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Summer Bathing Essentials

Posted on: August 15, 2023 by Annina McMillan
Woman bathing chestnut horse in Western headstall

With summer comes warm weather, summer rains, and horse shows! Washing a horse to get him show ready can be quite a messy event, so it’s crucial to use the most effective products. There’s nothing more disappointing than spending hours bathing and grooming your horse, only to realize he’s still dirty. Especially for anyone who has a Paint, gray, or a horse with lots of chrome. Those light colors and extra white take a lot to keep clean! Here are a few of my favorite products to get your horse sparkling clean and show-day ready this summer:

1. SmartPak Complete Clean Shampoo & Conditioner: A high-quality shampoo is essential to my summer bathing routine. I’ve used SmartPak’s Complete Clean Shampoo & Conditioner since it first came out; it gives my Pinto Titan a fantastic shine and smells amazing. I wash him more often due to all his white markings, so I value a shampoo that cleans well without being harsh on his skin. Formulated with all-natural ingredients, this shampoo is free of sulphates, phosphates, and parabens. Since the product also works as a conditioner, it leaves his coat feeling super silky, and I feel comfortable using it on his mane and tail to get those luscious locks clean without drying them out. This gives him a fantastic shine and smells wonderful! This is a great shampoo to use for summer bath times.

2. Eqyss Microtek Medicated Shampoo: I always keep Eqyss Microtek Medicated Shampoo on hand, because my horse has super sensitive skin and occasionally gets mystery hives, rashes, or swelling from bug bites. This shampoo is very gentle so I can use it even if Titan comes in from the pasture with scrapes. This can be used all over if necessary, but on some of the smaller rashes Titan gets, I use it as a spot treatment after bathing him with SmartPak’s Complete Clean Shampoo & Conditioner. I just add a little drizzle on my sponge and wash the affected area. This shampoo works best if gets the opportunity to set for a few minutes before rinsing off.

3. Vetrolin White 'N Brite: Since Titan is a Pinto with a lot of chrome, my wash stall isn’t complete without Vetrolin White 'N Brite. This has proven to be the best shampoo for getting all of his white markings super clean and as bright as possible. I typically save it for when I need to get Titan ready for shows or if he has a particularly stubborn stain to remove. To get Titan squeaky clean before a show, I thoroughly shampoo his entire body and allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing. In addition to brightening his white markings, this shampoo also brings out his dark bay patches. For spots that need a little extra help getting clean, I drizzle a bit onto my sponge and put in a little extra elbow grease on those spots. This shampoo is a must-have for horses with significant white markings or grays.

4. Effol Orca Sweat Scraper: Before trying the Effol Orca Sweat Scraper, I thought all sweat scrapers were more or less the same. This scraper is so efficient at whisking off water, it really cuts down on drying time after a bath. Shaped like a whale’s tail, this sweat scraper’s ergonomic design form really contours to your horse’s body to remove excess water smoothly and more effectively. Made with a durable yet flexible rubber, this scraper is also quite gentle, so I find even thin-skinned or sensitive horses tolerate it well.

Chestnut horse in crossties being sprayed off with hose

5. Knotty Horse Apricot Oil Recon Leave-In Conditioner: I love a nice mane and tail as much as the next equestrian, so I like to give Titan’s locks a little extra attention after a bath with a leave-in conditioner. The Knotty Horse Apricot Oil Recon Leave-In Conditioner is my go-to favorite; the spray bottle makes it super easy to apply to his entire mane and tail. I tend to apply a little extra to his dock to ensure the roots are fully moisturized. This conditioner also contains UV protection to help avoid sunburn on his white markings and to prevent his tail from sun bleaching. I also love that it’s free of parabens, preservatives, and sulfates.

6. Cowboy Magic Super Body Shine: After Titan is all nice and squeaky clean, I saturate his entire coat with Cowboy Magic Super Body Shine. This conditioner leaves a wonderful sheen on his coat for the show ring and is quick drying for touch-ups between classes. Plus, since it helps repel dust, I find it helps keep Titan looking cleaner for longer. I always include this step in my bathing routine if we’re expecting dusty days or to help keep him clean for the show ring.

7. April Power Shower Sponge with Tiger's Tongue: A quality sponge is essential for achieving a clean, sparkly coat, especially for horses that love to get dirty. The dual-sided April Power Shower Sponge with Tiger's Tongue is a great all-in-one tool. The “Tiger Tongue” side is great for tackling dirt, debris, sweat marks, and tough stains that need a little extra scrubbing, while the sponge side is soft, absorbent, and perfect for distributing shampoo. This sponge is also great for dogs in case your pup gets into something extra fun while at the barn.

8. Hooflex Conditioner: Our fantastic SmartPak Hoof Health Consultant, Danvers Child, C.J.F., explained that transitioning from wet-to-dry or dry-to-wet environments can be particularly stressful on horses’ hooves. To help support Titan’s feet during moisture changes, I always apply a hoof conditioner to all four of his hooves before bathing him. This is crucial for horses with hooves that are prone to cracking and for those requiring frequent baths. My personal favorite is Hooflex Conditioner. It comes with a brush affixed to the cap for quick and easy applications; plus, it’s antibacterial and antifungal, which is especially important during the wet months.