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cooling horses after exercise

(20 Posts)
Eve Sat 06-Apr-13 17:17:46

Just watched the end of the national and they were throwing buckets of water over the horses.

I would never do this with 1 of my riding ponies, especially if they are hot...always taught to allow them to cool slowly & to soak them with cold water is not a good idea.

Obviously the trainers/grooms know how to look after the racehorses.

Have I been taught wrong?

Booboostoo Sat 06-Apr-13 18:32:24

I've always cooled them down directly with water and seen countless people do similar at events. Thinking back of Olympics in hot climates (e.g. Sydney and Athens) there were special water showers to get the horses cooling down as quickly as possible.

Pixel Sat 06-Apr-13 20:04:01

I saw that too Eve and thought it seemed like a new thing. I'm sure they used to have the groom rush forward and throw a rug over their quarters at the end of a race. We were always taught to cool down slowly, hence the invention of 'sweat rugs'.
I guess the thinking must have changed somewhere along the line and no one told us!

TweenageAngst Sat 06-Apr-13 20:06:29

In endurance we spend half our lives chucking water over horses. In the summer we use ice water. Its never harmed any of my horses.

Pixel Sat 06-Apr-13 20:07:22

Meant to add Booboo, yes to showers etc in hot climates, we've always given ours a cool spray with the hose when it's boiling but Aintree in April? (especially this April!), I'm willing to bet the wind was leaning towards 'chilly'.

Eve Sat 06-Apr-13 21:15:09

Good point on endurance & cooling, from google

It was colic / heart attack that I thought they were at risk from if cooled with too cold water too quickly!

I've learnt something new today!

Twattybollocks Sat 06-Apr-13 22:00:00

I've always done this when crewing endurance and also on my own horse. Never seen any ill effects.

willyoulistentome Sat 06-Apr-13 22:03:31

They cool them down quickly but keep them moving dont they?. Don't human athletes use ice baths nowadays too?

Loshad Sat 06-Apr-13 22:05:16

Yes i always aggressively cool after cross country, lots and lots of cold water, scrape off, repeat. It is not new per se, but dates from a heap of research done after the kentucky world championships in 1978 when a lot of horses were very ill indeed. So if your instructor predated that then it would explain why you were surprised.

Pixel Sun 07-Apr-13 17:35:40

Kentucky was really hot and humid though wasn't it? Something our horses were totally unused to and they suffered for it.

I'm sure all those of you who do endurance etc know much more than me about it and I'm not disputing what you say in the slightest, it just seems odd to me to walk about soaking wet in cold air considering that they give marathon runners those 'silverfoil' blankets at the end of the race to stop them getting cold too quickly.

I reckon they just wanted the horse to look nice and shiny for the photos winkgrin.

Butkin Sun 07-Apr-13 18:07:39

In endurance we always aggressively cool at each vet stop - making sure to sweat scrape away the water (it is the scraping off of the now warm water this conducts the heat away from them).

In racing around the world we always have hoses next to the track to wash horses down so they can then walk back to the barns and dry as they go. However this is usually in hotter climates than we have here.

I think we've been slow to do this and I think it is a good thing. Courses like Newmarket now have special wash down bays and York are going to incorporate them in their new pre-parade/saddling area design.

LittleWhile Thu 18-Apr-13 18:00:05

Im a bit old fashioned! I would be nervous about cold water after exercise and my horse wouldnt like it at all anyway, and would get herself stressed if I tried to hose her. Id be worried about the shock causing colic? I use a sweat rug after a good rub down with straw and sometimes pack straw under the rug to wick away the sweat. Looks a bit funny but Ive been doing it for thirty years and it works!

Loshad Thu 18-Apr-13 21:57:07

That just doesn't cool hot horses down quickly enough LittleWhile, and can lead to heat exhaustion and extended recovery times. All sorts of things were ok 30 years ago but have been superseded, think horrible jute rugs, weekly bran mashes, worming twice a year, without worm counts.
You don't need to hose your mare, in fact i don't have a hose on my trailer, just sponge on copious amounts of cold water, scrape off and repeat.

SucksToBeMe Thu 18-Apr-13 22:05:05

In Argentina on the polo fields we have huge huge fans, taller than me. We hose them down and walk them in front of them til they are dry and their breathing is regular.

Loshad Thu 18-Apr-13 22:32:29

sounds fab suckstobeme, they are making an appearnace at the bigger events over, but i'll never get back up to 3* or higher hmm

SucksToBeMe Thu 18-Apr-13 23:30:10

They are very effective, but polo can be very cruel and its the least the poor buggers deserve!

carabos Fri 19-Apr-13 08:13:36

We have done a lot of eventing, at home and abroad. The recommendations re cooling were changed as a result of a big piece of research before the Atlanta games.

The recommendation is to cool with water and dont scrape - use more cool water to rinse off the previous soak. As I recall, the reason for this is that the water is conducting the heat away and if you scrape, you aren't allowing it to do this.

So, lots of cool rinses, then walk (or roll) to dry off. Bear in mind that unless you are racing, eventing or endurance riding, you probably won't have elevated your horse's temp to danger levels, so don't worry.

dappleton Fri 19-Apr-13 11:12:46

As many others have already said, in hotter climates this is totally the norm. The dangers of overheating a horse are severe and can hae long-lasting consequences. Where I am my horses are cold hosed after almost every ride (excluding light work on the odd cooler day). I suppose after the G. National the horses are so hot that the cooling effect of the April wind just wasn't going to work quickly enough.

Eve Fri 19-Apr-13 23:10:05

Just proves, never stop asking questions & learning.

TweenageAngst Sat 20-Apr-13 15:39:51

What carabos said. We no longer scrape our horses in the vet gates, just water, water and more water. In Australia we always cold hosed or took them for a swim in the dam after work, that was 30 years ago.
I agree about the life long learning eve and being able to change your practice according to the current evidence.

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