Meet winter grooming challenges

Use these techniques to keep your horse clean, comfortable and looking good even on the coldest days.
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• Clip only as much as you need. Body clipping makes grooming and cooling out much easier in the winter months, but with that convenience comes an extra burden of care. Clipped horses require blanketing to replace the natural protection against the cold you’ve removed. That’s why it makes sense to remove only as much hair as needed. For horses who are ridden to a sweat only once or twice a week, a trace clip that removes hair from the chest and underside of the neck might make sense. A horse with a trace clip can still be turned out without a blanket.

• Hot towel away stains. Bathing may be out of the question in winter months, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tackle tough stains on your horse. Try hot toweling for a deep clean: First, fill a bucket with water heated to the point you can just stand to dip your hand in it. Submerge a clean towel in the water, then wring it thoroughly. Rub the hot, damp towel on the target area of the horse, switching to a clean portion of towel as needed. This will remove dirt without soaking the horse. Re-dunk and wring the towel as it cools down. Working in sections, you can clean an entire horse this way. Just cover the horse with a cooler as you work.

• Let silicone spray do the hard work when grooming tails. To clean a grungy tail in winter, saturate the hairs with silicone spray and separate them by hand. Remember, you can use water to bathe the bottom of the tail, below the bone, even in cold weather. 

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