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Bathing A Horse

Horse Care - Bathing a Horse
A clean and comfortable horse is a happy horse.

If you own or ride a horse, you probably give him baths. But you shouldn't bathe him too often because water and shampoo depletes a horse's coat of the natural oils that make his coat shiny. A horse that is given baths frequently may have a dull coat. Bathe your horse only when you have to, for instance when you are going to a show, or when he's really dirty and hasn't been bathed for a while.

There are many different horse shampoos to buy at the tack shop. Some shampoos are developed to brighten certain coat colors like bay or palomino. And there are special shampoos that keep gray and white horses gleaming. You can also buy coat conditioners at tack shops.

Try to bathe your horse on a warm day so he doesn't get a chill when he's drying. If you have to wash him on a cold day, do it inside the barn and use warm water. Grab some clean towels and dry him off as best you can before putting him back in his stall or turning him out.

  • Tools
  • Bucket
  • Hose and water
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Big, soft sponge
  • Sweat scraper
  • Towels-if it's cold out

    1. Groom your horse before giving him a bath. Brushing loosens dirt and brings it to the coat surface, making it easier to wash away. If your horse is shedding, try to get as much hair off him as possible.

    2. Get your horse used to the water gradually by hosing his legs and hooves first. Start from the hoof and work your way up. Then hose down the front of his chest and around to his shoulders. Next, move on to his back and stomach.

    Never spray a horse in the face — horses hate that! How would you like water sprayed on your face?

    3. Next, shampoo and lather your horse one section at a time. Start with the top of the neck and work your way back. You can apply shampoo directly to your horse or put it on the sponge.

    4. It might help to stand on something when you are washing your horse's head and mane. Be careful you don't get shampoo in his eyes.

    5. Wash all of your horse's tail. Remember to use the sponge underneath his tail and around his dock area. If his tail is white or gray, leave the shampoo on it for a few minutes before rinsing it clean. This will help to whiten and brighten the tail.

    4. Rinse the soapy area clean with the hose. Your horse's coat should feel squeaky-clean. If it feels slippery, you need to rinse a little longer.

    5. If you use conditioner, now's the time to grab it. The easiest way to use it is to fill a bucket with warm water, then add a few squirts of conditioner. Mix it all up, then pour the solution all over your horse. Leave the solution on him for about three or four minutes, then rinse it off with water.

    6. The bath is done, time to dry off your horse. Use a sweat scraper to remove water from your horse's coat. Start with his neck and work your way back to his hindquarters. Use a towel to dry his head and legs.

    Cold Weather Baths
    If you have to give your horse a bath in chilly weather, rub him all over with clean straw to dry him off. If he's still damp, cover him with an anti-sweat sheet (a mesh sheet with holes in it) and a lightweight stable rug. The anti-sweat sheet allows air to circulate under the stable rug so your horse's coat will dry more quickly.

    7. Use your fingers to comb the damp mane onto the right side of your horse's neck. Don't use a combor brush on wet hair because they can cause the frizzies.

    8. If you want to keep your horse clean, don't turn him out while he's damp because the first thing he'll do is roll! Let him graze on a lead rope or put him in a nice, clean stall until he's completely dry.



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