Bathing Faces

Bathing Faces

Bathing Faces

By Ruthann Smith
© 2011, Ruthann Smith, All rights reserved.
Originally Published in Equine Journal

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Bathing Face

This very difficult stallion from Peru is totally relaxed while getting his face rinsed.

Do you know that bathing faces can be a matter of life and death? I personally know 2 horses that have died from being sprayed in the face. Dead. And not pretty… One horse at Spruce Meadows resisted, flipped over and got a metal spike through his head. A grand prix horse in Wellington stepped back and slipped, breaking his hip and rupturing an artery- as broken pelvises are apt to do.

Horses resist for good reason. Water in their ears is unhealthy. Plus, it is traumatic. How would you like water forced at your face? Or, why would you get the horse supple in the morning and then tense him all up with something like the hose? Thing is, horses let you know spraying the face is problematic. So, be a keen horseman and listen well. Never spray a horse in the face.

It is important to keep faces clean. Otherwise, the hair falls out. And, crusty faces can't be comfortable. Grooming before and after work with a rubber mitt, brush and towel does wonders. There are also easy and relaxing ways to bathe faces:

A warm damp towel is the easiest solution. Fold the towel so it does not flap and rub vigorously. The heat and dampness will pull out the salt and dirt. Horses love this.

Rinsing with a sponge works well, but water may run down your arm. Just wet the sponge and press it on the face to rinse.

If a horse does not like its face washed, come from behind the ears. Massage therapist agree it is soothing to stimulate points at both the poll and the base of the forelock. Even very aggressive horses relax with this approach. The idea is to move the kinked hose up the neck/over the crest and then let water trickle over the poll to the forehead. There is a trick to it, so be careful and organized:

In my experience, every horse loves to have his face washed with the towel as well as from behind the ears. So, be careful and revel in your horse's pleasure.


I also like to back the horse into a corner when possible. That way, if the horse resists, it will tend to move backwards. Eliminating that option can simplify the process.

Bio Pic

Ruthann Smith has spent a lifetime studying sound horsemanship- both as a groom for top international horses and as a renowned braider. Quietly twisting manes atop a ladder, she watched and learned in some of the best stables in the world.

As her passion for great grooming grew, Ruthann became focused on researching, collecting and sharing the best practices of the world’s keenest horsemen. Ultimately, Ruthann used her vast experience to develop exceptional equine grooming products to help raise the bar of horsemanship.

The knowledge she dispenses and the products Ruthann developed solve age-old grooming issues. Making quality horse care easier, they have received the highest honors in the equine industry*. Her Lucky Braids for Top Turnout coat care and braiding products are the best, most versatile, cost-effective and easiest solutions available on the market today.

Now Ruthann offers her LOVE, LOVE Guarantee. If not totally thrilled with a product she developed, Ruthann will refund you in full, regardless of where you purchased it.

It’s her life’s mission to empower horses by educating, motivating and equipping their people to be true horsemen. You can access Ruthann’s tips at: The Grooming Resource on, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and her Horsemanship Clinics.

*After testing 350 products, Lucky Braids All-In-One Horse Shampoo was named product of the year by Horse Journal, the “Consumer Reports” of the industry. They also named Lucky Braids Shampoo and Top Pick for greys and whites. Lucky Braids specialized braiding yarn also got stellar reviews.