© 2004-2012 Horse Tack Review
Take the Zap out of Winter Static Electricity
Cowboy Magic - Horse Grooming
With the dry, winter weather comes an invisible evil known as static electricity. How many times have you intended to give your horse an affectionate pat, and, Zap! You shock him. Your horse reels back and glares at you with that “How could you be so mean?” look on his face. You feel terrible and try to make amends, but he’ll have nothing to do with you. The last thing in the world you would ever do is intentionally shock him. In his mind, however, it was a cheap shot.
The presence of static electricity makes us afraid to touch our horses. We can almost see the electricity on them. Their fuzzy winter coats stand up on end, their manes stick to their necks and their tails stick out like bristle brushes. When the horse swishes his tail, the hair clings to his back legs and you can hear the crackle-snap of the electricity.
The only thing worse that shocking your horse when you touch him is shocking the heck out of him when you take his blanket off. In the dark, you can actually see the sparks flying. To make matters worse, this damages both the trust your horse has for you and his willingness to accept being blanketed.
The reason we experience more problems with static electricity in the wintertime than we do during the summer months is because the air is typically much dryer in winter. During the summer, there is more humidity in the air, and that moisture helps electrons “move” more quickly and thus do not build up a charge.
What, exactly, is static electricity? It is the accumulation of an electrical charge on the surface of something, It’s called static” because there is no current flowing, such as is the case with AC or DC electricity. Static electricity is usually caused when materials are rubbed together. The result is that objects may be attracted to each other or may even cause a spark to jump from one object to the other. We see it all the time when we take our laundry out of the dryer, which is why we usually use products to reduce static cling in our clothes. At one time or another, we’ve all rubbed a balloon on our hair and then stuck it to a wall. When we rub the balloon across our hair, it builds up extra electrons, which gives it a charge. Hold it up to something neutral (like a wall), and the charges move and the balloon “sticks.” Anytime there is a build-up of positive or negative charges on an object, it is either going to repel, which is why our hair sticks out, or stick. And when that charge “jumps,” we get a shock.
Because static electricity increases in dryer climates, the best way to reduce static electricity on your horse (and, as a result, improve his attitude toward you) is to increase the moisture content in his coat. Because you obviously can’t keep him wet all the time, especially during cold winter weather, the best remedy is to use products that increase the moisture level in his coat and hair. Moisturizing shampoos, conditioners and sprays work well, provided you use products that not only restore moisture to the hair, but also keep it there. It won’t do much good to wash and moisturize your horse’s coat and hair if the moisturizers evaporate as the hair dries.
The first step in eliminating static electricity is to thoroughly clean your horse. Use COWBOY MAGIC® ROSEWATER SHAMPOO to gently dissolve away any dirt in your horse’s coat, mane and tail. The shampoo is concentrated, so it only takes a small amount to thoroughly clean the hair. Panthenol and silk proteins in the shampoo penetrate the hair and skin, moisturizing it and preventing dryness. Because the conditioners are actually absorbed into the skin and hair, they don’t evaporate as the hair dries.
The next step is to thoroughly condition the hair. COWBOY MAGIC® DEMINERALIZER™ CONDITIONER works double-duty to demineralize the hair and neutralize static electricity by locking in moisture. It can be used straight out of the bottle or diluted at a ratio of 20 parts water to one part conditioner for an all-over body rinse. DEMINERALIZER™ CONDITIONER also contains silk proteins and panthenol, which penetrate the hair and skin, adding even more moisture.
As an added measure to keep static electricity at bay in between bathing, use COWBOY MAGIC® DETANGLER™ & SHINE. Place a small amount on the palms of your hands and work it into the mane and tail with light strokes. The DETANGLER™ & SHINE will feel silky on your hands. That’s because the alcohol-free formula contains silk proteins and panthenol. It works well on dry hair, so you don’t need to bathe your horse each time you want to add a static electricity barrier. To eliminate static electricity on your horse’s coat, spray him lightly with COWBOY MAGIC® BODYSHINE™ spray, which contains aloe vera and chamomile extract to condition the hair and skin, repel dust and reduce static electricity. You can use it on the mane and tell, as well.
To really take the zap out of static electricity, try these additional, handy tips:
1. Spray the inside of his blanket with static guard before you blanket him.
2. Lightly spray your brushes with static guard before grooming your horse.
3. If your horse has a lot of static electricity built up in his coat, mane and tail (for example, if he is actually throwing sparks when he swishes his tail), wipe him down with a dryer sheet. The same ingredients in the dryer sheet that work to reduce static cling in your clothes will work on your horse. This will help to take some of the surface static electricity out of his coat.
Static electricity is something that can wreak havoc on our relationship with our horses. If you unintentionally zap your horse when you touch him, he’s going to be uneasy around you. Zap him a few more times and he’s going to become difficult to catch and more distrusting of you. A couple of good zaps from the horse blanket and you will start having problems blanketing and unblanketing him. We would never intentionally frighten our horses, but that’s exactly what a static electricity shock does. The best you can do for your horse is to do everything you can to eliminate it.
For more information about the complete line of COWBOY MAGIC® products, log onto http://www.cowboymagic.com, or call (800) 755-6844 to find a retailer near you that carries COWBOY MAGIC® quality concentrated grooming products.