1. Dilute the shampoo. It’s tempting to squirt shampoo directly onto a muddy horse or your wash mitt, but undiluted soap can be difficult to rinse, and residue left behind can dry and irritate the skin. Instead, dilute shampoo in a bucket of water before application.
2. Use a mesh shower “scrubbie” instead of a sponge. Not only will a scrubbie remove stains better, but it dries out quickly, making it less hospitable for mold and other bacteria.
3. Pay attention to areas you can’t see. Parts of your horse that aren’t easy to wash probably need it the most. Squat and contort yourself as necessary to safely scrub your horse’s midline, a favorite feasting place for small insects. Also clean under his jawbone and scrub the roots of his mane and tail, checking for ticks as you work.
This article first appeared in EQUUS issue #454, July 2015.