Sweaty horses and cold weather!

I ride usually 3+ days a week and was wondering about the “quickest” way to dry off a sweaty horse? I don’t blanket either, our barn is more into the “natural” thing so we let them grow winter coats lol. We do not clip at my barn, and my lease horse tends to be a pretty heavy sweater! it gets pretty cold where I’m at in the winter, so I usually throw on my wool cooler after our ride. And it takes FOREVER for him to dry off!! I usually take it off periodicly also and rub down with some towels but it doesn’t seem to help. Usually takes an hour+ for him to be dry, is that just how it is or is there more I can do?

Best way to dry off pony in winter/summer?

Please help!

Sorry but there isn’t much else you can do short of bringing a hair dryer after you ride. That’s why most horses in work get blanketed/clipped once the temperatures start dropping. Natural doesn’t always mean better. I for one would not want to exercise in my winter coat and then spend an hour in that wet winter coat trying to dry off and regulate my temperature.

Anyway, given that it’s a lease horse and it’s not something your barn does then I’d say you’re just going to have to tough it out.

Blow dryer is about all you got. I suppose you could try a very light bib clip, like the first image here. That should allow for more cooling and the horse should not need blanketing. He’ll still get sweaty and wet, but hopefully less so.

But this is WHY people clip their horses in the winter. There is no magical way to take a fully coated horse, work it until it’s sweaty and not take forever to cool and dry him off.

I dislike dealing with this enough–I always clip if I work a horse through the winter–that I would either break the lease or stop working the horse hard enough to sweat. Life is too short to take hours drying off a wet horse in the winter when a clip job and a blanket would make the job much more reasonable.

Yep. You either need to work him less, or clip and blanket.

Thanks for all the replies! I’m interested to try the blow dryer idea, I’ll talk to his owner and ask about blanketing:) if I get my own horse in def going to at least blanket!!

Until you can get a blow dryer, putting straw or an Irish knit sheet under the cooler will help the horse dry a bit quicker; it creates air pockets that warm up from the horse’s body heat and helps the sweat evaporate.

If you leave his full winter coat on and blanket, he still needs to be dry underneath, so that doesn’t help you at all in saving time after work. As other suggested, work him less so he doesn’t sweat, or talk them into putting some kind of clip on to prevent so much sweating/help him cool off faster (and blanket when not being ridden). Personally, I like clipping as I feel it’s a heck of a lot healthier for the horse if it doesn’t get the winter off. Constantly sweating under that heavy winter coat can’t be fun, and the moisture against the skin is what gets them chilled (hence why he’d still have to be thoroughly dried even with a blanket).


You can also try putting a cooler on the horse, and walking the horse for 10 minutes, then switching to dry cooler, and walking for another 10 minutes, 4 or 5 times, before bringing the horse in and blowdrying. But you will still need multiple coolers and a couple of extra hours to get this all done.

Are you walking him for cool down for a good amount of time after you ride? Wet hair is one thing, but if he is still sweaty/warm after your ride, then he might still be producing sweat while you are trying to dry him off.

I used to live in a very cold place, and rode in a community heated indoor.
Not sure what it’s called but I did a mini clip that REALLY helped. I just clipped the front of the neck, follow the lines of the esophagus, widen between the legs and stop just back of the girth. This exposes the major blood vessels to allow rapid cooling, but doesn’t expose much muscle mass. After riding I would put on a cotton Irish cooler (like candle wick mesh) under a fleece cooler in a closed trailer ride home. By time we got home, the top cooler would be really wet and they were almost dry. Very hairy ponies.
My horses stayed out with a run-in shed and rarely needed blanketing until their metabolic condition deteriorated.
Except for the one horse who never grew a real winter coat. She LOVED her blanket and I just held it up and she came and stuck her head through the neck hole. There are always exceptions to every rule. Don’t make your horse suffer just because they are outliers to someone’s rule of thumb.

I have tried blow drying in the past, it takes a long time.

If I were to do this with a blow dryer, I would definitely get a force dryer, not a regular hair dryer…like most dog groomers have: http://www.amazon.com/Force-Commander-2-Speed-Dryer-Motor/dp/B00063KHPE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414344875&sr=8-1&keywords=force+dryer

Your horse might need to get used to it as they are pretty powerful. Maybe the smallest clip + a force dryer might be a good combination.

[QUOTE=S1969;7825236]If I were to do this with a blow dryer, I would definitely get a force dryer, not a regular hair dryer…like most dog groomers have: http://www.amazon.com/Force-Commander-2-Speed-Dryer-Motor/dp/B00063KHPE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414344875&sr=8-1&keywords=force+dryer

Your horse might need to get used to it as they are pretty powerful. Maybe the smallest clip + a force dryer might be a good combination.[/QUOTE]

Do these actually heat the air, though? I have an ancient one–wow, over 20 years old now–and while it is AWESOME at blowing the water off of a thickly coated dog, it doesn’t heat. I don’t know how well it would work to dry a wet horse on an icy evening…

I use multiple coolers, 2 for each horse. If the horse can roll in shavings or a dry spot that can help too.

That’s a good point; I have never tried using it in below freezing temps. I bet they do make them that heat; let me search. Mine does not heat, which is usually a good thing, but I agree that when it’s 20F that might be too cold.

ETA: Yes, they do make them with heat:

They never dry if you keep putting a damp cooler back on them. The horse could actually be too warm under a cooler with a damp, full coat too. Have you tried walking him nekkid after he gets damp dry? You could be holding all that moisture in, exposing it to the air will dry it better then wrapping it all up.

If you are walking him out or standing him in a sheltered area out of the wind like a barn aisle or indoor, once he’s damp dry he’s fine without anything and will dry faster. It was hard for me to learn this when I moved to cold country from the southwest but it’s the truth. We overthink it too much and make it worse.

I did about 15 minutes hand walking with an Irish under a cooler then pulled both and walked another 10 or so with nothing. The newer smooth synthetic lined blankets and/or liners actually are fine put on a damp, NOT WET, otherwise fully cooled out horse- the body heat dries them right out and the blankets breathe and don’t soak it up. Bone dry within an hour.

The hair dryer thing doesn’t work. Too much horse, not enough dryer. Most dryers won’t run continuously long enough without shorting out and taking at least a fuse with them…don’t ask:no:.

Years ago when I lived in a cold climate, rode hard 5x a week and didn’t clip, I would make sure my horse was cooled down at the end of the ride, then throw on a fleece cooler and hand walk for 20 minutes, then turn him loose in the indoor to roll. The soft dirt would cake to his coat but in not much time do a great job of drying him. If he was really soaked, I’d throw on another dry cooler and keep walking him, but usually the dirt would absorb the moisture and I could then curry him clean and dry.

If the horse is just a little damp under the saddle pad when you untack, take a rough terry-cloth towel or a cactus cloth and rub the horse well, going against the grain, then brush with a boar bristle brush with the grain. Then if the horse is still too warm and damp, get a cooler/Irish knit sheet and walk the horse out for ten minutes. Repeat with the cloth and brush.

If the horse is really wet and hot, then you’ll have to spend time walking the horse out with a cooler, changing the cooler, walking out again etc.

Make sure you offer the horse clean water to drink as well.

You could also try stuffing hay/straw under the blanket and park in a stall for an hour; I never tried it but I’ve heard it helps.

Forget blowdrying with a human blowdrier; you need a horse vacuum, then flip from suction to blow and you can blowdry a horse in 5 minutes. Or invest in a livestock blower.