When Is It Too Cold to Bathe Your Horse?

Once a horse is completely wet they can get cold very quickly. The average critical temperature for a horse with a short coat is 40°F. Below that, they feel cold. Once a horse’s coat becomes completely wet to the skin, even a long fuzzy winter coat loses its ability to keep the horse warm.

When a horse is wet, his critical temperature will increase by anywhere from 10°F to 15°F; therefore, it would be unwise to bathe a horse if the temperatures are below 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have to bathe your horse in cooler weather when there is a chance they may get cold, choose an area where they are protected from the wind—a warm sunny spot is best, and use warm water.

After their bath, monitor your horse frequently to be sure they are drying off and not shivering. You can utilize a cooler or a heat lamp to keep them warm until they are dry. Brisk rubbing with a towel will also speed up the drying process.

Horses with heavy winter coats will take much longer to dry then clipped horses. Be sure the horse is completely dry before leaving them in a stall or turning them out. Once the really cold weather sets in, wait until spring to start bathing again.

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