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How often do you bathe your retired horses?



even my working horses only get a bath with soap 1 or 2 times a year, just water is plenty


I don’t have a problem with shampoo. I mean, racehorses get washed with shampoo every single day of their lives in training and have some of the nicest coats you will ever see.

I just don’t find shampoo baths necessary for my herd of minimally working backyard horses. Their coats are glossy and clean right up with brushing or a quick water only rinse. There are rarely times I need more than that.


No we are discussing baked in salt. Not dirt. It’s likely not an issue for you in Canada. Here in the sub tropics it’s a real thing. Leaving baked in salt makes the horses itchy. And it doesn’t rinse out w plain water. IYKYK.


I live in Virginia. The dried salt on my horses rinses out perfectly well with plain water and a sweatscraper.


Yeah, I agree–I have no problem getting sweat out of the coat. I love how soft and clean they feel once they dry. There’s no residue, no soap necessary.

Maybe it’s a water pressure or hard water issue? I can see how it could be hard to rinse in either case.


Dried out salt washes fine w water. Baked in salt doesn’t.


No it’s a baked in salt issue.

When I’m rinsing every single day, stalling in the daytime, or it’s not excessively hot and also raining regularly it’s a non issue. Once the salt bakes in you need soap.


I don’t find that to be the case at all.

So if your horse rinses clean, super. If he doesn’t, slap some shampoo on and bet he will.

It’s astounding that it’s controversial to have situations where horses might need a dollop of shampoo.

Even wilder, it’s controversial that I find using a dollop of shampoo weekly helps my horse to be more comfortable in high summer not that I bathe my horse weekly for shows. I guess the latter would be more acceptable :rofl:


This thread is making me feel better - I always feel guilty that I basically never wash my horses. :smile: I even took my new guy to our first show together without a bath. He was already so shiny!


Older cushings pony gets bathed before clipping and once before winter blankets go on.
All others get bathed before winter coats and once after shedding.

I do wash tails weekly in warm weather and once a month in winter.

It’s obviously NOT controversial. Nobody here is saying that using shampoo is a bad thing. Some people have different experiences than you. That appears to be controversial to you and that’s the only controversy.

Personally (5 decades horse ownership in the deepest south) it’s not required. It’s faster with shampoo (surfactants will do that) especially if you have lousy water pressure. It’s just as fast with dilute vetrolin/alcohol spray. Water and a grooming curry are also effective. Warm water is effective. Just rinsing the horse and letting him stand around wet for 5 minutes while you work on something else then coming back and doing a proper rinse also works. And you know what? A sprayer and a little more time with just water also works.

Also, pro tip. While the South got more than it’s fair share of heat this summer, it can get baking hot just about everywhere these days, Canada included.


Dude, I’ve made no stand on shampoo vs no shampoo. You’ve been insisting shampoo is the only thing that will rinse crusty sweat. That’s not been my experience, or others here. That’s all.

You do you, but don’t tell me that

Because nope, I don’t. That’s cool you do, but that’s not a universal experience. Maybe due to water pressure, or what minerals are in the water, or specifics with the horse, I don’t know. And I don’t quite get why this is a hill you want to die on.


My original comment included YMMV bc I don’t expect that my experience is universal.

But some folks seem to think that bc YM did indeed vary that my mileage is false? I dunno but it’s nuts


Again YMMV as per my original comment. I find I need soap to cut baked in salt. That’s super you don’t.

I’m not dying on a hill. I’m posting on COTH about bathing horses.

Lol you literally came back and replied in multiple posts to people who shared their own, different experience, that it wasn’t possible to rinse baked on sweat with just water. No one was claiming you were wrong. Just that they could.


Ok well I’m not trying to say you (specific and general) have to / need to / ought to use soap. Your (specific and general) experience being that you do not need soap does not invalidate my experience that I need soap.

And it’s not bc all these horses I have been dealing with for 30 yrs have metabolic disorders / weird water mineralization / low water pressure. It’s bc they sweat dry out sweat roll dry out and sweat some more for a period of time and the result is a cross between mud pies and salt dough baked into their coats in a sticky veneer that doesn’t rinse away after a curry and a shower and appears to make the horses itchy.

There are other situations where more than water is the most effective route IME. Dried, sticky urine and tree sap come to mind. If anyone wants to avoid soap and curry off horse piss that’s cool too.

It’s soap. It’s not hurting the horses.


I also deal with this. It does not curry out. It does not rinse out. It definitely needs soap to really get it off. It was much better this year when I kept the horses in during the day and they didn’t get as sweaty.


This summer was particularly bad in my area. We are back to just regular hot now thank goodness.

Same experience that keeping the horse up in the day definitely helps avoid the problem here too.

And when my horse was having an acute anhidrosis attack he wasn’t getting salt baked into his coat. Unfortunately.