See Change Now is always interested to hear how people wash off and shampoo horses. We recently asked a number of our valued brand ambassadors and friends what approach they used? Without doubt the understanding and knowledge abounds when it comes to ways to cool down horses after fast work, washing off and using horse shampoo to help the process. Hot weather adds another consideration and managing horses in extreme heat is become increasingly necessary here in the UK.
Management of the horses skin, maintaining the integrity and condition, was one of the driving forces behind the creation and development of our eco friendly shampoo bars for horses and shampoo for dogs , so it makes great sense to continue that conversation with the people at the sharp end of managing horses.
Kate Honey, International Event rider provided some really interesting advice that we felt was full of so many good tips we wanted to share it here. The last few days have certainly reminded us of the challenges of managing horses and ponies in hot weather so the following guidance seemed all the more relevant than ever.
Here is Kate’s response to the questions below, it’s of course key to know your own horse and certainly eventing at international level you will have worked a thing or two out about each other. But if you don’t know your horse well always be mindful of safety and maintaining good handling practice. Even in hot weather popping on a hard hat when handling new or young horses is never a bad idea. It is also sensible to not be working alone if you can, bathing, washing off horses that might be stressed safety is paramount.
How do you wash down your horses after fast strenuous work? Do you use anything other than water?
- We hose them all over, with as cold water as possible. Paying particular attention to the parts of the body that are pressure points for heat, the poll, between back legs, loins (some people avoid the loins, but we don’t). If the work has been really strenuous we might use something that helps aids the muscles. (At a 3 day) for example. Also, when washing after really fast, strenuous work, it’s best to keep the horse moving as you work, not allowing the horse to stand still as the gentle movement allows muscles to warm down steadily which in turn should aid recovery.
How do you manage legs after intense work?
- We ice legs, sometimes several times if necessary. Ice on and ice off for 20 minutes and walk them out.
- Once cooled we clay legs, we tend to bandage once they have been clayed. We use soaked paper over the clay, then a quilt, then a bandage.
It is important to note that we check all our horse’s legs on a very regular basis, so that after strenuous work, we can recognise immediately if there is a change.
- Another good trick, if you have the facilities nearby, is to go and stand in a local stream or river on the days following intense training.
So whilst there is always debate about how best to manage horses after fast work, professionals and amateurs alike will have different tried and tested methods. The key is reducing heart rate, cooling and reducing temperature both core and legs with focus on tendons of course. Using a soothing, refreshing wash with therapeutic properties also seems favoured and See Change Now solid shampoo bars offer an eco friendly, super sensitive choice that is as kind to the pocket as it is to the planet. With wonderful 100% essential oil blends of Lavender and Lime or our Original Bar in Lemongrass and Tea Tree the strong qualities of both oils provide the added deterrent against flies which only add to the stress levels at this time of year. Avoiding horse flies, who are seeking water, can be helped by using our naturally scented and refreshing shampoo, perfect for sensitive skin and reducing flies.
Not all of us have hoses and high pressure washes especially when away at competition. Buckets do the job and are often preferred, lots of them and cold water in hot weather.
- A final top tip, try-using old re -purposed household containers as jugs instead of sponges. Ice cream containers or supplement tubs work well too.
- If you like cloths and are used to using a sponge then save old towels, cut up squares, cotton socks, give tea towels and shirts a try instead. Towels soaked in cold water, help reduce core body temperature by evaporation, just keep refreshing the towels very few minutes.
- All repurposing spares the landfill sites and saves unnecessary purchase, cost and manufacture of sponges and specific cloths that only add to your costs and our national carbon footprint.
We will continue to experience extreme weather and will have to adapt to different ways of doing things, whether that’s in the routines and management of our animals. And I think we can all agree, it’s a first world privilege to discuss how best to keep our horses and dogs cool and comfortable in summer. It’s worth considering that information to access to clean water last published by WHO and UNICEF show that in 2017 785 million people did not have access to clean water and 884 million did not have access to water safe to drink. We are super lucky to discuss how we cool our horses, how we shampoo them and whether their skin is itchy or flaky.
Any small considerations and changes we can make add up and ensuring you are doing the best you can to reduce SUP, to lower your personal carbon foot print and that of your animals has to be the way forward. We hope See Change horse shampoo, dog shampoo provides the choice to be confident, you can manage your horses well being and reduce your single use plastic consumption.
Our thanks to all who answered our mini question and answer survey and particular thanks to Kate for sharing her tired and tested approach.