Poll Recap: Bathing Horses Warm or Cold

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Poll Recap: Bathing Horses Warm or Cold

Of the 1,071 poll respondents, 489 (46%) said no they did not have access to warm water, and that they bathed their horse in cold water.

Photo: Photos.com

In last week’s online poll, we asked our readers if they have access to warm water for bathing their horse. More than 1,000 people responded and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 1,071 poll respondents, 489 (46%) said no they did not have access to warm water and that they bathe their horse in cold water. Another 302 individuals (28%) said that they did have access to warm water in a wash rack or shower stall, while 131 people (12%) said they used a heated water source other than a wash rack to bathe their horse. Only 93 respondents (9%) said they used buckets of warm water from the house or other source to bathe their horses. The remaining 56 respondents (5%) said they do not bathe their horses.

Additionally, more than 120 people left comments about bathing their horse:

Poll Results

Many people commented that they bathe their horses with cold water:

  • “I have no access to warm or hot water, just cold. Starting at the foot and moving upwards, slowly.”
  • “I wish we had warm water, but not available.”
  • “I wish I had warm water access. Is there a benefit to warm vs. cold water?”
  • “Our cold water is not very cold, it is tepid.”
  • “I don't have access to warm water. If I did, I would bathe with it.”
  • “Only bathe with cold water in summer. Wish I had warm water!”
  • “Use the outside hose, only wash horses when hot enough.”
  • “Bathe with cold, but both my mares wish we had hot water.”
  • “Cold water in weather above 22 Celsius.”
  • “Sometimes I leave my hose out and the sun which warms it. Maybe someday I'll have warm water.”
  • “Fortunately I live in a very warm climate where a cold water rinse is usually welcomed after a ride.”
  • “I don't have access to warm water.”
  • “Only during the summer.”
  • “I use what comes out of the hose, only when she needs a rinse after hot ride or hot humid weather.”
  • “Cold, unless I have to bath in the winter, then I run a hose from the house for warm water.”
  • “The water isn't cold it's more like room temperature.”
  • “Bathe my horses only in summer time=cold water.”
  • “Have access to hot water, but in SE Texas, bathe in cold water.”
  • “I do not like using cold water but I have no choice.”
  • “I hate doing it too. Never in the winter though.”

Others said that they have access to warm water in wash rack or shower stall:

  • “My hot water heater in the barn is essential year round more often to cleanse wounds than bathe.”
  • “I love my insta-hot system!”
  • “Yes, my horse lives in a beautiful, well-managed facility--we are blessed!”
  • “Have an outdoor hot cold faucet, still don't wash them very often.”
  • “We have a tie post and hot water coming from our laundry/bathroom barn.”
  • “Portable hot water unit on wash rack”
  • “Built the wash area right next to the house so horses get the same warm water I do. Spoiled!”
  • “Generally don't bathe in winter but do have access to warm shower stall if necessary.”
  • “Fought the plumbers tooth and nail to get hot and cold running water to my wash rack, but I got it!”

Several people said they have access to warm water from other heated water sources:

  • “Use heating coil to warm water for baths”
  • “I use a plug in electric water heater in my 5 gallon bucket.”
  • “Real long hose coiled in the sun gives me a lot of warm water for bathing.”
  • “Portable propane powered on cart.”
  • “Small, cheap on-demand water heater s/small propane tank. Works great!”
  • “Have an Insta-hot propane unit. It's wonderful!”
  • “I put hot water in big IGLOO coolers & roll them out to the barn in the winter.”
  • “I had hot and cold water hooks placed in my garage.”
  • “I have a InstaHot washing system.”
  • “I have an outside faucet rigged for warm water from the house.”
  • “I set up a camping on demand propane hot water heater to be portable, can wash anywhere with water.”
  • “Hot water in barn for many purposes.”
  • “I use a mixer off my hot water heater & the well holding tank. No cold water for my old guy (28yo).”
  • “If we bathe a horse we use the same hot water source we use for our selves via long hose from house”

Some said they used warm water from buckets to bathe their horse:

  • “I let the bucket of water warm in the sun”
  • “I use sun warmed water to wipe him down after riding.”
  • “Heat water in pail in cold weather, bathe less.”
  • “Sometimes I fill a bucket and let it come up to air temp. Wish I had warm water in the barn.”
  • “Dark coloured barrels filled with water warms up in the sun and makes excellent bath water!”
  • “I let buckets of wash water warm in the sun while I ride.”
  • “I warm water in the sun ahead of time or bring 2 gallon jugs of warm from house.”

Several people left comments that they do not frequently bathe their horse, or do not bathe them at all:

  • “Our horses go to the river once its warm enough and go swimming, we don't over wash our horses.”
  • “The boys are 24/7 turned out.”
  • “I don't bathe my horse as a rule but carry warm water from the house when I do.”
  • “Do not bathe unless need to for accident treatment.”
  • “I infrequently bathe my horses, but when not just hosing down from a hot ride, I will use warm water.”
  • “I don't bathe them often, but when I need to it's nice to have warm water as an option.”
  • “His one, or two, baths a year are in the summer. I do have hot water available, outside.”
  • “Rarely do any bathing, but is sure nice to have available.”


A few people commented on how their location affects how they bathe their horse:

  • “Live in Texas, only bathe during warm weather and remember our warm weather is HOT HOT HOT”
  • “I live in GA, so in the summertime the horses like the cold water.”
  • “Living in central Florida, our well water is a comfortable temperature for bathing all year round.”
  • “In Florida we don't need warm water!”
  • “I live in Australia where it does not get very cold”
  • “For about 6-8 months out of the year in Phoenix the water comes out of the hose warm!”
  • “Living in Arizona, our water is never really cold.”
  • “Well water in Arizona comes out of the faucet at body temp - my horses don't mind tepid water though!”
  • “Southern summer - the water isn't that cold”
  • “Hot dry climate temps 100+ in summer. Rinse to cool them off versus truly bathing.”


Others left general comments on bathing their horse:

  • “I only bathe my horse after strenuous exercise and maybe before a show.”
  • “Don't bathe unless have warm water access.”
  • “I don't typically 'bathe' with shampoo, just rinse. Mainly use shampoo when there is a skin problem.”
  • “In winter I do hot baths but here in Florida it’s cold in the summer to cool them off quicker.”
  • “Only bath my horse all over about twice a year.”
  • “I only bathe my horses in the summer!”
  • “Horses shouldn't be bathed in cold water.”
  • “Horses are rinsed daily to remove sweat and salt/”
  •  “Depending upon the temperature, I always use warm water.”
  • “I wash off sweat but otherwise my white stallion keeps himself "sparkling" better than I could!”
  • “I use to use warm water but sold my farm & now board. The current wash rack only has cold water.”
  • “Our well water is cold - I use enough warm water to take the edge off. I wash in lukewarm water.”
  • “We're in the grip of a severe, years-long drought. Water to drink is more important than bathing.”
  • “We have a well that feeds the wash area so the water temp varies.”
  • “I do not think it is good to douse a hot horse with cold water. It also causes cramping.”
  • “My horse is 24 years old and I wouldn't dare to shower the elderly in chilly water”
  • “Still only use cold water in summer even though warm water available”
  • “We just use well water, 65' year round. If the weather is cold, they don't get baths.”
  • “Have warm water but rarely use it since I'm trying to cool him down most of the time.”
  • “I only bathe my horse w in the summer when its 85 degrees outside or an even warmer temperature.”

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: how do you manage your horses during fireworks? 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.

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