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:58 am

What sort of vacs are they? Could you link to a picture?

I've found an article on sweating - having to wade through it but it seems to confirm that fittening doesn't decrease horses sweat levels when they are at the peak of the exercise but it does decrease recovery sweat. http://jap.physiology.org/cgi/content/full/89/6/2463

Jackie you could try posting on the AND forum too - it's English language but most of the contributors are from Scandinavian countries and Eastern Europe.
http://www.artofnaturaldressage.com/forum/

I would have thought that if you are exercising for a short time and it's in the morning... they would have plenty of time to cool off, dry, roll etc by the time the temperature drops at night
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Re: dealing with unclipped horses in winter

Post by Sydney on Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:23 am

Oh I forgot again. I use this when I bathe but it would work the exact same way. Rubbing alcohol on the sweaty spots. I have a 50/50 bottle of rubbing alcohol and water. I use it after I bathe when I am going to shows because rubbing alcohol evaporates and dries them faster especially when it's cool in the morning before show.
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