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[RC] Sponging? Yes or NO? - Paul

When I first started endurance riding, I was told about sponging. Later I read some stuff and talked to some other riders about it and heard that maybe it doesn't help as much as we think.
 
Here is what I was told: In dry conditions, sponging helps cool the horse through the evaporative effect..As the water evaporates, it takes the heat with it.  However in humid conditions, it can actually insulate the horse with a layer of hot water that closes the sweat pores to keep the hot outside water from coming in? Without removing the hot water, sponging actually hurts rather than helps the horse cool off. If you add enough cool water, like with a hose, or buckets,  that washes away the hot water and provides a cooling effect. So under humid conditions, if you just drop a sponge into a bucket, wipe it on the horse and ride off, you may not be helping your cause.
 
This is what some experienced riders told me. So I started sponging less and only when I could get off and squeegee the hot water off my horse. We have never noticed the lack of sponging hurting him. In fact he seemed to sweat the same but it dried off quicker.
 
Have there been any studies that examined internal body temps with our style of sponging horses under humid conditions?  Any other input?
 
Plus...It really bugs me when riders come up to the water tanks and ignore the signs about which tanks are for sponging and which are for drinking, and then drop their nasty sponge in my horses face, and wring it out, in the tank, before they wet their horse down.. Let's not do that in 2009..ok?
 
Paul N. Sidio
KMA Chazz Piper
Spokane MO