Winter is here, and with it comes the need to keep our horses clean and well-groomed, despite the colder temperatures. Bathing a horse in the winter can be challenging, but it can be done safely and effectively with the right approach.
The first thing to consider when bathing a horse in the winter is the temperature. It's essential to ensure the horse is not too cold before, during, and after the bath. If the horse is cold, it will be less willing to stand still for the bath and may become stressed. To prevent this, ensure the horse is well-blanketed and has access to a warm shelter before and after the bath. The ideal outside temperature should be above 10 °C/50 °F. You can also check with your local veterinarian for their temperature recommendation for your specific horse based on its health and coat condition.
Another vital factor to consider is the water temperature. Cold water can be very uncomfortable for the horse, so make sure the water is warm enough for the horse to tolerate. The ideal water temperature for bathing a horse is around body temperature (this can range between 37.2°C to 38.5°C (99.0°F to 101.4°F), something around 37°C would be ideal. Warm water will make the horse more comfortable during the bath.
When it comes to bathing, it's essential to use a pH-balanced horse shampoo formulated to meet the unique needs of a horse's coat and skin. Horses have different skin pH levels and oiliness than humans, so using human shampoo on horses can cause irritation and dryness.
One excellent option is Horse Cleaning Masters Of Shampoos, available at www.horsecleaning.com. These horse shampoos are specially formulated to clean and nourish the horse's coat, mane and tail hair while retaining the natural oils found within the hair. This approach to bathing with formulated horse shampoos over human shampoos helps keep the horse's coat shiny and healthy.
The premium pH-balanced horse shampoos from Horse Cleaning are formulated to be more concentrated, which means you use less product per bath, resulting in longer-lasting bottles of shampoos, saving you money in the long run. On average, one 500ml bottle of horse shampoo from Horse Cleaning Masters of Shampoos will last between three and six months for a single horse.
When applying the shampoo, use the right amount; we often see horse owners over-shampooing their horses; with Horse Cleaning horse shampoos, one/two cups full within a bucket of water is enough to create a good lather and effectively clean the horse's coat with the use of a wash brush. Be sure to avoid getting shampoo into the horse's eyes, nose, or mouth. It's also important to rinse the horse thoroughly to remove all traces of shampoo and suds. This will prevent irritation and dryness and ensure that the horse's coat is thoroughly cleaned.
After the bath:
- Remove as much excess water as possible and dry the horse thoroughly using a towel or a horse dryer.
- Let the wet hair stand up instead of straightening; this will help it dry faster.
- If you have a sweat rug/cooler, use one since this style helps wick moisture away from the body.
You can walk your horse around in the warmest area you can access, such as an indoor arena or up and down a barn aisle. Your horse doesn't need to walk constantly during the drying process, but keep a close eye to be sure the horse does not become chilled. In very cold temperatures, offer your horse a hay bag, so they use the natural warming process of digestion.
Depending on the thickness of your horse's winter coat and the outside temperature, drying will take anywhere from one hour to several hours. Stay nearby until your horse is fully dry; you can gauge this by testing if the hair next to the skin is dry when you ruffle their coat.
In summary, bathing a horse in the winter requires extra care and consideration. By keeping the horse warm, using warm water, and using the Horse Cleaning Masters Of Shampoos range of horse shampoos, you can effectively clean and groom your horse while keeping them safe and comfortable and saving money. Remember to check with your local veterinarian to ensure that the temperature is suitable for your specific horse based on their health and coat condition and to follow the instructions on the horse shampoo packaging.