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AskHQ: Frequency of washing

Q: How often should you ideally bathe your horse?

A: There isn’t really a clear answer to this question, but one thing is for sure – you should be bathing your horse as infrequently as you can.

Your horse’s coat is full of naturally occurring oils that protect the skin and keep it healthy. Some of these oils also provide the shine that we want for a show, so frequent washing for show purposes is actually not always as beneficial as one might think. A horse with a dry coat and flaky skin from too much shampooing isn’t going to look great or win too many prizes!

There are plenty of situations in which we find ourselves reaching for the shampoo when in reality, a much simpler cleaning process would do. For example:

  • If you just want to rinse the sweat from your horse, do exactly that – rinse! You don’t need to bathe your horse after a workout.
  • If you are going to a show and want to bathe your horse but can get away with just shampooing the mane and tail, or just the legs, this is worth doing and preserves the oils in the coat.
  • If you are trying to remove a specific stain, rather spot clean than give the body a full wash.
  • If your vet has recommended a medicated shampoo to treat a skin condition in your horse, ask if you must wash the whole body or just spot wash the affected areas. If you can just wash small patches, this is better for the coat in general.

Of course, if it is necessary to bathe the whole body, you must do this, but the longer you can leave it between baths, the better your horse’s coat and skin health!