For a successful trip to the wash rack with your horse, gather these tools and make bath time quick and easy.
- Small bucket filled with a dollop of shampoo and warm water.
- Soft washcloth(s) or tiny sponges for wiping noses, faces, etc.
- Big sea sponges for rinsing faces.
- Hands On Gloves – for wet and dry use.
- Towels for getting some of the water off your horse’s legs. (Use your HandsOn Gloves with the towel for a better grip)
- Sweat scraper
Make sure the weather is good for a bath. Sunny and 60 is not the same as overcast and 60 with a cold breeze. If your wash rack is in the barn, you might be able to bathe in cooler temperatures.
Start hosing your horse from hooves up. Keep one finger in the stream to monitor the temp of the water. Apply a layer of suds one side at a time, from the top of your horse down (gravity helps here.) Then the remaining suds in the bucket are used to dunk the tail into. You might need a smidge more shampoo for the mane and tailbone.
Use your Hands On Gloves to massage and curry the shampoo in. Before you begin the crazy rinsing marathon, grab your sweat scraper and use it as a shampoo scraper. This removes a lot of the suds, and will save you time and water when rinsing.
Rinse the mane first, and then from top down (again, gravity is your friend.) If you are using a nozzle with multiple settings, the “fan” or “flat” setting acts like a squeegee and pushes the dirt and suds out. I don’t suggest using this setting for the mane and tail or anywhere near the head, “shower” setting works well there. Rinse the tail, then the lower legs.
Use your little sponges or washcloths to clean your horse’s face, and the towels to dry his legs.
Sweat scrape. If you see bubbles, rinse again. This facilitates the drying process, and in the summer can prevent your horse from overheating. Water left on your horse becomes trapped in their coats and heats up quickly. In cooler weather, use fleece or wool coolers to dry your horse and protect him from hypothermia.