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.
Clipping can be comfy.
Many people inadvertently teach horses to dislike being body clipped. Horses get burned by hot blades. So, make sure yours stay cool.
Tune into the temp. Keeping blades clean and well lubricated is key. Clean the blades by using a soft brush parallel to the teeth, so as to prevent itching and not to dull them. Keep the teeth well oiled as well. Periodically let blades cool off or switch out machines.
If your horse does not like clippers, you can turn the tide by desensitizing him. Start by "using" the clippers without turning them on. Do that until the worry is gone. Then, add your own verbal buzzing. Eventually, you can turn on the blades. Only use them for a few moments. Stop before he worries. Done often, short spurts will help build confidence.
Have you ever met an old world, true horseman? They have a deafening silence about them. Horses LOVE that stillness inside. It is clear leadership for the herd animal. They fold into the quiet mind and follow the lead. True stillness translates as confidence.
Many people are not aware of their own energy. I find the most important aspect of getting a horse past fear is the person’s own energy. Horses HEAR YOUR FEELINGS. They mirror your inner voice. If you are worried, the horse just knows there is a problem. So, he gets defensive. If you anticipate problems, things will not go well. So, be still inside. You’ll be amazed how much that can accomplish.
Another way to build confidence is to instantly calm the horse with no aids or drugs. If he feels really relaxed, he won't worry. Here are proven quieting techniques.
Blades can stay cooler and sharper longer, if you bathe before clipping with Lucky Braids All-In-One Shampoo, which you can buy here. After clipping, Lucky Braids Shampoo uniquely helps restore the coat's shine and natural defenses.
The next post will address how to manage if bathing is not practical.