Shampooing a horse is a little like taking a car to the carwash. Some people like to do it regularly and others, rarely. Some say that a horse should be shampooed a couple of times a month, while others think that a few times a year is sufficient. In large part, it depends on whether or not you show your horse, and on how often your horse becomes uncomfortably dirty. Your horse’s coat actually benefits from a combination of regular grooming and natural oils, and shampooing removes some of those natural oils. However, horses that are very active may have an itchy build-up of salt in their coats, left behind by evaporating sweat, and a good shampoo will clear that away.
Most people will give their horses a shampoo before a show or event, but how often they shampoo outside of that is a matter of judgement. When it’s time for a bath, here are a few tips to make it smooth, successful and reasonably enjoyable for both you and your horse.
1. Choose an area where the ground will stay clean
Don’t make the mistake of shampooing your horse on ground that could become muddy. Choose a spot with well established grass, tarmac or a floor covering. Give some thought to how the water will drain away underfoot. If you’ve got access to a dedicated area for bathing animals, then of course you should use that.
2. A good shampoo in the spring is always a good idea
During the winter, horses thicken their coats and they may spend most of their time under a pile of rugs, too. In the spring, they’ll be happy to clear away loose, unruly hairs and freshen up. Even if you don’t believe in shampooing your horse often, you should do it every spring.
3. Be careful not to irritate sensitive parts of the horse’s face
Nobody likes to get soap in their eyes, and your horse is no exception. Don’t use a strong shampoo mixture around the horse’s eyes, nose, ears and mouth. Use plain water or highly diluted shampoo.
3. Pay attention to the temperature of the water
Most horses are a little suspicious of being wetted down. Make sure that the water is a comfortable temperature, and begin by gently sponging it onto the horse by hand. Don’t surprise the horse with high water pressure or extreme temperatures.
4. Use a conditioner for tails and manes
Tails and manes can become especially tangled and matted, and they’re difficult to clean. To help sort them out, try one of our conditioners. A conditioner will make the hair easier to comb through and keep it shiny and smooth once your horse is clean and dry.
For more information and to look over our selection of horse shampoos, please refer to our Horse Grooming page. We offer effective, high quality horse shampoos and conditioners at a good price.