Bathing Alternatives by Ruthann Smith

Bathing Alternatives

Heating Water

Cold backs and muscles make horses prone to soundness problems. Soap MUST be rinsed well, or skin irritations will ensue.  So, without warm running water, bathing is not a wise option. YET, those competing or getting clipped need to be clean. There are two very viable options for bathing without wetting horses.


The Queen’s Treatment

The Queen's Treatment is what we call a technique learned from a groom that worked for the Queen of England. Hot moisture pulls dirt out of the coat. It uses hot water, but the horse only gets damp. If done correctly, it never really gets wet.

Here’s what you need:

  • A bucket, preferably 5 gallon or larger.
  • Hot water. If you use a portable heater, NEVER put your hand in the water when the heater is plugged in. You could get electrocuted. It has happened.
  • A clean dry towel, preferably white and bath-sized. A clean medium dandy brush

 To get started, dip the towel in the hot water. Wring it out well and fold the towel neatly, and hold it flat on one palm. In your dominant hand, hold the dandy brush. Every time you brush over the horse, end the stroke by swiping the brush over the hot damp towel. When that face of the towel gets dirty, refold it. You don’t want to be spreading dirt. Readjust the towel for a clean face as needed, or until it is cold (not pulling out dirt). Then, dunk the towel to clean and wring it out. Refold it and continue. You’ll be amazed at how clean you can get the horse. Get fresh hot water as needed. Most horses can get clean with 1.5 buckets of water. Dirtier ones may need 3.  


Don't have time?

If you are ringside or don’t have the time, Lucky Braids Whitener/Dry Wash, which you can find here, is an enzymatic spray that simply separates the hair from the dirt. This spray does not parch the coat, nor leave a residue. Since it is not a bleach or detergent, it works great on ANY COLOR COAT. Using Whitener in the name was short-sighted, as the solution is so versatile. This Dry Wash is a liquid, but you don’t need much. In fact, you don’t even scrub. Just let it sit for a moment and wipe off. For a deep clean, spritz and brush the Whitener/Dry Wash into the coat. Then, dirt will brush out or towel off readily. Deep old stains may need a little more time. But, once you are ahead of the tough stains, this product will make it quick and easy to keep horses clean.

The Lucky Braids Whitener/Dry Wash is a handy way to keep all tails, socks and hocks super clean all winter.

Dirt is dries out hair and skin, making it prone to irritation, itching and rubs. So, these are super handy options for keeping your horses clean and comfy all winter long.


Special thanks to Cathy McEnroe for teaching me The Queen’s Treatment and Laurie Pitts for this pic. Laurie got a Top Turnout Salute for being one of the few with hot water at Harrisburg. 

Ruthann Smith
Ruthann Smith


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.