Poll Recap: Bath Time

Of the 1,198 respondents, 790 (66%) said they rinse their horse after every ride during the warm months.

Photo: Erica Larson, News Editor

How often do you rinse or bathe your horse? We posed this question to our readers in last week’s online poll. More than 1,190 people responded and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 1,198 respondents, 790 (66%) said they rinse their horse after every ride during the warm months. Another 75 individuals (6%) said they only rinse or bathe their horse before shows and clinics, while 70 respondents (6%) said they rinse or bathe their horse once a month. An additional 62 respondents (5%) said they rinse or bathe their horse weekly, while 58 respondents (5%) rinse or bathe their horses annually. Just 12 individuals (1%) said they only wash their horse’s tail, and the remaining 131 individuals (11%) said they rarely or never rinse or bathe their horse.

Additionally, more than 100 people left comments about rinsing or bathing their horse:

Poll Results

Many commented that they rinse or bathe their sweaty horse after a long ride or work:

  • “We use soap only very occasionally, but we do rinse the lather off them after every ride.”
  • “I groom before riding and he gets rinsed or a full bath after each ride; it depends on length of ride.”
  • “My horse is hosed off after work and bathed weekly.”
  • “I never bathe my horse, but I will rinse him off on hot days when sweaty. I think a good brushing is better.”
  • “I rinse off sweat, but no shampoo. I only use soap a couple of times a year.”
  • “I usually sponge off sweat and scrape after. Then I allow him to roll to his heart's content.”
  • “I rinse my horse whenever salt, sweat, and dirt build up enough to be an irritation.”
  • “I may just rinse the sweaty areas to clean off dirt and sweat. I wash with equine soap before a show.”
  • “I rinse to cool down and get off saddle marks, and use soap before shows or clinics”
  • “He gets rinsed off if he is really hot and/or sweaty.”
  • “I bathe my horse after a lesson or any ride that he worked really hard in.”
  • “If he's sweaty I don't use soap. If he's dirty I use soap. If we're showing I use soap.”
  • “My gray gets bath before a ride sometimes, too.”
  • “I bathe during warm weather and before shows, but rinse sweat off after every ride.”
  • “I rinse after sweaty rides and bathe occasionally.”
  • “My horse is rinsed after rides on hot days and gets baths with soap before shows.”
  • “My horse is rinsed without soap.”
  • “I rinse the saddle patch and sweaty bits.”
  • “My horse gets a bath once a year and a rinse off when sweating.”
  • “I rinse the saddle area after riding and bathe about every two months.”
  • “I rinse before and after riding. I almost never use shampoo.”
  • “If they work up a full sweat, or they appear uncomfortably hot (they'll get a rinse). I vaccuum instead of bathe.”
  • “I will rinse after a hot hard sweaty ride, and occasionally wash manes and tails.”
  • “I don't use soap, just water to get the sweat off and bring temperature down.”
  • “When he gets sweaty running around in the field (I rinse him off). Just using water brings up his natural oils.”
  • “I rinse after rides but hardly bathe my horse.”
  • “I rinse as needed when sweated up after exercise or in extreme heat. Otherwise just tail washing.”
  • “In Ohio, I shampoo a couple of times a year. After hot summer rides they get cool water rinses.”
  • “At my barn in the Phoenix, AZ area, we hose down our horses before and after each ride in the summer.”
  • “When my horse is sweaty, I always rinse her off. Then she goes and has a good roll.”
  • “If he's sweaty, he gets rinsed. Full baths are relatively rare.”
  • “My horse gets rinsed off in the summer if sweaty and bathed before shows.”
  • “After every ride if she is sweaty during the warm months.”
  • “I use soap one to two times per week, and water after every ride.”
  • “I rinse after hard work or before a show.”
  • “I don't use soap more than 5 or 6 times per year, but sponge and/or rinse away sweat after exercise.”
  • “I like to use shampoo several times a year to deep clean, but we rinse after every ride to cool off.”
  • “I rarely shampoo, but hose off after every hot ride; it gets the itchy sweat off.”
  • “My horses are washed to take off sweat and dirt. They love it.”

Several people commented that weather affects when/how often they rinse or bathe their horse:

  • “I live in FL and if my horse is sweating during those hot and humid days, I just give her a rinse.”
  • “My horse has issues in hot weather.”
  • “My horse gets rinsed if he's hot during the day if I'm at the barn, especially if he's sweaty at all”
  • “My horse is hosed off twice a day during summer here in southern Arizona.”
  • “It's frequently 95 degrees by the time we get done riding. I have to rinse him!”
  • “My mare doesn't sweat so I'm constantly hosing her down to cool her off. We live in Florida!”
  • “My horse gets hosed usually only on very hot days, occasionally if he is very dirty.”
  • “South Florida heat, humidity, and mud, means rinsing is frequent. I use shampoo about once a month.”
  • “We live in the Arizona desert. Sweating is a way of life! We hose off but don't usually use soap.”
  • “Two of my three horses love to get wet and I soak them regularly thru the hot Texas summer.”
  • “It gets hot here in central Kentucky, so I bathe my horse after every ride.”
  • “Over 90 degrees, my horses are rinsed up to twice daily.”
  • “I might rinse if its very hot but, allow her to go roll right after.”
  • “I've been hosing my mare's legs off almost every day with all of this rain/mud we've been having.”
  • “It somewhat depends on how much mud we have from bad weather.”
  • “During colder months, it is only done when temps are over 40 degrees F.”
  • “It varies depending on the horse's use and the weather.”

Others said they rarely rinse or bathe their horse:

  • “My filly is in a large pasture and does not get very dirty so we do few baths.”
  • “Mine are trail/pet horses. They get washed when it rains.”
  • “I bathe once a year or when needed. Health is more important than appearance.”
  • “I don't bath my horse with soap products, unless it is a must! I have bathed three times in 11 years!”
  • “Once in a while she gets a full-blown bath.”

A few people said they only bathe their horses before shows or clinics:

  • “I only bathe my horse before shows.”
  • “She only gets full bathes before shows.”
  • “Full bath for shows. They get sprinklers and shower themselves in hot weather.”

Some commented on alternatives to rinsing or bathing:

  • “We use an air compressor and blow the dirt off of them. They don't get wet and the stand well for it.”
  • “I always brush down after a ride and pat the area to get circulation going. It's better than washing.”
  • “They do get regular grooming, and all the rolling in grass and dirt they want.”

And others left general comments and suggestions:

  • “Always dry the legs to prevent fungus in summer months.”
  • “My horse has many allergies, including all flies. Rinsing the sweat off helps him a lot.”
  • “They love baths! Then go and roll...”
  • “Water is too valuable here to waste.”
  • “Our horses like standing in the rain more than a bath”
  • “With the frequent rains in the Northwest our horses get bathed by Mother Nature enough to suit them!”
  • “Rain does a pretty good job and my barn isn't ideal for washing a horse.”
  • “Frequent grooming cleans his coat and allows the oils in his skin to keep it hydrated and healthy.”
  • “You should wash your horse after every ride because he will get all sweaty easily.”

You can find out more about how to safely clip and bathe your horse and the basics of grooming a horse on TheHorse.com! 

This week we want to know: Do you have access to warm water for bathing your horse? Vote now and share your comments at TheHorse.com!

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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