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Discussion on To groom or not to groom

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Username: maggienm

Post Number: 854
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Friday, Dec 5, 2008 - 7:40 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I recently came across the idea that during the winter it is not a good idea to give a horse a thorough grooming.
The reasoning is that the scurf and oil work to waterproof and insulate against the cold.
So when we groom we are disturbing and reducing this layer of insulation.
I always groom before and after a ride and even if I am not riding I pull the blankets at least once a week and groom and check for rub marks etc.
I suppose if the horse is blanketed well enough removing this layer wouldn't matter.
Any thoughts on this?
Myth or Fact?
I have been thinking a myth or fact thread would be great. I have a few others I would like to clear up.
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Username: kathrynr

Post Number: 27
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Friday, Dec 5, 2008 - 8:35 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Lori,
I recently read one of the articles here on HA about this, it is under Winter Care for Horses. It recommends routine grooming of the coat to remove the dirt etc that would keep the coat from lifting up and insulating.
I do as you do, groom when riding and once a week give them a complete go over just to make sure I catch any brewing troubles at their start, and because we both love it!
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Diane E.
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3262
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Friday, Dec 5, 2008 - 4:09 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I got to admit I don't groom much in the winter unless we have a thaw and they roll in the mud. The horses seem to keep themselves pretty clean by rolling in the snow....they leave quite a dirt mark in the snow after a good roll!

When getting close to spring their coats look quite dusty and scurfy underneath, but once they shed their coats look great. Too cold to groom imho

Blankets vs naked would be a different situation I would think.
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Username: pattyb

Post Number: 42
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Friday, Dec 5, 2008 - 8:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

From someone who grooms daily any time other than winter, it does somewhat depend on whether or not you blanket. When I use blankets, I only groom every few days but do pick feet and give them a good going over daily look for loose shoes, cuts, bumps, etc.

The idea of stripping oils needed for weather protection is a real one. When I had one horse that hated blankets, I briefly went over him with a brush on a daily basis but was careful not to overdue it....taking care not to strip the oils or pull to much coat out. Feet did still get done and main/tail were checked often for debris and tangles. When he was ready to shed in the Spring...his stall looked like it was covered with shag carpet. I miss that fella, dunn buckskin, lost him to cancer at age 35 about 6 years ago.

One final thought.......I've read that a good grooming is worth a ration of oats.
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Fran C
Username: canter

Post Number: 1766
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Saturday, Dec 6, 2008 - 8:41 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hmmm...I'm not sure why a good grooming would strip oil from the coat. Certainly bathing would, but I would think a good curry and brushing would bring oil up from the skin and evenly distribute it through the coat for better winter protection. Also, a good brushing can fluff up flattened hair. I groom as much in the winter as I do in the summer (the only difference in my routine is no winter baths) and my mare has not had issues with keeping warm....even now as we're getting hit with very early bitter cold and snow.
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