I owe you a show recap (as you may have seen on Instagram or Facebook), but I’m holding out for (hopefully) some photos to come. Instead, I figured I’d answer Amanda’s post on bathing.
Do you bathe regularly, or only before shows?
Typically I bathe before shows, maybe before a big clinic if my horse is particularly filthy and before clipping. Now, I do rinse off and usually do an apple cider vinegar rinse after riding in the summer. If I’m not showing and they’ve gotten gross, then maybe they’ll get another bath. I honestly try to be pretty sparing about it to save skin and coat oils.
Archie also semi-despises baths and all forms of getting wet, unless it’s a water jump. He’s getting better about it (he’s recently learned it’s fun to drink from the hose), but luckily he stays pretty clean. Added bonus of no white legs either.
I will wash forelock and tail more often and that’s because during summer/show season, I dye them about every 8-10 weeks. Yes, with human hair dye. Shoot me. He has this gorgeous dark wavy mane, but his forelock (and tail, although a little less so) turn ORANGE in the sun and I absolutely hate it. (He’s on day turnout, won’t wear a fly mask, there’s no avoiding it) It’s nothing a cheap box of hair dye doesn’t fix and then it looks fab for a good while afterwards.
What’s your temperature cutoff?
We’re really lucky to have hot water in our wash stall, but I still try not to bathe under about 65F. I’ve had a time or two I needed to get it done in order to clip, but generally that’s my cutoff. I will spray off nasty muddy legs with hot water if it’s below that though – I figure if they’re happy to slop their legs through gross cold mud and puddles, some hot water won’t hurt them.
Any favorite gadgets or shampoos?
I already mentioned my hair dye exploits, but I have a whole little setup.
Shampoo-wise, I really love using a brunette-specific shampoo. Yeah, there are horse ones, but the human ones are cheaper and (in my opinion) work better so I pick them. I specifically use brunette vs a red one because Archie is almost borderline-liver and the brunette shampoos bring out the dark in his coat that I really love. If I’m just doing a pre-clip bath, then I’ll use whatever horse shampoo I have around at the moment. Right now, it’s the EquiFuse concentrate, but in all honesty, I have not been impressed by it and won’t repurchase it.
I go through literal gallons of apple cider vinegar in the summertime using it as a rinse. I mix some with water and just sponge it all over after rinsing off sweat and grime. It seems to keep them really shiny, takes away any lingering marks and there are all sorts of anecdotes about it helping with bugs or muscles or recovery or whatever. I don’t use it specifically for any of those things, but if it helps, that’s cool.
For the first time in my life, I have a horse without any white legs or markings (other than face, which I don’t mess with). When I did though, my secret weapon is some Mrs. Stewarts Bluing Liquid. If you use it directly on whites, it will turn your horse blue, so make sure you mix with water (you want a light/sky blue color of water). It will take yellow out and whiten things better than anything else I’ve found.
For actual tools, I LOVE my Tiger Tongue-sponge combo and my cactus cloth. The get the job done and don’t get gross too easily. (And apparently reading all of these, I need a mini sweat scraper in my life!)
If it’s winter/cool out, I love my cooler from Epplejeck I picked up last year. It looks like Archie should be wearing slippers and have a cigar, but I’m pretty sure he embraces that.
Any other strong opinions?
I next to never wash manes with shampoo. They get “washed” enough with everything else around them and lots of the time, I’m bathing before a show and few things suck more than trying to braid a clean, slippery mane. Not exactly bathing related, but I also keep lower legs semi-clipped up (not closely but not hairy) year-round. It makes them easier to keep clean, I don’t get gross ice balls around pasterns and I just overall prefer it.