Giving your horse a bath is similar to washing your car. You start on the left front side, work your way down one side, wash the roof, wash the back panel making sure not to miss the parts lower on the car and then proceed to the other side. If you miss some spots you will be able to tell. Horses need the same attention to detail for good results. Some of the tools you will need are:
- a hose with good water pressure, preferably one that has access to a hot water spigot so you can use a yoke and be able to blend both hot and cold water because horses prefer warm water to cold.
- Two buckets, at least three gallons each,
- two good sponges that have some flexibility to them is better,
- a sweat scraper and a good quality horse shampoo. This would be a shampoo that is designed to clean your horse thoroughly with small amounts of product and will wash out very easily.
Being clean is certainly not a priority in a horse’s life. Actually, rolling in the mud or dirt is their preference. Probably dirt rolling is related to scratching and protecting them from biting flies and annoying gnats.
The first order of giving your horse a bath would be to fill both of your buckets with warm water; one bucket with shampoo and one sponge, and the other bucket with just warm water and a clean sponge. Either put your horse on the cross ties on the wash rack, or have someone hold your horse standing directly in front of the horse. Use the hose and start behind the ears and begin to hose the horse’s body being sure not to get water in the horses ears. Getting water in their ears is not acceptable. Make sure you get up underneath of their stomach, in between their legs, wet their rump and up underneath of their hind legs, underneath the tail all the way down their legs. Wet the tale as you must also shampoo their tail as well as this helps some horses from rubbing. Go to the other side of the horse and do exactly the same.
Start with the bucket that has shampoo in the water. Sponge the horses head, in the front, underneath the jaw and behind the ears and between the ears. As soon as you finish, take the sponge from the other bucket that has the clear water and rinse your horses face thoroughly dipping the sponge into the water, rinsing their head over and over until all the shampoo is gone. Then hold the bucket with the shampoo in the water with your left hand, using your right hand, keep dipping the sponge into the water and onto the horse as you cover the horses body as well as go down their legs inside and out, onto their back, rump, up underneath of their belly and in between their legs, up underneath of their tail, down the hind legs to the hoof and then onto the other side. When you get to the rump on the other side of the horse, then you do the tail. Start at the top of the tail with the soapy sponge running it down to the end of the tail. Scrub the top of the tail with the soapy water and your fingers.
Lastly, using your hose again, it will not be necessary to rinse your horses head, just the rest of their body making sure you spray up underneath the belly, in between their legs, under the tail, rinsing the tail until the water runs clear. Afterwards you will take the sweat scraper and scrape their body, not the legs, getting off as much excess water as possible. Do not turn your horse out or put them into the stall until they dry as they will immediately roll and become that dirty horse once again. The more baths you give, the faster you will become at this chore. Professional grooms, with the help of a high pressure hose can bathe a horse in about five minutes. It probably will take you much longer in the beginning of this learning experience. Clean horses are a pleasing sight to behold, so hang in there as practice makes perfect and you will be a whiz at bathing your horse in no time.