BY TPH INTERN IZZY FEINSTEIN
When equestrians begin to replace sunshirts with sweaters, or, if they are lucky enough, escape to the Florida sun, it is safe to say winter has arrived. Spooky horses and freezing toes are everyday occurrences during the winter months. Long gone are the days of baths, replaced by a quick grooming that is followed by questioning how many blankets to put on your horse. So how do you make the most of your winter rides and grooming sessions? Here are some of my favorite products I keep in my tack locker to make surviving the winter a little bit easier.
When snow is crashing off of the roof of an indoor arena, earballs are essential. Even the calmest of horses often show off their wild side during the winter, especially when they are clipped. Using a pair of earballs allows your horse to hear normal tones, but reduces distracting or loud noises that may upset them. My favorite brand is POMMS Equine Ear Plugs, available in horse and pony sizes for maximum comfort. Another popular brand is Silly Sounds Ear Plugs, which are also available in horse and pony sizes. They are made of faux-shearling and are available in a variety of bright, fun colors to ensure your earplugs will never be lost again.
On days when your horse or pony is sweaty but it is too cold to give them a bath, waterless shampoo will save the day. Unlike alcohol that can also be used to dry sweat spots but is harsh on a horse’s skin, waterless shampoo is gentle on skin, conditions the skin and coat, and smells great. Ecolicious Equestrian Squeaky Green & Clean Waterless Deep Cleaning Shampoo is made with a variety of natural ingredients and oils, making it perfect for horses with sensitive skin. Ponytail Products’ Trot The Spot-Stain Remover cleans and shines the toughest of spots, is made with natural extracts of alfalfa, chamomile, and rosemary, is paraben free, and does not leave any sticky residue. For grey horses, Cowboy Magic Green Spot Remover removes manure, urine, and sweat stains from your horse’s coat, making it the much-needed solution to grey horse owners everywhere.
If you decide not to clip your horse during the winter, a curry comb is an ideal grooming tool to keep in your locker or trunk. Using a curry comb loosens dirt that may be stuck in your horse’s coat, massages your horse’s skin, and distributes natural oils evenly. The Oster Coarse Curry Comb has long, coarse fingers that make it easy to remove dirt. If your barn is lucky enough to have a vacuum such as the Electro-Groom, take advantage of it. Equine vacuums remove dirt and parasites quickly and effectively, which is especially useful in the winter months.
Keep your horse warm on those bitter cold winter rides in a quarter sheet. Quarter sheets made with fleece do not only keep your horse warm, but wick away moisture as well. The Rambo Newmarket Fleece Quarter Sheet comes in various sizes to fit the smallest pony and largest horse. Available in three colors, this Rambo sheet is sure to be a hit with your horse. At a lower price point, the Smartpak Fleece Quarter Sheet is offered in pony, horse, and large horse sizes in classic navy, black, or burgundy. This anti-pill quarter sheet is a necessity for winter riding.
With these tips and tricks, braving the winter cold will hopefully be more manageable this year for you and your horse.