Bathing - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-14-2014, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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So i have a big show coming up soon and my trainer has suggested that i bathe my horse. Problem is that I've never actually properly bathed a horse before. Any rules or tips that i should follow??
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post #2 of 12 Old 03-14-2014, 06:33 PM
Green Broke
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Has your horse been bathed before? Most horses are terrible for bathing the first few times.

Start with hosing the legs first and slowly work up the horse. Most horses don't like having their head sprayed. Once wet, just bathe like a big dog. Rinse, scrub, rinse. Usually I do one side then the other. That way the soap doesn't dry on them.

When done, you don't have to towel dry them but you should at least squeegee or scrape the excess water off. Some will use a fleece cooler to help them dry off.
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post #3 of 12 Old 03-15-2014, 12:23 PM
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Its not so hard, like the above poster said, be careful if they've never been bathed before. Use a slip knot, or sometimes I'll just loop the rope around a tying post and hold the free end; if your horse responds badly you don't want them to panic or injure themselves.

I don't usually use horse soap, it doesn't seem like it makes a difference, but if you have a white horse the purple colored soap really helps get them sparkling. I swear by a jelly scrubber like this Jelly Scrubber, Horse Grooming Supplies , I use them all the time, they have fine nubs on one side and work great on legs without being too rough. So yeah, put on soap, scrub, rinse, and let them dry.

For the show, I usually wash the day before, then spot wash very early the morning of the show so they have time to dry before the classes. Its important to look clean and sharp, it conveys respect, makes you look experienced, and wont distract negatively from your riding. Check out the other people at the show to get ideas on how to make your horse look its best, and see what trends are popular in that type of showing.

Good luck, its not hard. Prepare to also get yourself pretty soggy in the process!
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post #4 of 12 Old 03-16-2014, 12:15 PM
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I think the other two basically covered everything, so I won't repeat what they said! I would suggest though that if your horse hasn't been bathed at all before, be cautious. If you see that he/she is scared try to calm them down by just getting them used to having their legs sprayed, then give them a sponge bath for the rest of their body, for your own safety! It might be something you have to get him/her used to on a separate occasion when you don't have the stress of a show the next day.

Other than that, one last tip is to pour some shampoo in a big bucket and fill with water to get lots of suds, especially if you're using shampoo specifically made for horses. If you put it directly on them it can be harder to rinse it out.

This is a good video that demonstrates it, but there are lots of ways to bathe a horse and lots of different tools you can use to get them clean!

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post #5 of 12 Old 03-17-2014, 08:58 AM
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Like usandpets said its kinda like bathing a big dog. If you're nervous I would have a friend who doesn't mind getting drenched hold your horse for you in case he hasn't been bathed before. Definitely don't tie him, I've seen horses pull back and slip in the wash rack and couldn't get themselves up because they were tied. If the horse doesn't mind getting sprayed with the hose then it should be no problem. If he acts nervous just take your time starting with the legs and slowly work up to the back. Most horses are fine with it after they realize you aren't hurting them and they calm down pretty fast.
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post #6 of 12 Old 03-17-2014, 09:30 AM
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Don't forget to let your horse dry thoroughly, and toss a sheet over them so they don't get dirty before the show :>

The sensitivity of the internet baffles me.
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post #7 of 12 Old 03-17-2014, 10:32 AM
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It's pretty simple in practice, assuming your horse stands nicely for it. Wet, soap, scrub, rinse, sweat scrape. Don't bathe too far in advance of the show or the horse will just get dirty again. Is there someone that can help you out the first time and teach you the technique?

My method: First I groom the horse pretty well, and brush out his mane and tail. I brush my guy's tail out very infrequently, so I make sure all knots are out before I start. I squirt some of the shampoo into a bucket and fill the bucket part way so it's filled with super sudsy water. Going section by section on the horse I grab some of the foam off the top of the water or pour some of the soapy water on the horse. Using a jelly type scrubber (a regular curry will work as well) I scrub the horse and work it all into his fur. Do one side this way, rinse. Do the other side and the mane, rinse. I take particular care on the legs because my guy has white socks, but I've never had the need to use special whitening shampoo on them. They get nice with just plain shampoo. Make sure the tail is completely brushed out, otherwise knots will be much harder to get out. Lather up the tail, rinse very well. It may take a few rinses to get all of the soap out if your fellow has a thick tail. Go back and rinse the entire horse again to make sure all of the soap is off, then use a sweat scraper on him. If I'm bathing him for a show or something then I'll make sure he's completely dry before turning out or putting him in the stall. If I'm just bathing to bathe then I don't bother waiting that long- I'm not one of those people that gets upset if my clean horse gets dirty. It's a horse. That's what they do
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post #8 of 12 Old 03-17-2014, 11:58 AM
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Don't use human shampoo or anything. The stuff for horses has been designed for horses and you don't want to get a bad reaction from the wrong thing. Some things will be fine others won't, and individual horses will have their own sensitivities. You can just get some of the cheap stuff if you don't care. Mane and Tail Shampoo is good, you'll actually see it at cvs and stuff you can use it for yourself too.

For the mane and tail I put shampoo directly in scrub with my hands and let sit for a bit, rinse and repeat if necessary.

For the face if I'm going all out I will VERY CAREFULLY wring out a sponge and do their face obviously not any internal areas or eyes. If you're very careful with this it's fine, and be just as careful rinsing. Usually when I'm completely done I will re rinse the entire horse just to make sure and I will hold the lead line at the very end, angle the hose upward using a really fine mist at their face. I try to let if fall the way rain would, and gentle. Never just spray them in the face. I only do this for a second or two but it depends on the horses reaction. Every now and then you'll find one who actually likes it lol.

Maybe get a second person to hold your horse until you're sure he's ok.
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post #9 of 12 Old 03-18-2014, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Yogiwick View Post
Don't use human shampoo or anything. The stuff for horses has been designed for horses and you don't want to get a bad reaction from the wrong thing. Some things will be fine others won't, and individual horses will have their own sensitivities. You can just get some of the cheap stuff if you don't care. Mane and Tail Shampoo is good, you'll actually see it at cvs and stuff you can use it for yourself too.

I pretty much only use human shampoo on horses and I ride around 5-10 different horses a week. In fact, a lot of people I know use human shampoo on their horses and I've never heard of or seen a single one get a reaction. I'm sure it could happen, I've just never seen it. If you're concerned do a little test spot and see if their skin reacts. I just can't bring myself to spend $10 a bottle when I can get some for just a few dollars that works just the same, or often better.
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post #10 of 12 Old 03-18-2014, 10:22 PM
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There's plenty of cheap horse shampoo. Human shampoo is much harsher. You are bathing their skin not their hair... if I were to use human shampoo I would do the mane and tail only. I guess you could try body wash on the body?

Idk, I know people do use it but I don't like it and wouldn't recommend.

IF you use it definitely test it (which technically you should do with everything, but who does!).
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