Heart & Soul Equine

Heart and Soul Equine was established out of a real desire to help horses. I also love helping folks, through useful information, become better partners with a horse. This information provides for a happier horse, therefore a better outcome and relationship for both.

Ahhh …the Winter Bath Dilemma

Most people struggle with the idea of winter baths for their horses, but sometimes you have no choice due to excess sweat or just plain mud. If your horse is healthy, you should be able to bathe safely. Think twice with horses that have compromised immune systems, elder horses, young babies or a horse that has just gotten over being sick. Of course it is good to keep bathing to a minimum in the dead of winter, but if you are quick and careful, winter baths can be safe and healthy. Here are some ideas to help you with the best outcome for your horse.

  1. Ideally you would have warm water to use (ask yourself how you would feel about a cold outdoor shower on a cold day). If there is no hot water available at your boarding facility, consider using a portable water heater. These are available at your local camping supply store for a reasonable price, and can be used anywhere, year after year.
  2. Bathe in a closed area if possible, or even a stall depending on your situation. It is best to try to keep your horse out of drafts before and after bathing.
  3. Try washing the front half of your horse first, then put a cooler (a blanket made of material that wicks water away and keep the horse warm) on that half while you wash the back half. A bucket and a sponge would be better than a running hose, limiting the amount of water on the skin.
  4. Use a small amount of good rinsing soap to help expedite the rinsing process.  Try different brands during the summer to find out which work best.
  5. Wash the face with a wash cloth with careful attention around the ears, throatlatch and under the jaws where sweat seems to appear more often.
  6. Get rid of excess water as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. After scraping with a sweat scraper, found at local tack stores, try using bath towels to towel-dry as much of the horse as you can.
  7. After the bath, keep the horse covered until he or she is dry. Use two coolers if possible. Use a light one underneath a warmer one for best results. Always keep the chest of the horse covered. Change the light cooler underneath after a while to a different dry one if you have them available as this will help with drying the horse faster.
  8. Dry or waterless shampoos are useful for spot cleaning when a full bath isn’t necessary.
  9. Wintergreen rubbing alcohol is a good, quick remedy to dissolve and wipe away sweat under saddles, in the girth area and anywhere where excess sweat accumulates. You can find this at any local drug store near the regular alcohol.
  10. Don’t forget to clean your stall to keep your horse and your blankets as clean as they can be.

 With a quick bath procedure and a bit of thought, your horse should do fine.



Leave a Reply

It is easy to forget in our day to day work with horses that there is much more involved than just hopping on and riding. Sandi reminds us that it is our responsibility to be the best caretakers possible for our trusty friends. It is also important not to become complacent in our dealings with horses and people connected with them… we should always strive to educate ourselves more, staying up to date with the latest news and information. Sandi’s 8 essentials are exactly that… Essential!

A. Milne – 36 Year Riding Veteran, Horse Owner and Equine Artist