Sometimes horse owners can be in a bit of a rush to hop on the saddle, even in the heart of winter in cold weather. Maybe you have some important training coming up, or they really need the exercise, regardless of the rainy weather.
But you might have some health concerns about hopping on a wet horse or even a damp horse.
Of course, the health and safety of both you and your horse are the priority, so let’s get into the do’s and don’ts on you saddling a wet horse.
In Short, Yes
But that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily recommended. Although, there are times when you just can’t help it. Maybe you’ve got an important race coming up or your horse needs another gallop around to get in shape. When dealing with wet horses, it’s important to think about how saddling a wet horse can impact its well-being.
The wetness on a horse’s skin and the wet hair might make putting on tack more difficult, too. The straps and buckles may not move as easily. But more on this later.
Before we get into the do’s and don’ts, let’s get into everything you need to do before taking your horse out in cold weather.
Before Hopping On The Saddle: Everything You Need To Know About Your Horse
Before you saddle a wet horse, it helps to understand your horse’s body. It’s the foundation you need to make sure it’s comfortable, happy, and healthy. A damp horse might have sensitive skin, so you need to be careful. Before saddling your champion, you’ll need to properly towel-dry your horse’s body to remove any extra moisture – we’ll break down this process later.
Take a moment to check your horse’s body temperature. A wet horse can lose body heat pretty quickly, and you don’t want it to freeze because of the cold water! Keep your horse warm, especially in the cold winter months.
Your horse sweats, too – just like us – and they can sweat even when they’re wet. This can cause some major skin irritation, so keep a close eye on them for any signs of irritation. Apply a soothing moisturiser to help look after their skin health; it’ll definitely make their life easier!
It’s also important to check your horse’s overall body condition. If your horse is a little below a healthy weight, or you can definitely see its ribs, you probably need to adjust the saddle fit. It could be hurting them without you realising it. Another look at their diet and training regime might be in order too.
Also, keep an eye out for any signs of pain in certain areas of the horse’s body. Look for lumps, bumps, or maybe even swelling. They might have an injury you don’t know about, so saddle and ride carefully out there.
It is also vital to look at your horse’s back and spine for anything that might be out of place, or a sign of pain. A strong and straight back is always better because it provides a solid base for the saddle.
Think Twice Before Saddling a Wet Horse
Although you can definitely saddle a wet horse, there are a few things you should keep in mind. When your horse is wet, it can be a little more difficult to secure the saddle properly. The wetness can make the saddle and girth area slightly slippery, making it hard for you to get a solid hold on.
As a rider, this might make an unstable seat. You could get hurt, fall off, or even put your horse in harm’s way if the saddle slides. This can cause back pain and make it tough to keep your balance. A damp saddle pad plus a damp horse’s back can cause friction, increasing the risk of saddle sores and skin irritation.
Ultimately, the best way to keep yourself and your horse safe is to properly dry them before and after a ride.
Drying Your Horse Before Saddling
Drying a Wet Horse
Proper drying is important when dealing with a wet horse to avoid any saddle sores. Remove as much of the water from your horse’s skin as you can with a sweat scraper, working from the neck down to the horse’s legs.
After that, dry your wet horse with a towel using gentle pressure to absorb any extra moisture. You can use a stiff brush to remove any leftover wetness from the horse’s coat.
Before putting on a saddle or tack for another ride, make sure the horse’s body temperature is steady. Using a moisture-wicking saddle pad throughout the ride is another way to keep the horse’s back dry.
Drying a Warm Horse
After a ride, dry warm horses by getting rid of sweat and moisture from your horse’s coat and skin. Use a stiff brush to help clean off sweat and dirt, and pay close attention to the girth area. You can use a sweat scraper to get rid of any extra moisture before towel drying. Give your buddy some time to cool down and dry naturally before putting on tack for another run.
Saddling Your Wet Horse Safely
Whether your horse is wet or dry, you need to make sure they are properly saddled for a comfortable and safe riding experience. As mentioned before, make sure your wet horse is dry before saddling. Let your horse stand in a well-ventilated area, or use a horse blanket to help in the drying process.
If you need to hop on a damp horse quickly, make sure the saddle and girth are also dry so you don’t end up sliding off or hurting your equine pal.
When adjusting the saddle, take extra care to make sure it rests securely on the horse’s back. Make sure it’s not too tight or too loose, as a wet horse’s skin can also get chafed. Choose a pad that drains away moisture and keeps the saddle from becoming soaked in rainy or muddy weather.
Always keep an eye on your horse’s comfort and attitude while saddling. If you see them wince or shudder, they could be in pain, and you need to modify the saddle accordingly.
Putting Tack On A Wet Horse
To make sure your horse is healthy, you need to be very intentional about putting tack on them, especially if they’re wet. When tack is put on a wet horse, it can cause a number of problems.
The straps and buckles may not glide as easily, making it hard to fasten the tack properly. This will make your horse uncomfortable and can also lead to chafing. And no one wants that!
Give your horse sufficient time to dry off before even thinking about putting tack on.
How Tack Affects Your Horse’s Skin
Horses are delicate but powerful creatures. You have to be gentle with them; they’re a part of the family after all! That’s why you should know that putting tack on a horse can have an impact on its skin. Tack pressure and friction can cause skin irritation, especially if the horse’s skin is wet. Inspect the horse’s skin for signs of pain or friction, and make any required tack changes to keep the proper fit.
Check out your horse’s skin health before and after riding. It’s the best way to spot problems in advance and make sure you get them sorted in the early stages, so your horse doesn’t end up with serious skin conditions.
Why is it important to dry the horse before saddling?
When you dry your horse before saddling it, it keeps them comfortable and prevents any potential skin irritations.
Is it safe to ride a wet horse after saddling?
It is safe to ride wet horses after saddling, but it’s best to make sure your horse is dry before going for a gallop. This will prevent any pain for you and your horse, and stop you from slipping off.
How long should I wait before riding a wet horse?
Give your horse some time to dry naturally, or use a blanket to speed up the process. Wet horses can take over an hour to dry naturally.
What should I do if it’s raining and I need to saddle my horse?
Find a sheltered area or use a horse blanket to dry wet horses before saddling. Otherwise, wait until it stops raining!