How to Give a Horse a Bath in the Winter

by Farmer Jack
Updated on

      Taking your horse for a bath should be part of your routine even during the cold winter period. As a horse owner, it is important to know when and how to give the horse a bath. You can avoid winter baths unless you own a horse that competes during the winter.

      The Best Method for Bathing a Horse When in Freezing Temperatures

      1. Using Hot Water

      Bathing your horse in winter requires that you use warm water that will make your horse comfortable. Hot water will clean better and dry faster. If you are the only person cleaning the horse, you will need to be twice as fast and wash small sections and scrap off the washed section before moving on to the next.

      2. Soaping and Scraping

      There is no need for being thorough during winter bath due to the cold temperatures. Another reason for a quick wash is not to allow shampoo and washing agents to dry off faster without leaving soap residue.

      Use a sweat scraper to scrub the coat after the bath. The scraper should have a rubber its edges. Rubber on the edges conforms to contours on the horse skin making it easy to trap more water.

      3. Dry Your Horse

      After thorough rinsing and scrapping, you need to help the horse dry itself. Depending on the length of the coat, the drying process could take a short while to a few hours.

      You can use old towels or any fabric to dry off as much moisture as possible. Then lay a few old towels across its back and carefully add a cooler over the towels. The best choice would be Irish cotton coolers that have another layer of second wool layered on top of it if possible.

      You are advised not to use a blanket at this point. A blanket is heavy and prevents moisture from running away from its body. After dressing the horse with a cooler dress walk to the warmest area of the aisle.

      Remove the towels after 10 or 15 minutes because by now, they will be soaked and the cooler areas will be exposed to wick more water out of the coat. You only need to watch the hose throughout the drying process so that the animal is not chilled.

      When the temperature is too cold, cover the horse with a hay bag so that they can get warm when digestion takes place.

      Winter Horse Bathing Alternatives

      One alternative that will work well is something called a birdbath. This involves grabbing some towels, waterless shampoo, and a bucket full of warm water. Mix the waterless shampoo with warm water in a bucket, then immerse your towels in the cleaning solution and ring them out. Use the wrung towel to scrub the horse’s coat. Scrubbing can be done lightly all over the body to help achieve surface cleaning. Surface drying ensures that the skin is dry in most cases.

      Teaching the Horse to Stand for a Bath

      Do not introduce your horse for its first bath during the winter. The horse will experience high temperatures if it is done for the first time, some horses do not tolerate baths, but they tend to like taking cold baths when they start early in life.

      How do You Know if the Weather is too cold for bathing a horse

      To make the final decision as to whether it is too cold for your horse to take a bath depends on the breed and equipment. When you have the right equipment and a healthy horse, even when temperatures go below 20 degrees, you can still bathe your horse.

      Final Words

      Here are some factors to consider before giving your horse a bath during the cold weather:

      • Make sure you have a healthy horse
      • You should have warm water near you
      • What is the state of the horse coat, is the horse wearing its full winter coat
      • Does the weather permit time to dry the horse completely?
      • Is bathing the horse a necessity

      A healthy horse should handle a bath without special treatment as long as you are sure that they will stay warm throughout until they are dry. Drying a horse that has a full winter coat may take longer than expected and may not give you the best bathing experience.

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      Farmer Jack


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