Five Most Common Myths about Bathing Horses

I don’t know about you, but I have this certain sense of euphoria after the first horse bath of the season here in New England. Watching that water slide down my mare’s legs taking away months of winter grundge … heaven.  Getting that giant tail of her’s super clean and tangle free. How do you explain to a non-horse person? There are no words.

With the warm weather comes sweatier workouts and a show schedule. Before you grab your bucket, sponge and scraper, let’s talk about the five most common myths about bathing horses. Ready?

 1. Horses love being clean.

There may be a horse out there in the world that loves being all spit and polish all the time, but for most horses it’s all about the roll. And if there is good dust or mud involved, even better. Horses roll for four different reasons:

  • for pleasure
  • for self maintenance or grooming
  • to relieve pain or discomfort
  • or for rest

If your horse is not in a situation where rolling is dangerous or inappropriate, allow him to roll. It is one of the few personal pleasures a domesticated horse has, so let him enjoy it and don’t worry about your wasted grooming job!

2. That frequent bathing will damage a horse’s coat.

Many shampoos can strip coats. They actually can make a horse dirtier by leaving hair parched and porous.  Equine professionals who are on a heavy show schedule tell us that the frequent baths are not a problem though. By simply taking into account their horse’s skin sensitivity and surface coat condition, they rely on shampoos that contain natural ingredients, ones that have herbs to relieve soreness, or ones that target stains or dry skin.

Emerald Valley’s very new Orange Oil Shampoo contains Orange essential oil which promotes the production of collagen as well as increase the blood flow to the skin. It is helpful at soothing dry, irritated skin.  And as an extra added bonus…  Oranges generally contain an ingredient that wards off insects, ticks, flies and mosquitoes. So if your horse is covered in insect bites, the orange oil in the shampoo can take away the itching sensation and cool the area. So a daily shampoo can become therapeutic.

3. That horse shampoos are all the same.

One of the most common and drying ingredient in popular horse shampoos is sodium chloride (salt). You want a shampoo rich in aloe vera and vitamin E. A good all-in-one shampoo should actually condition by nourishing and moisturizing rather than just coating the hair. Very important! Shampoo needs to be pH balanced for horses. Otherwise, it is difficult to rinse, leaves a film that attracts dust and depletes the skin.

Tea tree oil is nature’s best antiseptic and antifungal. Emerald Valley Shampoo with tea tree oil is produced from the finest quality tea tree plant from New South Wales border region of Australia.  Awesome for frequent bathing and super clean rinsing.

4.  Is it a MYTH that when you wash a horse in cold water it can cause kidney damage?

It’s a myth. There was a study performed at the Atlanta Olympics that showed that hosing a horse with cold water or pouring buckets of it over him is actually a very efficient way to cool them off and it does not damage them (They suggested hosing/pouring, sweatscraping, then hosing/pouring, sweatscraping, as the best way to cool a horse off quickly). The scraping part is vital.

and five….

Horses love being clean.

If you have any questions about our natural shampoos and or the ingredients, please give us a call. And as always, thanks for riding along with us.


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