Monday, November 17, 2008

Fighting winter horse scurf

Every winter once Kaswyn has been blanketed and not bathed for a few weeks he develops what I call "Winter Horse Scurf". It's this grey powdery dandruffy stuff that clings to his coat and rubs off on my bridle, saddle, and boots. It's a little oily so it makes kind of a thick grey glue patch on my tack that has to be aggressively scrubbed off. It also gets all over the inside of his blankets. Even daily thorough currying and brushing can't completely rid his body of this persistent powder. It's really gross!

When we were boarding at another barn there was a vacuum system that I used to suck the scurf off of Kaswyn's coat. It didn't get him clean like a bath would, but it made it less gross when I'd brush him off. Last year, however, I discovered that Miracle Groom would take away most of the scurf and would leave him smooth and clean smelling.

So this year I'm determined not to let the scurf take over! I'm going to be using Miracle Groom at least once a week to keep Kaswyn's coat clean. So far, so good. I'll let you know if it really works for the long term

Albert is another project to try and keep clean. I wouldn't mind him rolling in the mud if I didn't plan on riding him, but when I pull him out of the pasture and he's breaded himself with the stinkiest pasture mud that he can find I get a little annoyed. I'm cutting it close with my schedule just to be able to ride him, so taking 20 minutes to get him clean makes it almost impossible to have enough time to ride.

Last week Albert was filthy. I had bathed him the week before when it was warm, and I asked Susan to find him waterproof sheet to put on him so that he could stay clean for as long as possible. She waited too long and the rolled in the mud like a little piggy. Since it was now too cold for a bath, I decided last Thursday that I would "hot towel" him. I had heard about it from my friend Linda, who used to work on the track. It involved getting a bucket of hot water and some clean towels, then soaking the towels in the hot water. Then I took the towels and scrubbed Albert from head to tail, switching out the towels as they became dirty. I started at his neck and worked my way towards his tail, covering up the damp parts with a cooler. I expected it to take a long time, but it only took me about 20 minutes or so. Granted, Albert is not a big animal, but still it all went rather smoothly. In the end he was damp and covered with a cooler, and much cleaner than he had been before we started.

I made Susan find a sheet to put on him once he was dry, and told her that if I was going to ride him that he would have to keep a blanket on. I can handle brushing his neck and legs off, but to knock mud off of his entire body every time I wanted to ride was not going to work. Sp far so good with that. I'll use Miracle Groom on him too if needed. I love clean horses!

Dr B comes to check Kaswyn's hocks tomorrow. When I lunged Kaswyn tonight I thought I saw some definite off strides on his left hind leg. We'll see what the doc has to say.

One more thing - does anyone else think that a barn smells different in the winter time? Today it had snowed, and when I went into Kaswyn's stall it smelled like Christmas time to me. Am I crazy?


Anonymous said...

It was 75 in California yesterday so it doesn't smell like Christmas - mostly like sweaty horses!

craig said...

Granted that I've not been in as many barns as you--but I've never thought any of them smelled like Christmas. In fact, if I came downstairs on Christmas and our livingroom smelled like a barn, I'd know something was *seriously* wrong.

Unknown said...

I definitely think that a horse barn smells different in the winter. Something about it makes me feel like a kid again - getting my once a week lesson that I spent the entire rest of the week thinking about.

But Nico definitely stinks at the moment. It almost smells like some sort of horsie body odor. I might have to try the hot towel trick when we have a warmer day.

So the barn smells great in the winter - the pony, not so much.

Katee said...

HA! The horse had "breaded himself"! HAHA!! That's a really good way to describe it. I don't blanket my horse and that bites me in the butt every once in a while when he decides to bread himself.

Yes, I do think barns smell different in the winter. Our boarding barn smells way worse! Horses are inside longer, barn doors and windows are closed up where for that stink to go. I don't notice it so much when I'm there, but when I leave the stink stays with me and people tend to run away from me.

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