It’s that time of year again! Your horse’s hair is getting wooly and thick.

In many areas, the horses are already starting to get fuzzy! With winter quickly approaching, their thick coat is gearing up for the cold temperatures. Each season presents its own grooming challenges. Specifically, your horse’s winter coat is likely to trap dirt, sweat and stains more easily. Fear not! These tips will help you clean it with ease. 

Try These Helpful Grooming Tips

Grooming Tools

  • A rubber or plastic curry is your best friend. This grooming tool have little teeth that dig up dirt and dust. You’ll want to massage your horse in a circular motion to really be effective. Some riders like rubber grooming mitts that slide onto their hand.
  • After you’ve brought the dirt to the surface, use a stiff to medium dandy brush to wipe it away with short, flicking motions of your hand.
  • A softer body brush will collect the finer dirt and dust on the top of your horse’s coat. They can also be used in more sensitive places like on the legs.
  • A damp sponge can be utilized on your horse’s face for cleaning their eyes and nose areas. A second sponge is helpful for the udder and dock. 


  • Nowadays, you can find disposable grooming wipes at any tack store. You can also make your own! They’re handy for yellow stains and dusty coats.
  • A silicone spray can be misted over your horse’s body, mane and tail for a shiny look.
  • For those really dirty horses, a waterless shampoo can be a great solution. Generally, they are intended for smaller sections and not the entire body.
  • You may want to consider a supplement for your horse’s coat. It’ll keep their hair shiny and healthy, starting from the inside.


  • Some like to hot towel their horse by using a steamy washcloth to scrub away stains and spots. You may need a cooler, depending on how damp your horse gets.
  • Other barn owners are lucky enough to have an indoor wash rack with warm water and drying lights. These can be helpful for those that show year-round.
  • Nothing replaces a little bit of elbow grease! A heavy-duty grooming session will leave your horse squeaky clean.
  • If you groom your horse more frequently, then you can avoid a build-up of caked mud and stains.

  • Invest in a horse vacuum, which will literally suck away dirt and dust.
  • It’s important you get in a habit of running your fingers through your horse’s fur. You’ll need to check for rain rot, hives, injuries and any other problems. It also allows you to monitor their weight. Your horse’s ribs shouldn’t be poking out.
  • You can also cover your horse with a sheet or blanket. The mud won’t be able to reach their body. 
  • Some riders will choose to avoid a fuzzy, winter coat by clipping their horse. That is a good solution for active riders that plan to blanket.

Most horse owners will leave their horse unclipped and allow their fuzzy coat to grow in. Those longer hairs will act as a natural barrier to wind, rain, snow and other elements. It may take some extra time to groom your horse, but it’s well worth the effort to have them warm and protected this winter.


Emily Fought discovered her passion for horses early on in life. When she isn’t writing about them, you can find her in the barn riding. Although Emily’s background is in dressage, she enjoys cross-training and is an avid trail rider. She resides in Northwestern Pennsylvania with her husband and small dog. Together, they own and operate Humblewood Farm.

Emily Fought
October 22, 2020