We all want our horses to look their best - especially as the show season is in full swing. There's all the basics: start with the legs, don't spray the face directly, rinse thoroughly, and never bathe in cold weather. But bathing your horse is more than just soaping and rinsing. Horses' skin can be easily irritated with frequent bathing or using the wrong shampoo.
Some owners rarely bathe and others seem to bathe almost weekly. Like humans, horses produce natural oils and over shampooing can lead to skin irritation and dryness. As long as your horse doesn't like to channel his inner pig, a simple rinse off to get rid of sweat and loose hair is enough to keep the coat shiny and avoid any irritation. As far as shampoo is concerned, make sure you are only using products specifically made for horses.
There are a few instances where a bath is definitely warranted such as the end of the spring shed. A good scrub with shampoo gets ride of the last of the loose hairs and any dirt that has built up over the winter under their thick coat. All these are great for warm weather but have a light colored horse that always has stains? Vetrolin makes a product called Green Spot Out Spray - just spray on, rub in, and wipe off. Other brands make similar products.
Does your horse seem to channel their inner piggy right before shows? Have a light colored horse that seems to love to sleep in it's manure at shows? If you've had to give more baths than usual and find your horse's skin is getting a little dry - after a bath you can use baby powder, aloe-vera lotion, or baby lotion on dry skin to help soothe irritation. If you find that the dry skin isn't going away and it may be more than just simple dry skin check with your vet who may recommend a medicated wash or ointment.
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