Almost all adverse winter equine skin conditions result from a dirty coat. A dirty hair coat gives bacteria and fungi a perfect environment to get a foothold during the winter months. When your pony is in his winter coat, problems such as weight loss, skin abrasions, and skin infections are much more difficult to spot than when he is all slicked out in the summer months.
The best way to ensure a healthy coat and skin for your horse during the winter is to make sure that you take the time to give him a vigorous grooming on a daily basis. If you happen to find cuts or scrapes during your grooming session be sure to apply your ointment of choice and keep an eye on the affected area to ensure proper healing is taking place. In addition, if you have access to a draft free area you should bathe your pony on a weekly basis. Make sure to use warm water, and use a heat lamp to help speed up the drying process if you have one. If not you can keep your horse warm by putting a cooler (preferably wool) on him until he is dry. Grooming benefits not only your horse’s physical health, but his emotional needs as well. In the winter there are simply going to be times when it will not be possible to saddle up in cold weather regions. During times such as these there is nothing quite like an extended grooming session to bring you and your equine partner closer. I feel that maybe the greatest benefit of grooming is the quality time you get to spend with your horse. In the winter, regardless of whether or not your horse is blanketed, daily grooming needs to be the rule and not the exception in your barn. Almost all horses enjoy being groomed once they become used to the process. Remember that winter grooming is essential if you are going to eliminate the dirt, shed hair, and dead skin your horse is going to accumulate with his longer, thicker coat. If you have any winter grooming tips please answer this post to share your ideas with your fellow horse owners.