Improve your grooming with a bucket of water.

Improve your grooming with a bucket of water.

Hot clothing for your grooming
Hot clothing for your grooming

You’ve brushed and polished your horse and still can’t get that shine that you want on his coat.  One tip that really works to pack more punch into your grooming session is Hot Clothing.  This is really wonderful for clipped horses but can be of some help with longer coats to.

Hot Clothing lifts grease ands scurf from the coat.  It helps to remove sweat marks, opens the pores, leaves the horse warm and comfortable after exercise and gets a great shine.  Most horses seem to see it as a massage and drift off to sleep.  It helps reduce the amount of heavy brushing needed to keep the hard working horse clean.

Get a bucket of very hot water.  Not boiling but think really hot bath water.  Pop two clothes in the bucket to heat up – tea towels or hand towels work well.  Wring one of the clothes out well and start rubbing the horse over with it.  Rub back and forth against the coat, and up and down the grain, ending with the last stroke along the lie of the hair.  Move over the whole of the horse’s body, alternating the two clothes so one is in the bucket warming up as the other one is working over the horse.  Have a jug of hot water on standby so that you can top up the bucket as it cools.  Work from behind the horse’s ears, down the neck, across the body, under the belly, across the quarters and down the legs.  Most horses also love to have their face gently wiped.  Untie the end of the headcollar lead rope so that if the horse pulls back there is slack in it and the horse won’t panic.

In very cold weather, hot cloth the horse in quarters so that he isn’t left standing uncovered and cold.  Fold his rug in half so it is covering his quarters.  Hot cloth the left shoulder, then the right.  Fold the rug over the shoulders and hot cloth either side of the quarters.  Make sure most of the water is wrung out of the towel so that the horse doesn’t get overly wet.

You can use plain water but this doesn’t get as good as a result as adding something to it.  Opinions vary as to what is best to add.  Whatever you use, test it out on a small patch of your horse to check for any adverse reaction.  The most common addition is Dettol or Savlon.  This helps with any unseen nicks or scrapes, can ease irritations and most people are happy with the smell.  Other ideas are vinegar; Mark Todd’s Relax and Rewind Competition Wash, soda crystals, surgical spirit, baby oil, lavender wash, a spot of no rinse shampoo, and Hibiscrub.  They all have their advantages and it really depends on what you and your horse prefer.

Once you have finished using the hot water on the body, use a water brush to “lay” the mane.  This is simply wetting the top line of mane hair down the whole length of the neck to encourage it to lie flat.  Dampen the top of the tail and if it is pulled, put a tail bandage on for a couple of hours.  Finally scrub each hoof, both underneath and around the wall.  Keep your thumb in the bulb of the heel to protect this sensitive area from over keen brushing and becoming to water-logged.