Washing Horses in Winter

I am so done with winter. Surely we have to be setting some kind of record for having the most weather warnings in a row? Beast of the east? Beast from the East 2.0? And now we've been told we will be having a white Easter. I want to cry.

I just want to ride my horses and to see Spring grass coming through. I feel like I'm in an eternity of neverending muck and rain. I swear I will never complain about horse flies or the ground being too hard again. Promise! 

The only thing keeping me going is that the horses are all moulting and shedding their winter coat. I know this is dictated by daylight, but I'm hopeful that, just maybe, they're anticipating some warm weather heading our way. I like to throw them out for a roll without a rug so they can have a good scratch, groom each other and get out all the dead hair. This, ultimiately, means they come in caked in muck.

My yard doesn't have a hot horse shower or a solarium (although, I would LOVE one!) so I have to make do with a kettle and a hose. Removing stains isn't easy at the best of times but trying to do it without giving them a full bath is nearly impossible! I've learned a few tricks to get them clean and presentable for times when it's just too chilly for a full bath.

  • Using a cloth, rub white vinegar directly on to a stain and then wipe it off. This is great for horses whose tails are also looking a bit yellow. If the stain is really stubborn you may have to repeat the process a few times but it does work!
  • Bigger clumps of mud can be picked off sensitive areas such as the eyes, ears, and nose. I find baby wipes brilliant for removing stains, I rub them directly on to the stain and, as the hair gets oily, the dirt slides right off. 
  • Human dry shampoo is a much-underrated product and great for larger stains. I spray it directly on the hair and brush in the opposite direction of the hair. It really helps lift and lighten any dirt.
  • One of my favourite methods to remove stains, especially before a show, is to give them a deep cleanse. I fill up a bucket is warm water and add a splash of baby oil; the oil helps smoothen the hair but doesn't make it greasy. I throw in a few cloths (old facecloths are the perfect size) and then wring them out so they are damp but not soaking wet. Rub the stains in a circular motion and, hey presto, the stain should disappear!

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

Liath sporting a looking that I like to call "poobald"

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