Washing in a Winter Wonderland

Obviously there are about 20 million reasons as to why Summer is better than Winter ... but I'm actually quite a fan of Winter. Why? Well, there seems to be far more shows and leagues on, you have hacking through crispy leaves to look forward too, Winter beach rides at the crack of dawn are just fab, the hunting season has finally begun as well as those crazyily fun hunter trials. It's just .... great! 

The only real down side is the weather ...  but then again that's said to be Ireland's biggest flaw in general! One thing that does irritate me in particular is the mud .. and the fact horse's seem to love wallowing in it - Grrr! I'm on a yard where were not lucky enough to have a hot water supply on hand (bar boiling the kettle!) or a solarium so I have to make do with a hose. Removing stains is not easy in the first place but trying to do it without giving them a full bath is near impossible! Here's a few tips I use when they need a wash but it's just too chilly for a cold hosing 

  • Rub white vinegar directly on to the stains with a cloth and then wipe it off. This is great for horses who's tails have that yellow hue from pee or poo. If the stain is really stubborn you may have to repeat the process a few times 

  • Bigger clumps of mud can be picked off  sensitive areas such as the eyes, ears, nose and dock. I then use a baby wipe to remove stains by rubbing it gently and getting the hair slippy so dirt slides right out :)

  • I sometimes use a big of dry shampoo for the larger stains (why do horses enjoy lying in their own poo??). Spray on to the hair and rub in the opposite direction of the hair ... again this may need to be repeated especially in the case of grey horses.

  • One of my favourite methods to remove stains before a show is to give them a deep cleanse using steam. I boil the kettle (I have a cheap thing from Aldi) and add it to a bucket of cold water ... you have to have it at that not too hot - not too cold temperature for it to work properly. A squirt of baby oil helps add a shine without causing the hair to be too greasy. I sometimes still use a dry shampoo before this so the lighter stains are gone and I just have the stubborn ones left to deal with. I throw a few cloths into the bucket and wring them out so they are damp but not soaking wet. Rub the stains in a circular motion and the stain should lift ... it can take a while! A facecloth is the ideal size for using on the horses face :) Afterwards I throw a fleece on them so they dry out completely before I put back on their Winter turnout rugs.

I find these methods have worked great for me but do you have any other tips for keeping the little mud monsters clean?

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