What are the Pro bath time tips??
Grab your rubber ducky and your shampoo, and get ready to get wet.
Here are the usual tools that I get ready to use for bathing my horses:
- Small bucket, with a smidge of shampoo (about twice what you would use for yourself is a good place to start.) Add warm or hot water to the bucket with shampoo, so that it's not ice cold as you are finishing up.
- Your fave shampoo
- Big sea sponges
- Some sort of water curry, like a pimple mitt or a jelly curry (you may not need to use these if your horse is clipped.)
- Soft washcloth(s) or tiny sponges for noses, faces, etc.
- Towels (I like to use half of a bath towel, any bigger and your horse can step on them as you dry legs, or they drag on the ground as you dry)
- Sweat scraper
- Hoof dressing
**Please pay attention to the weather. Sunny and 60 is not the same as overcast and 60 with a cold breeze. If you have an indoor, heated, covered, hot water wash rack with a solarium to dry, I'll be right over.
Before I start, I apply some hoof dressing to keep the water out of my horse's nail holes. This also seems to help the coronary band from getting flakey if it's going to be wet for a long time. Can't prove if this does anything or not, but it makes me feel better.
I start by wetting the horse from hooves up. I beg you to use water that's not icy cold, even in summer. Remember the shock of jumping in the pool full of cold water?? Adjust the temp if need be. Keep one finger in the stream to monitor the temp of the water. Then I add warm water to the sponge bucket, and using the sea sponge, I apply a layer of suds one side at a time, top down (gravity helps here.) Then the remaining suds in the bucket are used to dunk the tail into. You will need a smidge more shampoo for the mane and tailbone.
Use your rubber curry, mitt, or glove to massage and curry the shampoo in. Before you begin the crazy rinsing marathon, grab your sweat scraper and use it as a shampoo scraper. This removes a lot of the suds, and will save you time and water when rinsing.
Rinse the mane first, and then from top down (again, gravity is your friend.) I really like a nozzle with multiple settings, the "fan" or "flat" setting is my favorite, it acts like a squeegee and pushes the dirt and suds out. I don't suggest using this setting for the mane and tail or anywhere near the head, "shower" setting works well there. Rinse the tail last.
Use your little sponges to wash the face (here are more details on that) and your towels to dry the legs.
Sweat scrape. If you see bubbles, rinse again. I can't stress the importance of the rinse. Product can be drying, and that can lead to rubbing, allergic reactions, dandruff, and sticky hairs. The most critical part of a shampoo bath is the sweat scraping. This facilitates the drying process, and in the summer can prevent your horse from overheating. Water left on your horse becomes trapped in their coats and heats up quickly.
As far as tips to keep yourself dry, I got nada. I always get wet. However, depending on weather, I may use a waterproof light jacket, or I may just dry in a millisecond because it's so hot. I also suggest waterproof shoes, I hate soggy socks.