WILD Blog Oct 2015 -Different courses for different horses
What a rug can do for your horse
There are 3 main reasons you might rug your horse and depending on the main reason this will help you decide on which style or method of rugging to use. Generally the lighter the rug the more comfortable your horse will be, but there are many variables that should be considered when rugging your horse.
Many horses are affected by biting insect especially in the warmer months. If you have a sensitive horse you would opt for a rug that protects the majority of your horse’s body. Insects can still bite through fabric so a standard rug may not solve your problem. Insect control rugs are the better option for the best protection for your horse. If your horse is already itchy, you need to soothe the itch before putting any rug on him to stop him destroying the rug. If you do have an itchy horse you should lean towards stronger fabrics which will stand up to your horse’s constant scratching. Depending on your climate, Ripstop fabrics tend to be one of the strongest fabrics apart from canvas but are generally hotter than fabric such as mesh. If you live in hot conditions strong mesh fabrics can be ideal.
Wet Weather Protection:
Rugging your horse for wet weather condition can be the hardest of the lot. Waterproof and cool are not usually heard in the same sentence when talking about horse rugs. In warm conditions you should only use an unlined rainsheet and only leave the cover on your horse whilst it is raining and remove as soon as the weather clears otherwise you risk overheating your horse.Keep in mind that regardless of the rugs breathability rating - in wet conditions, it will be reduced to almost zero as water covers the rug's fabric pores. This then causes condensation to accumulate underneath the rug. If there are long periods of rain and humidity you may need to use a light cotton under rug or similar with good moisture wicking properties to draw the moisture away from your horse’s skin.
Having just a rain sheet on your horse is much like wearing a rain coat against your bare skin. With body heat and perspiration, you will soon become very clammy under the raincoat and any water that enters via the neck line will condense under the coat and make things very uncomfortable, however if you wear a shirt you can help alleviate the problem.
Protection from sun bleaching, dirt and keeping the coat looking nice:
A rug offers all types of protection for your horse. Horses with darker coats may experience bleaching if not rugged which can be an issue if you are trying to keep your horse looking his best for events. The more coverage the rug offers, the better protected your horse will be. Most light cotton or mesh rugs will offer enough protection for your horse. Rugs can also offer some protection from dirt and help keep their hair neat and in some cases shiny. The heavier the rug the more protection it will offer against dirt whereas if you are looking to keep your horse’s coat neat and tidy, most rug fabric can do this to a high standard.
Rugs are used to benefit your horse in some way. Knowing what rug will best suit your horse and his climate can contribute to you having a happy healthy horse.
WILD Blog Sept 2015 - Keeping your horse clean the night before a show
This is always a tricky task! You want your horse looking his best for the next day but he seems to want to get as dirty as possible. Most of us like to do a deep cleaning shampoo and conditioner the day before to wow the judges but sometimes it seems impossible to keep them clean overnight.
Here are some helpful hints to help you keep your horse in pristine condition for the next day. First, during the bath itself. Use a curry comb to get out as much dirt as possible before you shampoo. Use a mild shampoo designed for horses. This will allow you to get a superior clean, but won’t strip the skin and hair of essential oils that create that ‘glow’ and shine. Less is more. If you do choose to condition your whole horse, his mane, and/or his tail, be sure to rinse all conditioner out. This is going to take some time, start with only a small amount so it will be easier to rinse out.
Rinsing your horse twice is a good idea. If you see bubbles during the sweat scraping process, it is ideal to rinse again. Be aware that many detangling products can act like a dirt magnet on the mane and tail, so think about your horses living situation before you use such products. Your option would be to use the detangling product the morning of the event.
I like to do a towel dry/buff/massage after the sweat scraper, followed by a shine creating spray. This starts the oils coming back and sort of creates a shiny shield that can help repel stains, great for white legs. It is also a good idea to dry your horse completely before letting him loose. It’s a good idea to lock your horse in a stall over night to keep him away from muddy creeks or dirty paddocks. Since most horses enjoy rolling, you can let him do so in a super clean stall with a light cotton rug just incase you missed any spots when cleaning the stall. If it’s not to warn a light cotton rug can do wonders keeping your horse clean. Many newer sheet styles have belly panels, just in case your guy likes to get his belly all dirty.
Keeping your horses area clean is your best bet to keeping him clean. It is a good idea to check your horse during the night and remove and poo, urine, dirt ect from the stall to remove any possible change he can come into contact with anything that will make him dirty.
Wrapping your horse’s legs will keep him cleaner overnight. If your horse has never had his legs rapped before, the night before an event is not the time to try it out. If you do want to wrap your horse’s legs try it out a few times before hand. Rap his legs for a short period of time and gradually increase the amount of time the more you do it so your horse will become used to the raps.
In the morning, start with a deep curry comb. Any unfortunate stains should slide right off if you curry or wipe with warm water. You can use a spot treatment if needed, but if you are grooming your horse from the inside out with a well balanced diet, a damp washrag should do it. If your horse has clipped legs, as many show horses do, this will make things even easier. (I suggest clipping legs at least a week before a show so that the colour change has some time to grow out.)