Your Must Have Grooming Supplies
By Chris, Five Star Ranch Staff Writer
Summer heat can be brutal on people and horses alike. Sometimes when my horses are looking especially drained from the heat, I’ll give them a treat of a nice bath. Over the years I’ve assembled a collection of favorite horse bathing supplies.
My horses love baths. In fact whenever I go out to fill up the water troughs, I’m usually accompanied by my two older mares who want a quick cool-off rinse. Anyone who doesn’t think animals communicate hasn’t seen my horses in action.
They’ll amble over to me and nudge me or the hose making it is very clear what they want. Then when I finally do pick up the hose and give them a quick rinse, they’ll stand quietly, no halter or lead line, enjoying the cool water running over their hot bodies. Since we’re in drought conditions this year’s rinses have been quicker than ever and usually double as watering one of the few green spots in the pasture.
When we’re getting ready for a show or a horsey get together, I like to clean up my horses a bit and a bath is in order. Over the years my horse bath grooming kit has grown. You can see the essential ingredients below.
First off, you need a dedicated wash bucket. Once I designate the bucket for baths, I don’t reuse that bucket for watering or feeding. I don’t like the idea of mixing an antifungal shampoo in it one day and having my horse drink out of the same bucket the next. Besides, the wash bucket becomes the storage container for all my bath grooming supplies.
The first two items that make up the bath kit itself are a big sponge – great for applying the shampoo mix after you’ve wet down the horse – and a plastic brush with a hose attachment – in theory you can attach this brush to the end of your hose, but in practice I rarely do that. Mostly I like it for working the water and shampoo around. The black rubber curry brush is great for working out loose hair and dander.
I’m a big proponent of horse massage and rubbing your horse to stimulate the skin and circulation. The rubber mit is my horses’s favorite item. Below you can see my older mare getting her tummy rubbed with the red mit. She loves it and will stand there enjoying it for as long as you’ll rub.
If you have a horse that is giving you fits when you try to bathe it, here’s a sure cure. I highly recommend you get one of these mits and bath time will very quickly turn in to a pleasurable experience for your horse which will put all your bath troubles behind you. Use the mit on all those hard to reach itchy spots and your horse will love you. Just be careful the horse isn’t overcome with gratitude and tries to groom you back.
My horse was cursed with the summer coat blahs. By July, her normally glossy coat is a dull lifeless bland color. Recently I’ve added a new product to my horse’s grooming kit. Its something that every woman over 40 knows about, but few have tried it on their horse. Of course, I’m talking about color enhancing shampoo for horses! It works wonders on a sun bleached coat. See the before and after pictures below.
Yes, that really is the same horse on the same day. The only difference is the picture on the right was taken a few hours after that color shampoo. Now the color is only temporary and will start fading out in a few days, but for a special occasion these new color enhancing shampoos are amazing.
Here’s a picture midway through the shampoo process. As you can see the bubbles for this color enhancing shampoo were bright pink. You apply it all over the horse and then let it sit on the hair for about 5-10 minutes. I’d recommend you wear old clothes the day you do the color bath because you’ll end up wearing some yourself.
I also keep an antibacterial, antifungal shampoo in my grooming kit that I use to ward off summer itch and other nasty skin conditions that seem to pop up more during the summer months.
The scraper is great for getting the extra water off of the horse. One of my geldings has extra sensitive skin and water trickling down his legs bothers him so I use the scraper a lot on him. The scraper is also handy during cooler days because it will help the horse dry more quickly. If its really cool out I’ll use a couple of towels to rub the horse down to further speed up the drying process.
One of the best reasons to use the scraper is that it helps to keep the horse from rolling after the bath – it’s not a guarantee, but it helps.
The final item in my bathing kit is really for after that bath. It’s the mane and tail detangler. I like Cowboy Magic but there are several good detanglers on the market. These provide a silicone coating to the main and tail and help eliminate snarls and tangles in the mane. It also adds a final polish and completes the look of a well groomed horse.