It's summertime, and your horse is ready to have a bath. If you hose it down properly, you'll get rid of dust and dirt, which will help to keep your horse's skin and coat healthy. A well-tempered water stream not only offers health benefits, but cools pleasantly. Read what to keep in mind in order for your horse to enjoy the wellness program.
The thought that "animals have a coat and therefore there is no need for shampoo" is very common among animal lovers, and it's true that horses don't need a daily bath if they are kept in a natural environment.
But: Keeping them in stables is anything but natural, and therefore different rules apply for the grooming process. It can be important to wash your horse on a regular basis and to take care of its coat:
Washing and hosing the horse provides a stimulating massage and a pleasant sensation.
If you are applying the shampoo and massage it into the skin, you increase blood circulation.
You are able to discover small wounds or other skin problems.
Washing with Shampoo: The Rules
It's Ok to wash horses that are kept in open plan stabling every two weeks, whereas horses that are mostly indoors can be washed once a week. Wash more and you will disturb the sebaceous layer of the skin, making it prone to disease.
Please note: Just because your horse is dirty, it doesn't necessarily need a bath. The outside temperature should be at least 20 ° C.
The sebaceous glands of the horse excrete sebum. Especially during winter, you shouldn’t take this greasy film off by brushing the coat too often. It has an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and immune-regulatory effect.
Choosing a Shampoo
It is a well-established misconception with human cosmetics as well as animal grooming products that "only what foams a lot, is actually good stuff." That is not true:
The cleansing power is not linked to the foaming properties of a product.
On the contrary. A lot of foam means a lot of chemicals, so to speak. In general, people think that if a product is foaming a lot, we automatically catch all the dirt and often rinse off the shampoo before the product was actually able to develop its cleansing properties.
We recommend our Kikolily HorseWash (yay, we are so proud!). The Rhassoul in our HorseWash originates from Morocco, and it does not affect the pH of the skin. Generally, Rhassoul clay absorbs fluid, reducing skin dryness and dandruffs. This effect is great, as it keeps the skin elastic.
If you choose a grooming product for your horse you should consider that the horse's skin is different to ours, especially considering the pH-value. We talk about this in our detox guide, available soon for download on our website!
Washing the Horse: Our best tricks & tips
Our best money saving tip: If you put the shampoo on a sea sponge instead of an industrial product, you will automatically use a lot less shampoo.
We are currently stocking up on sea sponges from the Mediterranean Sea in various sizes, also available soon in our shop!
A Word about Temperature
It is not only important to take into account the outside temperature when bathing your horse, the water temperature itself is crucial, too. Horses are sensitive animals, and if you hose them down with really cold water, circulatory problems or muscle cramps can occur. If (over-)heated muscles are hosed down with very cold water, the horse can start shaking uncontrollably. In general, lukewarm water is best for the horse. First, check whether the temperature is comfortably lukewarm. Your horse will appreciate it.
Bathing Guide: From Bottom to Top
Once you've assessed the temperature, start with the legs first. This is especially important when it is hot outside. If you start at the bottom, you cool the horse gently, without stressing its system too much and blood circulation is stimulated nevertheless. Then, move on to the saddle area, the tail, and the neck. You should only rinse the kidney area if it's really hot outside. If that area is exposed to cold water, muscle tensions are very common.
Use a separate sponge for the genitals and wash gently.
Leave out the head completely when hosing down the horse. If water gets into the ears, the horse can lose its balance and the eyes can inflame easily. Use a damp sea sponge and clean gently not using too much shampoo.
We can't wait to give our horses a bath. But please remember: If you wash your horse, do it right and use natural grooming products.
Enjoy the sun until next week, Nicole