Make a Dipping Sponge

Whether you're a trail rider, competitive trail rider, or endurance rider, your horse will appreciate a cooling off when you get to the creek on a hot day's ride. And maybe you will too. You can cool off even without dismounting. One of the best ways to get the water from the creek up to you is not by letting your horse splash hard enough that you, the trees, and all your friends get rained upon, but with a nice, absorbent sponge. You can dip it into the water, pull it up sopping, and squeeze that cool refreshing water all over your horse's neck and shoulders, and yours. Or sling some at your friends if they have a sense of humor.

Sponge Construction

And how do you get that sponge down into the flowing water without falling in or losing it to the current? Yes, you attach it to a rope. You can attach it to your favorite thickness of cord with a swivel snap at the opposite end to attach it to your saddle.

Attaching the sponge to the saddle.

The best way to attach the cord to the sponge is to put the sponge into a net mesh bag like you would find oranges or grapefruit in. These mesh bags are quite strong and serve the purpose well. Carefully open the bag of fruit without ripping the mesh and insert the size sponge you prefer. Twist the excess end of the netting to make it like a rope, match its end up with the end of the cord, insert them through an old halter or dog collar ring and tie a knot to fasten them together. The ring is so you can hook the sponge end to the saddle, into the snap at the top end of the cord. (Make sure the snap opening is large enough to fit both the saddle attachment and the ring.)

Natural sponge is best. For one, it absorbs water quite readily, unlike synthetic sponges that tend to float on the surface for a time. It also holds more water and is often softer and more pliable than the synthetic types. Natural sponge is also environmentally friendly. The only disadvantage is the price, but it is worth it.

The mesh bag serves to contain and protect the delicate natural sponge. The net also makes the sponge a scrubbing sponge if you want to use it for that. It also allows the sponge to dry out. So go make your dipping sponge, and have a great trail ride. And don't forget to bring some oranges along!

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