Get the Horse Shampoo Out - it's Bathtime
How to Bathe Your Horse
Some horses enjoy bath time, others are not so keen but will generally calm down once you have started to wash them. If your horse is especially nervous then take someone with you to hold them and to keep them calm. A comprehensive wash is important for your horse, it keeps them in fabulous condition and provides a great opportunity for you to bond with them. Check the weather forecast before you decide get the horse shampoo out to make sure it isn't going to chilly for your horse after their wash.
It is best not to start bathing your horse until you are organised and have gathered together everything you need. Grab your hose or a big tub of water, a couple of buckets, several sponges, horse shampoo and a rubber mitt. You will also need a scraper, two towels, a step ladder and any lotions that you want to use after your horse is clean. Hoof ointment is also a useful inclusion. This can be used to seal the hooves before you start washing to prevent them from absorbing water. Then finally, a wicking / cooler rug for afterwards if needed.
Using warm water, wet your horse all over except for his head. Work upwards from the lower legs and keep the spray from the hose away from your horse’s eyes. If you don’t have a hose then use a tub of water and a sponge. Work your way up to the neck and mane and then down your horse’s back. Finish by wetting your horse’s rump, genital area and tail.
Add some warm water to one of the buckets. Take your chosen horse shampoo and add this to the water and then agitate the mixture using a sponge to build up the suds. Remove the soapy sponge from the bucket and use it to shampoo your horse. Work in a circular motion to soap all of your horse except his head. It can help to use a second sponge for working around the bottom area and between the hind legs. Make sure that the soap has penetrated down to the skin and throughout the mane and tail. Keep dipping the sponge in the soapy water and top up the bucket if you run out of the soapy solution.
When the mane and tail are nice and wet, poor a little horse shampoo into your hand and work it into the hair using your fingers. You can use your mitt here if you need to. Then go over your horse’s body a second time.
Your horse now requires a thorough rinse with either the hose or a fresh tub of water and using another clean sponge. Work your way over your horse’s body until the water runs clear. Use your rubber mit to ensure that no soap is trapped under thick hair and pay particular attention to the stomach area as soapy water tends to collect there.
To dry your horse, start by using the scraper to remove excess water from his body. The scraper is too harsh to use on the legs so wipe them down with a dry sponge instead. Then towel dry your horse and comb his mane and tail. He can then finish drying naturally in the air.
Washing the Head
Finish by washing your horse’s head and face. You might need to stand on your step ladder to do this. Dunk a smaller sponge in fresh water and then wring it out so it isn’t too wet. Work the sponge all over the head until the horse is damp. Then mix water and shampoo in a bucket as before. Dip your sponge into this soapy solution and wash your horse’s head, taking care not to get horse shampoo in his eyes or ears. Rinse off your horse with clean water and using a clean sponge. Keep working around the head until all the soap is gone. Dry off the head with a towel.
Et voilà! A clean horse (for now....)
By Peter van der Sluijs (Own work) [ or ],