So following all the other blanketing questions out there I have one of my own. I know the difference between all the various coolers/anti-sweat sheets/chill chasers/etc. But what I am curious is which ones really work!
I have an older, 25, OTTB that I am starting to get back into shape, it was decided he needed something to do. I have never clipped him before and would prefer not to if I can do it. However he does have a bit of a wooly coat and he is one that you don't see the sweat marks until sometime in the cool down stage.
For my other horse I have the Rambo Cooler/Dress sheet and I love it and it really does work, but I don't have that kind of money at the moment for my older guy. I am trying to keep it inexpensive. I noticed that Rambo makes an $80 version...does this work just as well?
So if you guys could tell/show me what you use and how well it works that would be great! I guess worst case I could do a trace clip, but if and when I clip I'm an all or nothing person and I just don't think a 25 year old, though perfectly healthy and actually overweight, should be completely clipped (but I could be wrong)!
It depends... For a really sweaty horse on a cold day, nothing beats a real wool cooler. Wool wicks the moisture off the horse and it will collect on the other side of the cooler, leaving you with a wet cooler and a dry, warm, horse. If the horse is exceptionally wet, add an anti-sweat sheet (big holes, not Irish knit) under the wool cooler. But ... if it's not as cold, or the horse isn't as wet, you can just use an Irish knit by itself. When I have to stall a wet horse in cold weather I put on a big hole anti-sweat under a wool rug. A wool cooler (big square, no surcingles) can't be left on unattended. But then, I'm rather old fashioned. I don't think artificial fabrics wick well at all.
I just use (and like!) a $20-or-less fleece sheet. Cheap, dries the horse fast, I don't care if it accidentally gets ruined somehow, and they are inexpensive enough that I have several and use them for blanket liners too if needed. And I can throw them in the washer and dryer as often as needed. I do own a wool cooler but never use it, the fleece works fine for me.
I have square (hardly ever use), fitted with neck(use the most), and regular "sheet" no-neck type (use as liner, or for a cooler if its not too cold/horses neck isn't sweaty)
The heavy wool dress sheet is the only layer I need to dry out my sopping wet, winter coated appaloosa. Dries him off beautifully. The old Melton wool works just as well.
The percheron has a Schneider's fleece Big Guy dress sheet. He is heavier coated, so when he is sopping wet, he gets the fleece dress sheet and an acrylic/wool blend square cooler surcingled on over that. With that combination, he comes out about 90-95 percent dry. If I only use the Big Fella in a wet winter situation, he doesn't dry out well enough to turn back out in the 6 or so hours he wear it. The fleece coolers hang-dry faster than the wool one does.
All coolers go through the wash on the delicate cycle. The fleece ones I can toss in the dryer without shrinkage. The wool I have to hang to dry.
I just got the Centaur TurboDry cooler, and I really like it. It seemed like it dried him faster than the Dover/Rider's International one I used last year, doesn't attract sawdust, and was only $50. He was also quite toasty underneath it.
Wool? Really? I have some wool blankets that I'd happily put into use for cooling out my horses, but I have been operating under the assumption that my fancy fleeces were better. Thanks everyone for the advice! I'll get 'em out of the closet tonight...
Dover carries a wool "walking" cooler( big rectangle with tail loop and ties in front). It is around $80. I have two of them. I like it because it comes up the neck some. The first one I bought is at least 10 years old and other than the thread coming loose on the tail loop, it has held up well. I also like the Irish mesh antisweat sheets. If it is really cold out I will put this on under the cooler.
I clip, so I really don't use coolers much. When I do, I've found fleece works well, and just bought several fleece coolers from Horze at half off for $23...and they're great, I'm using one right now for a blanket liner, and he loves it If you must have wool, Horze also has a wool rug that looks very nice. $66 full price, $33 half off...I think the code AWESOME2 still works.
ETA: Just looked at the site, and sizes are limited on that wool rug. So if your horse is a 69", 72", or 81", you're set...otherwise it looks like that may not work for you
No way is fleece better! It's easier to care for and cheaper to manufacture. I don't like it for actually picking up water (think polar fleece bathrobe vs cotton terry) and I don't like it for leaving on for more than a minute after it does get wet b/c I worry about it being clammy. Wool just isn't like that.
Army blankets are the bomb!
Meanwhile, while you're scoping out thrifty finds, if your weather situation is ok for synthetics I think those "interesting" crocheted blankets are good. They can function like Irish knit. You could serious put them on a horse, wash and dry them everyday and they wouldn't wear out. I like to keep my nice stuff nice and use my usin' stuff hard.
You can still order a real newmarket wool cooler from the UK.