Warmer weather means a few things. It can mean mud, dust, sweaty horses, and the need for your equine friend to have a bath. You might have your equine bath routine down pat, and you’re armed with products, but don’t forget these other considerations. Before you get up to your elbows in suds, prep yourself and your horse for a bath with these easy to forget tips.
Consider the Weather
Would you want to stand outside in freezing cold temperatures, and take a bath? Consider what the weather is like, before dragging out the hose. If it’s too cold for a bath, maybe just a good grooming session will suffice. Check the weather for the rest of the day as well and ensure there will be adequate time for him to dry off before returning to his digs.
Gather Your Supplies
You don’t want to be standing there with a dripping wet horse and realize that you forgot to buy shampoo! Before you begin bathing, gather your supplies, put them in a bucket or caddy, and ensure that you have everything you need before you get started. A few things you might need include:
- Hose with spray nozzle
- Wash Mitt/Sponges
- Sweat scraper to remove water
- Step Stool
Choose products that will not only efficiently clean your horse, but will also help repel dirt, add shine, neutralize odors, and keep him clean.
Diminish the Dirt
Before you begin spraying your horse down, brush him thoroughly to do away with as much dirt as possible. It might seem like cleaning before the housekeeper arrives, but you don’t want all that dirt turning to mud when you add water.
While you’re at it, brush out his mane and tail gently, this will make it easier to detangle after it’s been wetted.
If your horse is new to bathing, or a little bit unsure, start from the bottom and work up. Spray his legs first and allow him to get used to the water and temperature.
Should he start dancing around while tied, it might be worth having a friend hold him while you bathe him, to avoid any potential accidents.
If he is still anxious with the hose, try using a bucket and sponge to wet him down, then lather him up. It can be effective to wet your horse in segments, to break up the process. Start with his legs, then work up to his shoulder, moving over his barrel and back, and finally to the hindquarters.
Don’t Disregard the Mane and Tail
Don’t forget to wash out his mane and tail during your routine! Start by wetting the mane down completely. Work the shampoo in to the mane, making sure to scrub up near the roots where dirt and debris can build-up. Then, flip the mane over so you can wash the underside as well. Again, start at the roots and work down to the ends of the mane, scrubbing well to remove dirt.
When it comes to the tail, follow the same procedure. You can also dunk his tail into a bucket of water and swirl it around to remove buildup and debris. This can be a more effective way than a spray nozzle to totally soak the tail. Use a sponge to wash the dock of the tail, and work from the top down.
After washing the mane and tail, rinse thoroughly to remove all product. Leaving product residue behind can cause itchiness or irritation, so be thorough!
Get Rid of Excess Water
After you have effectively rinsed your horse and removed all the product, you will need to dry him off and remove excess water. Use a sweat scraper to squeegee water off and watch carefully for signs of suds or soap. If you see this, give him another rinse, to avoid irritation.
Using a sweat scraper will expedite the drying process, allowing you to return him to his pen quicker, and help you determine if your rinse job was effective.