By: Sheena J.
Horses are big and majestic and all, but they are also gentle creatures that we have to care of. From the food they eat to the stable they stay in, to their vitamins, we have to always check and make sure what we are doing are not only beneficial to them but are also the best ways of treating them right towards maintaining a healthy horse, inside and out. You have the supplements, you have the right foods, you have cleaned and made their beds. Now it is time to also prioritize bath time. But is bathing really that essential to a horse?
We ourselves have experienced that uncomfortable feeling of sweat during those hot summer seasons. But unlike our horses, we can put the AC in full blast or take a dip in a pool, and we will feel better. Horses, on the other hand, don't have access to those. While sweating can cool them down, during hot weathers they can still experience stress and may result in even worse conditions. Bathing your horse is not just for aesthetic purposes, moreover, it is for their own good. Below I have listed some important things we have to keep in mind in bathing our horse friends.
Prepare all the things you will need firsthand
Make sure you have all the right tools to make bathing time for you and for your horse stress-free and for a more enjoyable experience. Bathing for horses is not common if we talk about those in the wild. They sometimes don't get even a single bath in their lifetime. But since they have us to take care of them, it is our obligation to properly introduce bathing. And one thing we must be sure of are the things we need for a proper bath. Some of the things you will need are:
Shampoo and conditioner especially designed for horses.
- Sweat Scraper
- Body Brush
- Curry Comb
- Mane Comb
- An easily accessible water source
- Stool (optional) if your horse is too tall for you to reach.
Cleaning the Face
I have done some research and one that stood up most to me is that knowing what body part of our horse to wash first is very important. If you're asking which part we should aim the water first, the answer is the face. Horses are very sensitive when it comes to their faces being washed so to cut the tension in half, this must be the first thing we take care of. We should use a sponge soaked in warm water and gently wipe the face, pursuing the line of the hair. Be extra careful when wiping in the eye area, as the horses will not appreciate any water going inside their eyes and may cause distress to them and may make them hate bathing.
One can opt to either use a hose or a sponge when acquainting water to horses. When using a hose, it is better to have it in "shower" as to not have that stabbing feeling when the water reaches your horses' skin. Also, the water must be warm and comfortable. Even with the hot weather, cold water is not advisable as this may not give a good feeling to the skin. Work slowly from the hooves. An additional precaution can also be done by applying ointment on the soles and heels. With this, we prevent water absorption as to not have any negative effects when drying out. Dry hooves can result in frangible feet, especially in warm weather. Afterwards, begin to water the entire skin before applying shampoo. There are popular brands of shampoos in the market but choose something that is known to not be harmful. You can also check the different reviews for the products before using them to see how other horse owners see the products and what happened when they have applied them to their own horses.
The Sensitive Areas
Owners may think this is not necessary as the horses will not like someone invading their private parts. But cleaning the anus and the genitals is equally important as cleaning the whole body. The anus, for example, is one of the dirtiest parts of a horse. We can use a clean cloth or cotton wool to wash this area. As for the genitals, the sheath and the penis of a male horse must also be checked for any possible irregularities. Bacteria may build up in the shaft because of Smegma, or the lubricating secretion of the horse. This is taken care of in the wild naturally by horses having sex, but in the domesticated environment, Smegma may cause infections and may form "beans" in the sheath. That's why it is also necessary to keep this part clean.
Washing the Shampoo Out
Rinsing must be done very thoroughly as left-over shampoo can cause itch and irritation to the skin of the horse. Unrinsed shampoo can also dry the skin. One of the most common methods of rinsing is again using a hose in shower setting. You can also use a bucket and rinse the coat many times until no suds can be seen and its residue.
After making sure all the shampoo and soap residues are gone, the coat must also be dried. There are options on how to properly dry your horse. One of the most popular ones is by using a sweat scraper. This helps in drying by squeezing the remaining water out of the coat. They can reach deep and clean skin and sensitive areas after a bath. A number of clean towels can also be used for drying, although this can be a less preferable alternative as this may take up more time. Another method you can use to further ensure that all the water is gone is to have a brief walk with your horse under the sun. Be aware of how long you take them for a walk, especially during the times the sun is at its peak, for we don't want our horses to be all heated up again after a bath.
Bathing goes hand in hand with grooming as both ensure our horses are not just healthy inside, but also outside. Horses that participate in shows are generically well accustomed to baths and is rightfully so since they must always look their best and on top of their game. Whatever the purpose is for one's horse, their well-being is something we all must be aware of. And we can start by giving them a nice, warm bath to keep those hot sweats out of the picture.
Thank you for reading. Please do visit our bathroom set collection for awesome ideas that can make any bath time even more enjoyable.
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