Tools Needed
Spray Nozzle
Shampoo & Conditioner
24-32 ounce Bottle
Rubber Curry
Sweat Scraper
Coat Conditioning Spray
•        Rinse:  attach a spray nozzle to end of hose as this will aid in more dirt
removal.  Start at horse’s neck and begin spraying.  Make sure to angle the sprayer
towards back of horse to prevent spraying the horse ears and pushing suds and dirt
making sure to rinse all areas including the underside.  The last area to rinse is the
head.  Reduce the spray pressure and place sprayer up by forelock to begin rinsing
the face.  Allow water to run down bridge of nose and then carefully wet each cheek.  
An alternative to spraying the face is to wet a wash cloth or rag and rub over horse’s
face.  Before proceeding to next step, the horse’s entire body needs to be rinsed.
•        Washing:  Start by applying shampoo to mane and tail.  We prefer to dilute
shampoo with water (1 part shampoo and 10 parts water) to prevent over
application which results in difficulty rinsing the soap out.  When washing mane and
tail, a 24 to 23 ounce container work best for application allowing you to pour the
mixture onto mane and tail.  Once the mane and tail are shampooed, allow it to
soak while you wash the body.  Mix shampoo and water in a bucket and place a
sponge and rubber curry in bucket.  Start at neck of horse and begin application
with sponge over entire body and legs of horse.  Once the shampoo mixture is
applied, remove curry form bucket and pour remaining mixture over horse’s back
and hips.  Take the curry and using small, circular strokes, scrub the entire body
and legs.  This helps to lift the dirt to the surface of hair.  Allow 2-5 minutes for
horse to soak before rinsing.  If the horse’s face and forelock need washed, use a
product that will not burn their eyes such as Johnson & Johnson No Tear Baby
Shampoo.  Again, dilute shampoo with water.  To finish, rinse the same way you
started but this time use your curry in long strokes over area water is being applied
to allow you to see if there is still soap in that area.  Rinse mane and tail.
•        Conditioner:  We prefer to use a leave-in conditioner; however, some
horses have extremely dry manes and tails that require extra care.  In these
cases we use a conditioner that washes out and then apply a leave-in
conditioner to help moisturize the tail and make it easier to pick through.  
Application is the same as washing only allow the mane and tail to soak for 5-
10 minutes with the conditioner on.  Note: A human product called Infusium
23 is a great product for dry and brittle tails.  We get the big bottles of the
leave in conditioner and pour it on after washing.  It also works great for
conditioning the forelock and mane without adding a lot of weight and
tackiness that other leave-in products tend to cause.
•        Shedding Water:  After the horse is completely rinsed, you need to
get the excess water removed to allow horse to dry more quickly.  For the
body use a sweat scraper or the smooth side of a shedding blade.  Start at
neck and work back on both sides of body.  For the legs and face use a towel
or chamois and rub or pat down until dry.  A scraper is to abrasive for the
legs and face.  Tie horse in stall or somewhere sturdy to finish drying.  Note:
horses love to roll when they are wet, therefore you need to make sure you
tie the horse up after bathing or you may have to start all over again.
•        Finishing Touches:  We always like to apply a coat conditioner or sheen after the horse is
bathed.  This helps restore some of the moisture and oils back into the horse’s hair coat as well as
produce a nice polish to the hair.  After the product is applied, we place a cooler on the horse to help
them dry and stay warm.  Once they are dry, we remove the cooler and run through the pre-ride
grooming: rubber curry, hard bristle body brush, soft bristle body brush, and grooming mitt.  This helps to
remove any excess hair that came loose from bathing and smooth oils back through coat.  Note: Bathing
too often and using cheap products can dry out a horse’s hair coat because washing and certain
chemicals take the natural oils out of the coat.  This can lead to dry, itchy skin and a dull hair coat.  If your
horse’s hair coat starts to take a turn for the worst, reduce the number of bathes they are currently
getting.  To limit the amount of bathing, invest in a vacuum.
o        Products We Prefer:
        Vellus- Shampoo, Conditioner, Satin Cream Leave-in Conditioner, and Moisturizing Mist
Coat Conditioning Spray.
        Pro-Stepps- Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner
        MVP- Intensive Hair Treatment and Equifuse
        Equinique- Smooth-Shine Detangler
        Infusium 23- Leave-in Treatment (for humans)
for the job.  Make sure the footing is a non-slick surface especially if working with young, inexperienced horses.  
Make sure the wash area is free of clutter and objects the horse could get tangled in.  If the horse is not familiar
with getting bathed, make sure you do not tie them until they get comfortable with the water.  To get them used
to water we use two different approaches.  First we will take the horse into an open area (outside where it does
not matter if you run water) near a water hydrant.  Make sure you have a long hose attached to it as the horse
may move around a lot.  Start by spraying the horse’s back.  When the horse stops moving around, take the
water away and rub them with your hand.  Repeat the process over the entire body until they learn to stand still
when water is applied. The second step is then to have someone hold them in a wash rack for the first bath.  
This should be fairly easy as the horse is already used to the water and just needs to become comfortable with
the confined space.  (Horse Psyche. - As long as a horse can move their feet (flight response) when they feel
threatened, they are less likely to panic (fight response) and do things like kicking, striking, biting, etc…  So let
your horse move around until they decide to stop and think about what you’re doing.  Don’t try to make them
stop or you may set off the panic button.)
2.        Comfort is another factor to consider when bathing.  If you do not have access to an indoor wash rack,
washing outside is perfectly acceptable.  There are, however, some things to consider.  Bathing indoor or
outdoor, you need to make sure there is adequate drainage in the wash rack.  If bathing outside, you need to
make sure the temperature is not too cold (below 65 degrees).  Lastly, if at all possible, bath horse with warm
water as it seems to be less of a shock to them and it will create a relaxing feeling.
Written by: Pamila Thiel & Anne Sherwood
Pictures Taken by: Pamila Thiel

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