A horse’s winter coat requires substantially more work to ensure that they remain comfortable. It is important to keep in mind that the horse’s winter coat is designed to keep them warm throughout the colder temperatures, so clipping their coat too short can lead to them becoming cold far more easily than is safe. Here are a few ways that you can help to keep your horse and their winter coat in good condition throughout the cold months.
Common Issues with a Winter Coat
When your horse develops a thick, winter coat, it can be rather difficult to manage effectively. Their coat is intended to retain heat and keep them warmer throughout the winter. Though this helps to keep them comfortable, it does mean that it will take longer for them to cool down after exercise. In addition, the longer coat can be difficult to keep clean. Winter temperatures often mean that it is too cold to wash them with the use of water and it will take them longer to dry after they’ve been washed. Each horse will have a different winter coat depending on their genetics, breed, and much more. Understanding the differences can help you to take the best approach to keeping their winter coat healthy and ensuring that they are comfortable throughout the winter. Their coat is likely to be much thicker and longer than their summer coat.
Use the Right Tools
There are many tools that are designed specifically to help with your horse’s winter coat. Obtaining these tools can go a long way toward ensuring that you can keep your horse clean, despite the longer coat. To ensure the best possible grooming for your horse’s winter coat, you should obtain a winter curry comb, a shedding blade, and a brush with coarse bristles. These tools are designed to penetrate through the length of a thick coat in order to remove dander, dirt, and dried sweat from the horse’s coat. It is often better to avoid using these tools on the bony areas of your horse to prevent discomfort and irritation. In addition, a shedding blade helps to expedite the removal of the horse’s winter coat in the spring.
Groom Before and After Exercise
It is important to put a little extra effort into keeping your horse groomed throughout the winter. This means that you will need to ensure that your horse is groomed both before and after exercise. In fact, cleaning prior to exercise often makes it much easier to clean them after they have exercised. It will likely take more time to clean, but it is vital to do so thoroughly to prevent the issues that come with the accumulation of grime on your horse’s coat. You will need to pay special attention to the areas under the jaw, behind their elbows, around their ears, along their girth, and the saddle area.
Take your Time
A thicker coat ultimately means that it will be far more difficult to keep clean. This means that it will take more time to ensure that your horse has been cleaned thoroughly. It is incredibly important to invest the time necessary to remove sweat, dirt, and grime from your horse’s coat, both before and after they have been exercised.
Use Clean Equipment
It can certainly be more difficult to keep the horse’s coat clean throughout the winter. This means that it is exceptionally important to keep their tack clean. Not only will this make it easier to clean their coat, but it will also prevent irritation from occurring, which helps minimize issues and ensure that they remain comfortable.
Your Winter Coat Goals
Ultimately, you will want to focus on keeping your horse’s winter coat as clean as possible, while simultaneously trying to use as little water as possible to prevent them from getting too cold. It is possible to use sponges to sponge off relatively sweaty areas, but you will need to ensure that you dry them very thoroughly afterwards. A longer coat will lead to more water retention, which can cause them to get cold.
Clipping can be used to help thin out the winter coat, especially when the weather starts to get warmer. However, it is important to be careful whenever you decide to clip your horse’s coat. Weather can certainly fluctuate and get colder again, so it is important to not clip off too much of their winter coat before it sheds naturally.
Diet and Exercise
Ensuring that you feed them a nutritious diet can go a long way toward improving the quality of their coat. Exercising can similarly help to improve circulation and ensure that nutrients are distributed throughout their body. Implementing healthy fats can help to ensure that the new coat remains healthy and beautiful. It is similarly important to ensure that your horse obtains appropriate levels of hydration and is drinking plenty of water. This can be more difficult in the winter months, as a horse will be less likely to drink cold water in the cold winter temperatures. A waterer, such as Bar-Bar-A, can help to keep water at a comfortable temperature and ensure that it is appealing for a horse to drink throughout the year.
Weight loss is often a problem with horses in the winter. It is important to take all of the steps to keep your horse healthy in the colder winter temperatures. From ensuring that they are on a healthy diet to taking care of their winter coat, there are many things that you can do to keep your horse comfortable in the winter. Hydration is one of the most important factors when it comes to a horse’s health. When a horse becomes dehydrated, they can quickly develop life-threatening medical issues. An automatic waterer can go a long way toward ensuring that your horse has access to adequate water levels that meet their needs year round. To learn more about installing one of our unique automatic waterers to your home, contact us today!