How should I bathe my horses? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 03-15-2012, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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How should I bathe my horses?

This Saturday there are three horses going out on a trail ride to get professional photos done, obviously we want them nice and clean for the photos

Since I am fairly new to the horse world and very new to owning a horse, I am very lacking in the bathing department. Here's where you come in :)

It's spring right now and not cold at all, it is very beautiful and in the positives :)

Do you have any tips for bathing my horse? We have an indoor washing station with cross ties and a that's taken care of. I don't have any horse shampoo at the moment, but I have a lot of human shampoo, a little dog shampoo and a big bottle of horse conditioner, is this safe to use??

Also, can I use a metal scraper instead of rubber?

And last but not least, any in home products I could add to enhance the whitness of a coat? THANKS! :)
He may knock a barrel, but he will never break my heart
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post #2 of 13 Old 03-15-2012, 09:37 PM
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Ok i think dog shampoo is safe, you gotta check though. Dont take my word for it. And then well depending on the temp you could do it out side but be safe keep them in it dry if its little to cold out. And id use a plastic wiper, or as i do my hand! LOL

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post #3 of 13 Old 03-16-2012, 12:52 AM
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So...I hear people say all the time to not use human stuff on the horses... but I ALWAYS do. The trick is that you have to make sure that you get it all rinsed out of thier coat. If you leave any soap at all, you can get an skin rash.

Now, conditioner is a different story. I tend to used whatever I have, but you can leave some of it in the coat. It works great as a fly repellant and makes the next several times you work the tangles out of the mane and tail much easier. I will usually condition the whole horse, rinse it all out, then use a really really deleated bit of conditioner (about an ounce of conditioner in two quarts of water) and then splash the horse with it. But, you have to let it dry on the horse.

Ok, fly repellent asside, lets talk bathing.

When you get the horse in the wash area, be aware of how you put the water on him/her. Most horses like the water warm to very warm. Start with a calm stream of water on the hoof itself and see how the horse takes it. If they freak out, back up and teach them to take water.

If they don't freak out, work up thier leg to the body and you can turn the water to spray if you want. I usually start at the high neck and rince down that whole side of the horse. Soap up that side of the horse, rinse, condition, then rinse twice more. To the other side the same way.

Wash the mane and tail - making sure to leave conditioner in the tail for several minutes.

Rinse the whole horse (less the head) twice more. Make sure to include the sheath or udders in your cleaning.

Some horses will tolorate water from a hose on thier face, most won't without specific training. For those horses, I use a sponge to clean thier face. Make sure to rinse all possible soapy water from the horse's neck.

At this point, if you want a clean horse, use a scraper - metal or plastic - to get the excess water off and tie them until they are completely dry.

Now, here is the sad part. My horse is a pinto who is 70% white. His skin is pink and when it is clean, he sunburns at the drop of a hat. Twice a year I do the above scrub down - all the way down to pink skin. I let him dry with his conditioner rinse. Then, just before I put him back in his paddock, I give him a complete rinse and put him out dripping wet... At that point, my white horse rolls in the dust and becomes a brown horse... but with a new coat of dust over his skin, he doesn't sunburn.
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post #4 of 13 Old 03-16-2012, 01:29 AM
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If at all possible, use warm water! You don't like cold showers, do you? Neither do your horses! xD

The issue with human/dog shampoos is that we all have different pH to our skin. If at all possible, go out and buy some Mane & Tail shampoo, etc. For whiteness, QuicSilver is great (but kind of expensive). You can also use bluing, but the fact that bluing is a laundry chemical has always concerned me. When you're using the whitening shampoos, take it out (it's just a liquid) in your hands and rub & scrub it on (after you've already cleaned it with normal shampoo) and then let it sit for a little bit. Not too long, or you will turn your horse purple. Or blue. Depending. xD

Don't use conditioner on the entire body – just on the mane & tail. When washing the horse's face, don't just take the hose and stand back and spray it in their face. You can take the hose and cup your hand and carefully let it run down their face. Or you could do what I do with Mudpie and get a sponge and some soapy water and sponge down the face first with soapy water and then with clean water.

If it's chilly, and you don't have a cooler, towel dry! xD

Wow my grammar really sucked. Sorry. Tired and in pain!

Have fun! (:

The hills were bathed in moonlight, the shadows not so stark;
Silver light reflected off his brown hide as he held me in the dark
I love you, Mudpie!
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post #5 of 13 Old 03-16-2012, 05:10 AM
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Metal scrapers are fine. Just dont go down on the legs with them. Instead run your hand down each leg and squeeze. You will notice that the water comes out easy as. Just repeat a few times on each leg and you are good to go.
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post #6 of 13 Old 03-16-2012, 06:57 AM
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Do not use dog shampoo But human shampoo is fine just make sure you rinse really well. I have also used ajax or ivory dish liquid (very little) I then use conditioner as it kills any suds left behind But do rinse really well. Like said above do not use metal scraper on legs I towel well making sure to get the fetlock area well. Only place I ever use show sheene or a detangler is in the mane and tail ( which by the way is a good bathing product for both horses and humans ) even once horse is dry a good rubbing over brings natural oils back after a bath. Enjoy your photo shoot
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post #7 of 13 Old 03-16-2012, 08:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all your help guys! My mom is going to pick up some baby shampoo and some new buckets and sponges on her way into town :)

I'll be sure to post some pictures as I'm positive it will be hilarious, + 21 today!!
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post #8 of 13 Old 03-16-2012, 08:58 AM
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I don't use shampoo because it removes the protective scurf. To shine them up I use a shop vac. It doesn't strip the natural oils.
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post #9 of 13 Old 03-16-2012, 11:55 AM
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Naw, shampoo is good for getting of the dirty grunge and grease.

The hills were bathed in moonlight, the shadows not so stark;
Silver light reflected off his brown hide as he held me in the dark
I love you, Mudpie!
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post #10 of 13 Old 03-16-2012, 12:01 PM
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One more thing, I don't think has been mentioned. Don't put the shampoo directly on the horse! You'll be rinsing suds out forever. I always put my shampoo in a bucket, spray in some water to get a nice froth, and then use a body brush to scrub them with. Again rinse really well when you're done. I use human shampoo too and haven't had any trouble yet. I'll mix some iodine in there too to keep the rain rot at bay.
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