Hassle-Free Horse Bathing

Spiff up your horse for spring riding with these grooming tips from top trainer Lynn Palm.
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Spiff up your horse for spring riding with these grooming tips from top trainer Lynn Palm.
As you work around your horse's head and poll, never get water in his ears. | Photo by Clix

As you work around your horse's head and poll, never get water in his ears. | Photo by Clix

As we head into spring, your horse is starting to shed his winter coat. You need to remove shedding hair and dead skin to help prevent growth of bacteria and fungi, and to inspect and treat any wounds. You also need to remove dirt, mud, and burrs.

You can go to work with a currycomb and shedding blade, but fortunately, it's finally warm enough to give your horse a good bath. Here, world champion trainer Lynn Palm demonstrates her hassle-free bathing technique.

This information is

especially helpful if you're introducing a young or inexperienced horse to bathing. Palm's equine model in the video is the yearling stallion My Royal Legacy, by the Quarter Horse stallion My Royal Lark.

You'll need: Halter; lead rope; bathing kit (bucket; sponge; shampoo; conditioner; mane-and-tail treatment; rubber curry; sweat scraper); wash area; hose.

Before you begin: Prepare the bathing kit. Outfit your horse in the halter and lead rope, and lead him to the bathing area.

First, says Palm, work/exercise your horse, so he'll be calmer during the bathing routine. Then cool him down. Make sure his nostrils are relaxed, which means he's cool from the inside out.

Palm uses a wash stall, snapping just one side of the cross-tie at a time, on the opposite side from where she's working. If you don't have a wash stall or wash rack, find an enclosed area with a corner barrier. This will give you control while giving your horse confidence.

Allow the water to run in front of your horse before you spray him with water. This will get him used to the water's sound and mentally prepare him for a bath.

As your horse accepts the water splashing in front of him (watch for a relaxed stance and lip-licking), apply water to his front legs. Praise him whenever he remains calm and accepts the bath.

Continue to bathe your horse, following the steps in this video tutorial. As you work around his head and poll, never get water in his ears. Always work slowly, and be sure to praise him as he accepts water on each new area. And don't forget to give him a drink!

For complete DVDs describing Lynn Palm's grooming techniques, visit www.lynnpalm.com.

Lynn Palm is the founder of Palm Partnership Training. She's shown more than 34 Quarter Horse world and reserve world champions, competing in both English and Western disciplines. She's won a record four American Quarter Horse Association Superhorse titles and was the first rider to win the prestigious Superhorse title twice on the same horse, Rugged Lark.