To Bathe or Not to Bathe Your Horse: What You Need to Know

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How often should you bathe your horse? Should you wash them when it is cold – or even hot – outside? Today’s post will explore the pros and cons when it comes to bathing your horse.

If you are a horse owner, you have probably had (many) conversations about proper bathing for your horse and with each question comes a variety of – even conflicting – answers. Is bathing good for their skin or does it dry it out? Should you use warm or cold water when bathing in the summer heat? When is regular bathing too much?

This post focuses on the information necessary to make the best decision for the equine in your life.

To Bathe or Not to Bathe?

If you have a horse that regularly shows or competes, you will likely bathe them more frequently, so they look their best in the show ring. If your horse does not compete, bathing requirements will be different.

Horse Being Hosed Down with WaterOpinions on the frequency of bathing horses range from a few times a year to monthly, weekly, only when the horse is dirty and evennever!” Regardless, never place tack on a dirty horse for their overall well-being and comfort! Dirt, debris and even dried sweat under a saddle and girth will create potential chafing, itching, fungus and infections.

While there is no definitive rule about how often to bathe your horse, it IS critical to make sure the natural oils in your horse’s coat and skin are not stripped away with over-bathing. Bathing your horse too often will leave the coat dry and flaky and the unprotected skin prone to infections.

Grooming your horse regularly will help reduce the need for frequent bathing. Also, spot cleaning (especially in the presence of infections like rain scald/rot or scratches), shampoo-less rinses and even just clear, cleanWoman Washing Horse's Head water can be done more frequently with fewer negative side effects.

Horse Bathing:  Shampoos

If you decide to bathe your horse more frequently, use a gentler, hypoallergenic shampoo. (It is also better for a horse with sensitive skin.)

Note: Blue shampoos for making coats whiter are harsher.

Also, allow plenty of thorough rinsing to remove all shampoo residue from the coat and skin to avoid unnecessary irritation.

Horse Bathing: Drying

Horse Rolling in DirtWarm and sunny days are perfect for letting your horse dry naturally. Use a sweat scraper to remove/whisk away as much water as possible before thoroughly drying the entire body. (See EquiGroomer “WaterWisk” scraper/squeegee tool here.) Then cover with a clean sweat sheet in case your clean horse decides to enjoy an enthusiastic roll on the ground!

If you must bathe your horse during colder weather, make sure you have access to warm water and a well-protected area, so your horse remains warm. After drying your horse as much as possible, make sure to blanket them to ward off any chills.  Anytime a horse gets chilled from cold temperatures and drafts, their resistance to infections and respiratory diseases is greatly reduced.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, it is the horse owner who decides on what is best forWoman Petting Horse's Head their horse, health, overall well-being and ultimately comfort. Maintaining a horse’s optimal health – including bathing – is different for each equine.

Unsure about how often to bathe your horse? Talk to other experienced horse owners as well as your vet. Also closely monitor your horse after each bathing and then proactively adjust the frequency and products for the best outcome!


EquiGroomer's WaterWish and Pet SqueegeeOur EquiGroomer tools make bathing and grooming your horse easier, stress-free AND pain-free!

Order individual EquiGroomer tools or professional kits for your pet shop, tack shop or barn, by calling 860-573-0604, an email or visiting our website today!


  

Additional Reading:

Horse Illustrated: 5 Tips for Bathing Your Horse

EquiMed: Bathing Your Horse

Saddle Box: How Often Should You Bathe Your Horse?

Pro Equine Grooms: How Often Should You Bathe Your Horse?

Equus: How to Bathe a Horse Like a Pro

Image Credits (In Order of Appearance):

Christels from Pixabay 

A_Different_Perspective from Pixabay 

Christels from Pixabay 

Pezibear from Pixabay 

Dids from Pexels

Product Image Courtesy of EquiGroomer

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