- Using cold water
You wouldn’t wash your own hair in cold water! Using warm water will allow your shampoos and products to lather much better. It also feels more pleasant for the horse. Mix your shampoo into warm water in a bucket and lather up and apply with a sponge or soft cloth
- Wasting the good shampoo.
There is no point in using expensive blue coloured shampoo to wash the top layer of mud and grime off your grey horse. The trick is to wash twice. The first wash is to remove the surface muck, dirt, sweat and grime and the second is to whiten any resistant yellow or green stains.
For your first wash you need a shampoo that will lather up well and have high cleaning power. My top recommendations won’t cost you much at all. Pantene shampoo, head and shoulders or good old washing up liquid will contain high levels of sodium laureth sulfate and will lather up well. Mix a capful of Dettol into the warm water and shampoo and all of the embedded grease and grime in the horses coat will float away in the rinse!
After rinsing, the second wash uses a stain removing shampoo to tackle any stubborn stains. There are a variety of these on the market. My pick of the equestrian brands would be Wahl Diamond White. My pick of the human variety would be Touch of Silver shampoo which you can buy in the supermarket. Lather up the stained areas with these shampoos, leave for a minute and rinse away.
- Not conditioning
The problem with shampooing a horse is that you have left the coat and skin exposed and any potential stains will actually stick easier and now be harder to remove. To avoid this, use a product with silicones or oils to provide a barrier between the skin and the stain. My personal favourite is pantene pro v conditioner. Apply to the coat and tail, leave a few minutes and rinse off. The coat will feel like silk afterwards! Do not apply this where your saddle will sit (it will slip!) . For manes, only use this if you won’t be plaiting. I find it fantastic for unruly Connemara manes. The canter coat shine and mane and tail products are also brilliant for barrier. Any stains will now sit on top of the coat and be less likely to seep through and stain the skin. This makes them much easier to remove.
- Washing too often
We have all experienced the pain of a grey horse and sadly if you have one, you will probably need to wash them often. For darker coloured horses though, washing too often will dull the coat and remove the horses natural bloom. A bath followed by feeding oils and a thorough grooming routine and keeping the horse in a light rug would be more effective then washing chestnut / bay / black horses frequently.
- Not being sensitive
It has often been recommended to me to use certain clothes washing gels on horses for whitening. By all accounts these work very well. Personally I don’t use them as I have sensitive skin and a lot of allergies so if I won’t put something on my own skin I won’t put it on my horses either. If you do plan on using these kind of products, bear in mind that they are not being used as intended so do a patch test on a very small area first and check the horse is okay after 24-48 hours before using on a bigger area. While most horses may be fine, it is always worth checking first to make sure you do not cause an allergic reaction.
All content produced on this site is my own original content. Please like and share but do not reproduce in any form without my prior permission. Thanks, L