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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2008
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    Western NY
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    Default Spinoff... cooling down

    I'm curious to hear what you do to cool out your horse after a workout. I guess I know the basics--no "riding hard and putting away wet," lots of walking, etc.--but nobody ever really explained to me what the best methods were to cool out a hot horse, and I've sort of gleaned bits and pieces here and there.

    I always wonder, for example, when it would be best to hose my horse off (he hates baths; will stand for them but isn't happy, so I hate to "reward" him at the end of a workout with one) or when it's okay to just spray him with alcohol and liniment and give him a good rub-down...

    Just curious to hear everyone's thoughts and theories...



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2006
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    At the back of the line
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    Default

    I was told as a youngun never put em away if their blowing. So I always walk until they are brathing easy. Before I take off tack.

    I sponge if their sweaty (or hose if they are REALLY sweaty) and walk. They dry much better and can do trimming while they dry. Not all of our property is fenced yanno. If its winter they sometimes get hot but mostly its summertime.

    Then I curry real good and let em loose to roll.
    “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 6, 2005
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    Frozen tundra
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    Default

    I let my horse drink his fill of cool (not cold) water. If he's got foam-sweat, I'll give him a lukewarm bath with liniment, but if he's just damp-sweaty, he doesn't get a bath. I hand walk him even if he's not breathing hard, just so he can relax while he cools down. If it was a light workout and he's not hot, I'll take him out to graze for a bit or visit with the weanlings. Once his blood veins stop showing and his chest is the same temp as the rest of his body, he's cool enough to get put away.

    And if it's chilly out, no bath obviously, wrapped in a cooler and towel dried. Oh I hate those days.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 31, 2000
    Location
    El Paso, TX
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    12,274

    Default

    This is a good article-
    http://www.all-creatures.org/articles/hdc-heat.html

    And so is this-
    http://www.aerc.org/ENJune07Ed.asp

    Studies were done at the Olympics in Atlanta about cooling horses off, and rinsing with cold water, scraping with a sweat scraper, repeat until water scraped off is cool, walking horse and allowing them to dring water every few minutes, and access to a fan, all help.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 5, 2003
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    1,224

    Default

    Walk until the horse is not breathing. in the summer I hose them off and scrape-sometimes repeatedly and then let them dry in front of a fan. Mine all like to drink out of the hose while they are being hosed off.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2008
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    876

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodsperson View Post
    Walk until the horse is not breathing.
    “It's about the horse and that's it.” - GM

    !! is the new .



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2005
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    2,045

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jetsmom View Post
    rinsing with cold water, scraping with a sweat scraper, repeat until water scraped off is cool
    I put that part in bold to make sure it's emphasized! I've seen way too many people just hose their horse down and either not scrape them down or do it once before putting them away: all that does it "trap" the heat. The cold water "absorbs" some of the horse's heat and, unless you scrape it away, it just coats the horse in a wet, warm layer. Once you hose them off, scrape off the water (and the heat that it's conducted), and repeat until the water is cool!
    ***Honorary Member of the "What is BOSS?" Cult...er...CLIQUE***
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 2, 2004
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    Whidbey Is, Wash.
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    Default

    I walk around until she stops breathing hard, dismount and loosen the girth, walk to barn. Untack, hose, scrape, and generally, feed. She hasn't died yet. I know what you're all going to type about how it's dangerous, but by the time I get done with all this (plus I live where 65 is t-shirt and shorts weather), she's cool.
    Aisha, my heart from 03/06/1986 to 08/22/2008.

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2008
    Location
    Florida
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    Default

    Yes, it depends on your climate, too - I have to be very careful because it's hot AND humid here, so horses get overheated pretty easily, especially the ones who aren't yet conditioned.

    So I walk several laps around the property, until their breathing is slowed, then I have my handy assistant (my trainer ) hose the shoulders and between the back legs and scrape. Then I walk some more. I remove the saddle at this point and re-hose the whole body and rescrape, then generally let them graze and roll in the arena. By this time they are cool, and dirty, so we do one final hose and scrape, then they get put away to eat hay (no concentrates). There is a water tank in the arena, so they've usually had a drink at this point.

    The rolling turnout gives me time to get the next horse ready to ride, and gives them time to really de-stress and cool down and is an important part of my cool down procedure. I've never had one yet (particularly the stallions) refuse that part!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2008
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    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mcm7780 View Post
    I put that part in bold to make sure it's emphasized! I've seen way too many people just hose their horse down and either not scrape them down or do it once before putting them away: all that does it "trap" the heat. The cold water "absorbs" some of the horse's heat and, unless you scrape it away, it just coats the horse in a wet, warm layer. Once you hose them off, scrape off the water (and the heat that it's conducted), and repeat until the water is cool!
    Slightly OT for the thread, but this is true of any time when you're trying to reduce the heat in an area (cooling an area that's inflamed, for example, or a burn) - for people as well as horses and other animals. That's why it's much better to stick your hand under cool RUNNING water if you burn yourself in the kitchen instead of just dunking it in a cup of water or something. (If the injury is such that getting running water to it isn't realistically possible, then keep the water in the container moving around gently, and change it often for fresh cool water.)

    More on topic for the thread - where I used to ride, even once the lesson horses were cooled off (walking and sponging between the front legs and girth/saddle area mostly, with scraping) we made it a point of giving the whole area that had been covered by the saddle and pad and girth a good wipe down with the damp sponge, to clear out any sweat that might otherwise dry in the coat and cause irritation later on.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct. 28, 2007
    Location
    NY
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    4,054

    Default

    Hand walk until my legs are no longer bowed, my gait is normal and my breathing is down to normal levels. Seriously



  12. #12
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    Oct. 14, 2004
    Location
    Connecticut
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    I un-tack and rinse her from the hose. Unfortunately, we do not have hot water at my barn, so I start at the legs and work my way up to the chest and upward. As someone else pointed out, scaping until the water runs cool.



  13. #13
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    Mar. 9, 2006
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    I used to sponge down their backs and girth area with tepid water. I don't bother with that any more now that they are on pasture board. They don't really get much of a crud buildup, what with rolling in the dirt and standing in the rain. Pretty much all I do now is walk them for the last 20 minutes of the ride. Then I pull the tack off and shove them out into the pasture. The first thing they usually do is flop down for a lovely roll in the dirt. Then they get up, take a drink, and go over to the hay bin for a snack. This routine seems to have done them no harm.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul. 22, 2007
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    South of Georgia, North of Miami
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodsperson View Post
    Walk until the horse is not breathing. in the summer I hose them off and scrape-sometimes repeatedly and then let them dry in front of a fan. Mine all like to drink out of the hose while they are being hosed off.
    I'm sorry, that just struck me funny.

    I was taught to walk the first mile out and the last mile in, and that's pretty much what I do. I might cheat a little on the first mile out, but I always save time for a nice cool out walk. I find it relaxing and so does my horse, and if we've had any disagreements during the workout it gives us a chance to regroup. I also like them on the cool side before I hose them off.



  15. #15
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    Oct. 10, 2007
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    down south
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    Default

    Well I'm the devil I guess I walk mine down until he is not breathing hard and then we walk down to the barn, untack and get treats then hose down with cold water for about 5 min. I really soak him under his belly and between the back legs and soak him really well until he is cold to touch and then he goes in the stall with a fan for a few minutes to get some cold water and then he goes. I don't scrape them with a hose down. I let them drip dry and they go out and roll.
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2008
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    Western NY
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    Default

    Thanks for posting replies... sounds like I do along the lines of what most people do, so that makes me feel better. Also glad to know I'm not the only person who curries and turns out and watches him roll... I didn't know that was standard procedure, but he always looks more comfortable with a layer of dust on him after he's been sweaty and sponged off, so I let him. d;



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2007
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    Beside Myself ~ Western NY
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    6,365

    Default

    I almost never bring them in blowing. Mine gets sips of cool water as I'm untacking/putting things away. Then, any sweat is washed off with warm water, toweled until the tickles stop. Or, if there is no sweat, then just a little toweling. Then I have to make a decision based on the temperature, where is the best place to stand him. Does he need a cooler? Or a breeze? Sometimes we graze, but I don't handwalk unless they very heated up, and that just rarely happens. I tend to walk them before dismounting and bring them in partly cooled unless I am at a show.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2003
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    Cocoa, Fla
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    I walk at end if ride then finish with long and low stretchy trot - one 20 meter in each direction if quality of trot is there (horse carries itself and doesn't run).

    Back at the barn the rest of the cool down depends. During the summer I almost always hose then scrape off excess water and place horse in front of fan. Hosing means head (behind ears and entire head) and inside thighs as the cool/cold water must get to the veins to cool most effectively. I also put hose into horses mouth to rinse it out and/or allow her a few sips.

    If it's cool I strip tack and hand walk, running excess sweat off with towel and if very cold put a sheet on her. (This is Florida so she doesn't even own a blanket).

    At least one hour (usually 1.5 hours, sometime more if she needs it) before she's fed grain, with hay and water allowed immediately after she's done work. If she starts gulping water then you need to hand walk her and restrict access to water until she cools down more.

    I also like to turn her out after she's worked so she can stretch and her muscles don't get as sore.
    Sandy in Fla.



  19. #19
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    Oct. 2, 2007
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    Beyond the pale.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chall View Post
    Hand walk until my legs are no longer bowed, my gait is normal and my breathing is down to normal levels. Seriously
    Me too! As I am trying to get back to riding 3-4 horses a day after 4 months off for a bad knee, I hand walk the warm up and cool down to improve MY fitness. And on the hot days we've been having (temp was registering over 125 in the sun, but "only" 90 in the shade yesterday) I also hose the horse and myself off and scrape the horse down until the water is cool. They love it. I alos dry their fetlocks and lower legs off with a towel to prevent scratches.
    "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valentina_32926 View Post
    At least one hour (usually 1.5 hours, sometime more if she needs it) before she's fed grain, with hay and water allowed immediately after she's done work. If she starts gulping water then you need to hand walk her and restrict access to water until she cools down more.
    You don't need to restrict water intake. It's a myth that horses need to be cool before they can drink.



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