Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Keeping a Clean Horse From Rolling

You've scrubbed every inch of your grey horse, put him in his stall to dry and then left the barn to go check on the show ring. You come back, ready to tack up and get on, only to find that he is suddenly covered in shavings and stains! How can you prevent yourself from being stressed out and late for your class in the future?

Whatever you do, keep your horse's stall clean. You might be tempted not to clean it repeatedly throughout a show day, but a dirty stall will make for dirty legs!

Here is what I do for horses that are known to roll after their baths:
  1. Only bathe shortly before the class, allowing just enough time for the horse to dry. Bathing too early will force the horse to stand around for longer than is necessary, which isn't fair if he needs to be tied up.
  2. Tie the horse up in its stall immediately after the bath. I like to tie a loop of baling twine to the stall for safety purposes and then tie the lead rope securely to that. Horses can untie quick release knots, so I tend to let the baling twine and halter act as safety devices and use a more secure knot. Make sure that the lead rope is short enough that the horse will not be able to get caught up or lie down and roll, but long enough that he will be able to reach his water. You might also want to unclip the throatlatch of the halter for safety (clipping it back on itself will prevent it from swinging around).
  3. Give him a hay net. This will keep him happy and occupied. I like to tie everything so that the horse is between the hay net and his water buckets, allowing him to reach everything without leaving the lead rope too long. If you do provide a hay net, be aware that hay can die a wet, white face green! Be ready with alcohol and a towel before you tack up to solve that problem.
  4. Do not leave him untied at any point before his class! You might be tempted to let him loose once he has dried but you still risk him rolling. It is for this reason that I try to bathe as close to the time of the class as possible, since it is unfair to ask the horse to stand tied for half the day. 

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