4 Steps that make Bathing your Equine Friend Much Easier

Apr 17, 2018

Gather your cleaning supplies and get ready,

Collect the necessary tools to accomplish the job properly

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A bath is the most reliable solution to getting your horse looking show perfect. Whether you’re prepping your horse for riding, a show/competition, or just before going to the barn, it’s important to make sure he stays nice and clean, he’ll be a happier and healthier horse cause of it. But, it’s equally as important to realize that your horse shouldn’t be bathed more often than needed, as too much bathing can remove essential oils and properties of the horse’s coat and skin – Anyways, here are the steps and tips that YOU can apply the next time you have to give your horse a bath!

1. Equine Bathing Basics

Bring your horse to the designated washing area, or locate an appropriate area, preferably somewhere the horse can have room to breathe if he gets spooked, and that’s relatively warm, you don’t want to flash freeze your horse in a cold environment as that can be deadly for the horse.

Once you’ve got your horse at the place you wish to give him a bath, you now want to make sure he’s tied to a nearby post, tree, or any other sturdy object – it’s also equally important to make sure he can break free if he spooks, so make sure to tie him relatively loosely.

Unload all the tools you brought to wash your horse and begin filling your bucket with water from your hose. Fill the bucket with enough shampoo to create soapy water, or as directed on the back of the bottle. It’s important that you use equine certified shampoo, cause these shampoos are targeted for horses, ponies, etc and promote a healthy coat and healthy skin. Place your sponge in the water and set that aside. If you wish to use a shampoo sprayer you can settle with a smaller bucket and a smaller amount of shampoo to set aside for the horses face only.

With your hose, begin hosing down your horse making sure to soak up as much of the coat as possible, and allowing all that mud, debris, and other nastiness to flow with the water. Some people suggest to start with the hoofs and go upwards, but we prefer to start with the top of the horse, allowing all of the mud and debris to flow off equally throughout the body. If you started with the hoofs, as you got to the top you’d likely be pushing all the gunk down to the hoofs which would necessitate another go over of the lower half of your horse.

Once your horse is clear from all the dirt, you can proceed with a shampoo sprayer to apply the shampoo, or do it the old-fashioned way, and our preferred method of applying it with soapy water and a sponge. Wet the sponge and begin working the shampoo into your horse’s coat, and at the same time utilize the rubber curry or grooming mitt to work in the shampoo. Do this until you’ve sufficiently shampooed the horse. Wash away the dirty soap with the hose, and if your horse isn’t as clean looking as you like, proceed to do this once more.

2. Proper Tail Cleansing and Care

Proper cleansing of your horses tail is tricky business. You don’t want to be tugging out all of your horse’s hair by utilizing improper techniques. It’s important that you do this the right way because, in the end, both you can your horse will be happier for it.

Getting a tail looking clean, shiny, and unknotted is a major challenge, but don’t worry we got a couple secrets we would like to share with you today, these are secrets that can greatly improve and speed up this part of the bathing process.

Start with your wide-toothed comb, a wide-toothed comb is important because horse tail hairs are really thick especially when compared to human hairs, and this type of comb avoids the potential of pulling hairs.

Raise the bucket of soapy water and put your horses tail inside of it swish it around as if you were hand cleaning your clothes. now, take the hose and spray the tail down with water, removing all of the soap and debris. Apply a good bottle of equine mane and tail conditioner to the tail and wash away to finish off.

Pro-Tip: Once you dry your horse it’s good practice to apply tail-detangler to the horses tail, to keep it looking show perfect.

3. Sponge Face Cleansing

Using a sponge is an essential way to cleanse a horses face. All horses hate having water splashed into their ears, eyes, and mouth, and I’d bet you would too, who wouldn’t?

So to avoid these annoying aspects of the bathing process we use the sponge method. After soaking the sponge in the soapy water from earlier, gently dampen your horses face, and be careful to avoid the eyes. Get any mud and debris off of your horse by repeatedly wiping away with the sponge.

Finally, you can finish off the gentle areas with a wet washcloth, be careful to not use shampoo at this point. Wipe the insides of the ears, around the eyes, the eyelids, and around the mouth. Your horse will be happier and more loving towards you if you treat him this way!

Pro-Tip: You can also utilize the sponge to cleanse other sensitive areas such as under the tail, or between the legs.

4. Drying your Horse

You can’t always rely on the Sun and the wind to dry your horse, so it’s important to make sure your horse is dried properly every time you wash him.

Also, if you leave your horse wet/damp and allow him to walk freely, he’ll likely feel the urge to roll in the dirt, dirt+water=mud and now we’re back to square one! So, don’t let him go just yet.

So to start, you want to utilize a sweat scraper to get all of the excess water off of your horse, get him as dry as possible at this point, once you’ve sufficiently removed all of the excess water, you want to take a large towel and just dry up as much of the water as possible. Slide the towel with the flow of his coat so you don’t irritate the horse.

Finally, if at this point the horse is still damp, you can put a horse drying blanket over your horse and allow it to finish off the drying process, it’s important you don’t leave this blanket on if it’s a hotter day, as you can overheat your horse which can be deadly.


  • When you move on to clean another horse, be sure to clean the tools you used previously, and refresh the water bucket to avoid spreading any potential ailments between horse’s, e.g. fungus and infection.
  • If you’re short on time you can let a damp horse roam in the paddock as long as there is tall grass for him to roll in, the tall grass will prevent him from getting dirt on his fur

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