COLD WEATHER COOL-OUT TIPS


A hot, sweaty, unclipped horse presents a challenge in the middle of winter. Once wet, a winter coat doesn't provide insulation, leaving a horse at risk of a chill. 


Your challenge after a vigorous workout is to keep him warm until his coat dries.


Your best bet is to cover your horse with a cooler—either an old-fashioned woolen one or one made of a modem material, that wicks moisture away from the body. Then, keep him away from the wind and drafts until his coat is dry, changing the cooler if it becomes damp. 


If you're in a hurry, towel dry your horse or even break out a hair dryer, being careful to not overheat his skin. 


But don't put a heavy blanket on a hot, wet horse in cold weather. That will merely trap the moisture, making his coat stay wet longer. Stick with a cooler until he is dry, then put on his regular blanket. 


It could take several hours for a horse to be ready for his winter blanket, depending on how sweaty he is and what the weather is like, so plan your rides to allow enough time for this follow-up.


The good news is you don't have to keep your horse walking until he's dry. 


That's a common misconception. Walking him until his breathing returns to normal will ensure his muscles have properly cooled down, but once he's no longer huffing or puffing, walking is not necessary.


If you frequently ask your horse for exertion in freezing weather, consider giving him a partial or even a full body clip. A clipped horse needs much more protection from the cold in the form of blankets and shelter than his natural-coated herd-mates, but he will dry much faster after workouts.

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January  Equus  2015


I  PERSONALLY  DO  NOT  CLIP  MY  HORSE  GOLDIE  FOR  THE  WINTER;  SHE  LIVES  OUTSIDE  ALL  YEAR  ROUND.  SHE  GROWS  HER  WINTER  HAIR;  SO  YES  IF  I  SWEAT  HER  UP  I'M  PREPARED  WITH  A  "COOLER"  BLANKET,  AND  THEN  A  HAIR  DRYER  -  KEEPING  IT  MOVING  SO  I  DO  NOT  GET  HER  SKIN  TOO  HOT  ANYWHERE.  AND  YES  DEPENDING  HOW  SWEATY  SHE  IS,  IT  MAY  TAKE  A  HOUR  BEFORE  I  CAN  TURN  HER  OUT  INTO  THE  WINTER  WEATHER.  I  USUALLY  PLAN  MY  RIDE  WITH  HER  ACCORDINGLY,  LEAVING  LOTS  OF  TIME  TO  GET  HER  HAIR  DRY  AFTER  THE  WORKOUT.


Keith Hunt