Horse shampoo and conditioner – how to choose

Most people love horses, but those of us lucky enough to spend time with them on a regular basis, riding them and taking care of them, love these striking creatures even more!

If you are one of the people fortunate enough to interact with horses often, providing them with the best care is probably a high priority.

So, what is the proper way to clean your horse? Which hygiene products will help you keep your horse healthy and happy? Keep reading and find out.

How often and when to wash your horse?

The answer to this question depends on several variables.

For once, like us humans, every horse has a unique type of skin and a unique type of hair strand, each type gets dirty at a different pace and reacts differently to being washed.

Some horses can be bathed often, for other horses, frequent washes result in dry, itchy, and flaky skin. Be attentive to your horse’s condition and decrease the frequency you wash it if you notice such skin irritations.

Moreover, the weather should be considered. It is best to avoid washing your horse when the weather is cold since, much like us, your horse can catch a cold. If you must wash your horse in cold weather, use plenty of towels to dry off excess water.

When you finish, don’t use towels or old blankets to keep your horse warm, instead, make sure that the stable is properly padded with plenty of straw.

Unlike other materials which get cold when they are damp, straw keeps a stable temperature even when it’s wet, making it ideal for keeping your horse warm after a wash.

How to wash your horse?

Horses don’t only have different types of hair and skin, as we all know, every single horse is a completely different being, with different tempers, likes, dislikes, preferences, and quirks.

So naturally, when it comes to bathing horses there is no technique that works well for all horses. One thing that is generally recommended is to start by brushing your horse to remove and lift any shed hair strands and dirt that might be caught in its coat.

For washing skittish horses or those genuinely afraid of water, use a bucket and sponge. Start from the legs and gently work your way up. With such horses, it is best to refrain from using a hose.

Horse care
Horse care

How to choose the best type of grooming products?

Craftsmen, medical doctors, artists, beauticians, pharmacists, and engineers – the one thing in common, between this seemingly random group, is that they will all agree that in any type of chore you need to execute, the quality of materials you use will greatly affect your outcome.

Hence, when you approach the task of choosing appropriate hair products for your horse, it is recommended to take into account several types of elements:

Health considerations

Just as we can suffer from a dry scalp due to the use of certain types of detergents, horses can suffer from dry, flaky, and itchy skin if they are washed too often or if they are washed using detergents not suitable for them.

If you encounter such skin problems even though you don’t wash your horse excessively, the hair care products you use might be the problem. Change the products you use and choose a shampoo that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that could cause damage and irritation. Materials that could cause a problem include:

  • Silicon

Have you ever wondered why there is silicon in many types of hair products? The main role of silicon in hair products is to leave the hair shiny and soft. It does so by coating the hair strands with a thin film. The problem is that since it seals the hair strands, moisture cannot penetrate, and the horse’s coat eventually dries out. This results in a coat that feels rough and unpleasant to touch.

  • SLS

Another potentially problematic substance used in detergents for horses is SLS (an acronym for sodium lauryl sulfate, also known as sodium dodecyl sulfate). When used in detergents, this substance mixes with the oil that coats the horse’s skin & hair and helps strip it off and clean the area. The problem with this substance is it often strips too much oil, leaving the coat dry.

Warning signs

Thin hair might be an indicator that something is wrong. Your horse might be suffering from a disease or injury that reduces their appetite, cause nutrient differences, and eventually manifest in the loss of hair.

But even after the causing condition is treated, the missing hair does not magically regrow overnight.

Since the coat of a horse has a significant role in its protection, it is best to take action and not simply wait for it to grow back at its own pace.

Use pet shampoos and conditioners rich in minerals, essential oils, and vitamins. These natural components encourage hair growth and balance the skin’s natural moisture & oil levels.

Even horses with thick hair can benefit from the use of such shampoos and conditioners since each hair strand eventually dies off and a new strand needs to replace it. Therefore, we at PetEx formulate products full of these beneficial ingredients.

Horse care
Horse care

The importance of a perfectly balanced shampoo

The natural oil on your horse’s coat and skin doesn’t only make the coat feel soft and pleasant to touch, it also helps protect the horse’s body. Firstly, since water and oils do not mix, the oil on the coat and fur serves as a water-resistant layer, isolating your horse from the cold and helping to keep it warm.

In addition, the oils on a horse’s coat and skin help protect the hair strands, keep them strong, and prevent hair strands from breaking off. This is important as the coat shields the horse from the sun, pests, and other menaces.

If you feel that your horse’s coat is in bad condition, even though the horse is completely healthy in all other aspects, consider changing the detergent you are using.

Switch to a silicone-free and sulfate-free formula or try a brand that knows how to perfectly balance the formula so that it cleans without stripping these important natural oils.

Ethical considerations

The love for horses stems from a deep connection to nature. This connection to nature manifests itself in various ways, and most people who raise animals or manufacture and sell products for animals, care deeply for the wellbeing of all animals.

This means that in the market today, you can purchase a variety of cruelty-free and environmentally friendly horse products. Shampoos, conditioners, detangling sprayers, and even pest repellents – all can be bought without compromising your ethical views.

Grooming considerations

The decision to purchase products with no harsh chemicals that were manufactured in an ethical manner narrows down your options quite a bit, but to make the best choice, you need to find a product that matches your horse’s needs. There are a few things you can do in order to find the right product.

Making an educated guess

If you are familiar with various horse breeds, you probably know that coats, manes, and tails come in many different textures and types.

The American Bashkir Curlies, for example, are living proof, they are covered in curly locks all over, their hair flows in gorgeous waves and kinks.

If your horse’s hair is curly, it has fine hair – meaning the diameter of a single hair strand is smaller than usual. Such hair tends to dry out and should be attended to accordingly.

Refrain from washing such hair often, use a gentle high-quality horse shampoo.

When it comes to horses who have a tendency to dry hair, whether it is curly or not, deep conditioning is an extremely important step

. Use a deep conditioner rich in nourishing oils such as argan oil, jojoba oil, and olive oil. These oils are a great supplement to your horse’s natural body oils, which typically lack in these hair and skin types.

Horses with straight hair usually have well-balanced skin and hair, as the natural oils are distributed better throughout the hair strands in the coat, the tail, and the mane.

This doesn’t mean that a horse with straight hair could not suffer from over-cleansing, it just means they are less likely to.

Actively looking for the best products

Whether your horse has curly or straight hair might assist you to choose products to try out.

But the best way to find the optimal product for your horse is to be attentive. Note to yourself the following information:

  • How the different parts of the hair feel and look like before you washed the horse? Was the tail soft? Was the coat shiny? Did you see any flaking near the mane?
  • The products you use – this includes what brands you used, the ingredients they contain and the amounts you used.
  • The way you washed your horse: Did you leave the materials in for a while, or did you rinse them off as soon as you finished? Did you use cold water, warm water, or hot water? Did you combine them? If so, in which order?
  • How did you finish the process? Did you dry your horse using a towel or leave the horse to dry in the sun? Did you detangle the mane and tail while still wet, or did you dry them off first?

All through the answerers to all these questions may seem insignificant, if you pay attention, you will see that all these details can add up to make quite a difference.

If you monitor all these small details, you will be able to understand which products give you the best results and what is the best way to use them.

Additional needs

Gypsy Vanners, Friesian horses, and Black Forest horses are all breeds that have especially long manes and tails.

This beautiful characteristic requires special care in order to prevent tangles, as long unkempt manes and tails can eventually form into extremely tangled dreadlocks.

To avoid this, it is important to wash and detangle your horse’s mane and tail ever so often. Use a brush and detangle gently while the deep conditioner is still in.

In most cases, a conditioner should be sufficient and will enable you to detangle the mane and tail with ease. If there are tangles left after the shower, use a detangling spray for the knots and detangle the knots with short gentle strokes.

The color of the horse’s hair

Color protection is another thing to consider when choosing the right products for your horse.

If, for example, your horse has a frosty white coat, consider using a shampoo that is designed to protect the horse’s white hair.

For black horses, color Intensifier products can be found. These products are not always necessary, but before a big event, they can be a useful way to help your horse look especially nice.

ease of use

Bathing a horse is not an easy operation. You need to find a location with relatively close access to running water, protected from drafts, and sufficiently clean to make this mission possible.

In wintertime, warm water is essential as well as completely drying out your horse, as soon as you finish.

All these restraints mean that a proper bath with water and soap is not always possible. Other times your horse might need a quick freshening up and bathe with water and soap is a bit excessive.

For such cases, using dry shampoo can be an optimal solution for both of you.

Whether washing after an excessive workout or cleaning the horse to be presentable for a show or an exhibit, it is important to use the proper horse grooming products.

It is recommended to use a gentle yet cleansing shampoo and a high-quality deep conditioner. Be mindful of which products and practices yield the best results and you will be able to keep your horse’s skin, coat, mane, and tail shiny, healthy, and clean.


The answer to this question depends on several variables. click here to read the full answer

One thing that is generally recommended is to start by brushing your horse to remove and lift any shed hair strands and dirt that might be caught in its coat.

when you approach the task of choosing appropriate hair products for your horse, it is recommended to take into account several types of elements: Health considerations, Warning signs, 

he natural oil on your horse’s coat and skin doesn’t only make the coat feel soft and pleasant to touch, it also helps protect the horse’s body. Firstly, since water and oils do not mix, the oil on the coat and fur serves as a water-resistant layer, isolating your horse from the cold and helping to keep it warm.

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