Category Archives: Horse Care

Horse Bath: Step By Step

Once you’re finished reading my first post about bathing a horse, it’s time for the actual horse bath to begin.

Depending on the horse, you may need an assistant. If this is your first time giving a horse bath, do not do it alone.

A horse bath does not necessarily involve shampooing your horse. You may simply want to hose off sweat after a ride on a hot day, or mud that your horse rolled in during turnout.

Familiarize yourself with your bathing area. Make sure everything that you need is in place, or at least where you can reach it.

Check to see that the water is working properly. I spray the hose towards the ground first to make sure  it’s turned on and working.

It is helpful if you have someone to hold your horse while you hose and shampoo. Sometimes there is a wash stall or horse bath area with cross-ties.

I always start bathing a horse by hosing the feet and lower legs. This gives the horse an opportunity to get used to the spraying and the water temperature before you begin hosing their body.

Even though a horse is a large animal, you will want to use a medium pressure spray. Neither too hard or too light.

Always be careful around your horse’s head. Some horses like their face sprayed, and with others you may only be able to use a sponge.

Another area you want to be careful with is your horse’s back, particularly if you don’t have access to warm water. The back, in particular the kidney area, can be very sensitive. Also take care when hosing between the back legs.

If you are giving a complete horse bath, once your horse is thoroughly rinsed down you can begin shampooing. There are bathing gloves you can wear that help massage your horse and loosen dirt while you are working in the shampoo.

I most often choose to use a large sponge for bathing a horse.

I begin by putting some shampoo in a bucket and then filling the bucket about a quarter of the way by spraying medium to high pressure into the bucket.

This creates a bunch of sudsy lather to dip your sponge or bathing glove into to gather up shampoo to begin cleaning.

Put the soap on your horse and lather him up well.  While you’re rubbing him over pay attention to any spots that might be sore or sensitive.

bathing a horse - shampoo

                        Good old Quic Silver

If you’re blessed to have a white horse, as I was, you will find they are good at laying in their manure. You may have to buy stock in the Quic Silver company!

Quic Silver is a whitening shampoo that works well for light colored horses, light tails and white markings.

If you are going to use a conditioner, now is the time to apply it.

Once you are done shampooing and conditioning, and have rinsed all of the soap off of your horse, you need to remove as much water as you can with your scraper.

Horse Bath Sweat Scrapers

Sweat Scrapers

Now your horse should be ready to go out and graze in the grass or go back to his stall to relax. It is always nice to take him for a walk and let him dry off in the sun after a good horse bath!

 

Bathing A Horse – What Do You Need?

There are several reasons for bathing a horse.These reasons can range from simply having a muddy, dirty horse to preparing your horse for the show ring.

Bathing a horse isn’t something that the beginner should do without first learning how. Ideally there is an experienced person around happy to lend a hand and show you the ropes.

If not, don’t fret, I will go over the basics here!

Step 1:  Assemble the necessary items.

The last thing you want to do is to be standing there all ready to start giving your horse its bath only to find out you don’t have your shampoo or sponge nearby.

You want to make sure you have your hose out, with a nozzle on it and that the water is on. I love the adjustable nozzles that will let you use different settings for how the water comes out.

bathing a horse - nozzle

                  A handy 8 pattern nozzle

You can use a stronger stream for muddy legs or a fine mist for the face.

This heavy duty, 100% guaranteed nozzle is available through Amazon and provides 8 different patterns/water pressures for different uses.

In fact, it is SUPER handy to buy an expandable garden hose to keep in your trunk. If you keep your own nozzle and hose on hand you don’t need to worry if one will be available when and where you need it!

Besides a hose and nozzle you will need a bucket, shampoo, sponge (a LARGE sponge) and sweat scraper.

There are all kinds of shampoo for many different things.

Color enhancing shampoos are quite popular. I don’t worry too much about these EXCEPT for gray/white horses.

I am always impresses when I see a really white, clean horse. It is no small feat!

My favorite old standby whitener/brightener is Quic Silver shampoo. It was one of the original whitening shampoos  out on the market for bathing a horse.

Whether your whole horse is white or gray, or just has one white sock it would be wise to invest in some Quic Silver!

Another favorite shampoo of mine is Vetrolin Shampoo. Vetrolin is great for bathing a horse.

It has conditioners, Vitamin E, protein and paba sunscreen. It rinses out quickly and easily and leaves your horses coat feeling super soft.

Vetrolin also makes a great liniment. One of the reasons I love this shampoo is that it also leaves your horses’ muscles with a soothing,cooling sensation.

So, if you have a water supply, a hose, a nozzle, a bucket, sponge, shampoo and a sweat scraper (for shedding excess water off afterwards) you should be all ready to get started bathing a horse!

 

Horse Blankets For Newbies

horse blankets

Brandy sure is glad he wore his turnout blanket on this snowy day at my farm!

I want you to consider this a beginners introduction to horse blankets.

Horse Blankets are generally used during the winter, spring and fall.

It was winter back when I first started riding horses. When I would go to the barn for my lesson the horses had blankets on.

I thought that was odd because a blanket could certainly not keep the horses warm?  In fact some horses had two or three blankets on.

Well, I’ve learned quite a bit about horse blankets since then. One question that I get asked often  is “with all that hair what do they need horse blankets for?”

That’s a fair question, and I’ll attempt to answer it the simplest way I can.

Horses are more than capable of going all season long, and in all kinds of weather, without blankets. As long as they have some shelter to get in out of the nasty weather they are fine.

If you think of a horse in the wild, you will realize that they are able to regulate their body  temperature comfortably. We have taken them out of their natural environment.

horse blankets

                     Shires Turnout Blanket

Since our horses don’t always have a choice of where to go for shelter we should make sure to provide them with a nice turnout blanket. This Shires Stormbreaker 2100D Medium Weight turnout blanket is waterproof and breathable as well as VERY durable.

We ask our horses to perform for us in many ways, including riding. When they go through their paces they can work up a sweat.

You never want to put a horse away when they are warm, sweaty or hot. If this happens they can become very ill.

Another reason we use horse blankets is to try to “trick” our horses into not growing their hair long.

If your horse is body clipped, or has a short, fine coat you will want to purchase a heavier weight blanket to keep them warm.

The Rambo Original Turnout Blanket is an extremely well made classic. It can do double duty as both a turnout and a stable blanket.

It is also very warm, with 370 gms. of fiberfill. The company is so confident that these horse  blankets will hold up that they are willing to  guarantee them for three years!

They grow hair not only because of temperature change, but also because of daylight changes.  When the days start getting longer the temperatures start to rise.

In 1980 a study was held at Texas A&M by Householder and Hodge on the theory of Extended Day Regimen (ED). They proved that changes in hair growth occurred, on younger horses, by changing the length of time they were subjected to light.

They had a number of horses placed under ED lights while others were left with natural light. After the study, the horses on natural light had roughly 3X longer hair than the horses under artificial ED light.

If your horse’s hair is long he will get sweaty when worked and take a long time to cool down. You must make sure they are not hot, or even slightly warm, before you put them away.

It’s very important that you remain aware of this.  Just like any athlete, to cool your horse down you need to walk him.

It is a very good idea to own a horse cooler. Coolers help wick away moisture (sweat) and keep your horse from being chilled while cooling down.

The Horseware Amigo Mio Fleece Cooler is a reasonably priced and nice looking cooler for everyday use.

You can spend well over 30 minutes walking your horse to cool them off properly. Don’t cut any corners here.  Walk and walk and walk. You may even need to towel dry damp hair.

Don’t worry about over walking, it is far better to walk too much than too little.

I hope I have been able to shed a little light on why we use horse blankets!