How do I remove grass stains from my horse?
Yippee! A sign of a healthy roll.
Well you can’t pre-treat and toss ‘em in the wash like your kid brother’s yucky soccer uniform. And usually you only find them after you have peeled back the layers of mud and stuff caked on your horse. Grass stains, like manure and urine stains, are organic. They also become harder to remove over time, so speedy removal is key here. Hocks, knees, and withers are common areas to find some lovely horse grass stains. A sign of a rolling good time, sure, but a pain to clean. Usually.
Stain removers are your friend here!
Most grass stains are best removed when your horse is already super oily and shiny! His totally balanced diet and wicked amounts of curry combing (that I know you all do) makes this happen. Luckily, if your horse is grass stained, he’s likely on pasture which is a great source of all things essential fatty acids and omegas, which create that oily bloom. But don’t go shampoo crazy and remove all of those oils every other day! And never use household detergents or cleaners - these are made for toilets and floors!
- Start with a thorough curry comb. For those bony areas use a flexible mitt or grooming gloves. If it’s shedding season, follow with a quick swipe of your dandy or soft brush to remove all of the green loose hair.
- Follow this up with a hot steamy towel. Think barber shop, where the towel is barely damp with hot hot hot water which creates the steam you are looking for. This will wipe away some more of the stain.
Stain creation in action.
- Use a dry shampoo on the stain directly, or spritz on the steamy towel. Dry shampoos, stain removers, no rinse shampoos, etc. all have the same mission - remove the stain, no need to set foot in the wash rack. I do like to wipe the stain again after some no rinse shampoo has been applied.
- Do not, I repeat, do not use laundry detergent on your horse. Laundry detergents are for your skivvies, your pantaloons, your blouses. They are harsh, can scald horse skin, and create brittle hair which allows more stain in. Luckily, modern technology like washing machines removes all of the residue. Last I checked your horse won't go in the washer.
- Focus on creating an oily coat so future stains don’t set. You may also want to try a whitening shampoo if the weather is nice enough for a shampoo. Again, because oil is the key here, make sure to protect your freshly shampooed horse with some shine spray or a sheet as the inevitable post bath roll happens.
- If you can, keep your horse covered with weather appropriate clothing to help prevent stains. Fly sheets in the summer, sheets or blankets in colder weather. You may also want to give your horse a sandy, no grass rolling area. Sand is easier to brush or vacuum out than trying to remove multiple green splotches.
Show Touch Ups are a miracle in a can. Great for show day.
- For super stubborn stains, you can use a dusting of baby powder or a colored show spray to mask green-ness. If you are not showing or riding in lessons, wearing a pair of dark sunglasses also works!
How do you prevent and treat grass stains on your horse?