How to Bathe Your Horse in Cold Weather 


Grooming your horse in cold weather is especially challenging when your horse is just so dirty. You can spot-clean your horse instead; you don’t need a washrack and a hose to bathe your horse in cold weather. 


This technique is more of a mini-hot toweling. Use this method of spot cleaning for stains and lifting dust and dander. And, of course, add lots of your elbow grease.  


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Tips for spot-cleaning your horse 


  • Spot clean your horse after the sweat has dried and you have groomed them thoroughly. This grooming removes quite a bit of dirt, stains, and dried sweat, making the rest of the winter “bath” easy.


  • There’s a chance your horse may get too wet, so have some coolers on hand, just in case. You could also have some dry towels for hand drying. 


  • Clean your horse out of the wind. It’s nice for your horse and you! 


bucket and no rinse shampoo and washcloths for hot toweling

Bucket, hot water kettle, rags, and no-rinse shampoo for the win


Steps to “bathe” your horse by spot cleaning


    • Mix some no-rinse shampoo in a bucket of hot water. A few capfuls per gallon should be plenty, otherwise, your horse gets foamy.
    • Throw in some washcloths, a cactus cloth, grooming gloves, or a sponge. Use a cactus cloth or grooming gloves for longer coats for added oomph.
    • You can also add a few capfuls of grooming oil to condition the hair as you work. 
    • Wring out your soaked cloth and curry any stained or dirty areas, including sweat marks. You want just a touch of moisture and no-rinse shampoo.


Hot toweling as an alternative to bathing 


  • Spot cleaning may not be enough if your horse is a hot mess and filthy everywhere. An alternative, and time-consuming task, is to hot towel your horse clean. This is more of a full body bath than a spot clean.


  • Hot toweling is the same principle, but use super hot and steamy rags to curry everywhere.  


Steps to hot towel your horse


    • Create two buckets – one with scalding hot water, some no-rinse shampoo, and optional grooming oil. The other bucket has clean warm water that will be your rinse bucket. 
    • Have a hot water source handy, as you will likely make the hot water bucket a few times. Instant hot kettles are convenient and fast if your barn area doesn’t have hot water. 
    • For this method, light-colored rags or washcloths are the preferred tools. You can see how much dirt you lift and check how clean they are after a rinse.
    • Toss your rags into the hot water. Grab one, and wring it out. Because the water should be raging hot, use kitchen gloves. The cold air and wringing action will cool the rags quickly. 
    • Using a circular curry motion, work the steamy concoction into your horse’s hair. It’s helpful to work against the direction of the hair growth, giving your horse quite the new hair-do.  
    • As your current rag becomes cooler and dirtier, toss it into your fresh bucket to clean and reuse. 
    • Cover finished areas with coolers to keep your horse warm. Your horse’s coat shouldn’t be wet, but it won’t be dry.  
    • Keep going until your horse is clean or your arms have fallen off. 


bucket with dirty cloths hanging on the side

Ah, the joys of horse care in the winter…


Winter grooming can be challenging, but daily grooming will keep their coats as clean as possible. Blankets and light sheets help, too, if your horse is clipped. But mostly, it’s elbow grease!



Easy steps to hot towel


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Stock up everything you need to care for your horse here. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, which are not a penny more for you. I couldn’t be more grateful for your support! You can also visit my Amazon storefront here:  PEG storefront.

Shapley's Easy-Out No Rinse Shampoo 32 fl.oz
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Spot removing, deodorizing, dust busting, shine adding spray.

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Shapley's Hi Shine Shampoo, 1-Gallon
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Other sizes, too! Adds shine with the most gentle formula.

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SHAPLEY'S Medi-Care Med Shampoo W/Tea Tree & Lemon Grass, 32 oz
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The best shampoo for shine and soothing.

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Shapley's No.1 Light Oil
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For shine, conditioning, detangling, and stain protection.

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Shapley's No.2 Heavy Oil

For deep conditioning and detangling - coat, mane, and tail.

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Rubber Latex Waterproof Dishwashing Gloves, 2 Pair Medium Long Cuff
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It's fashion and function

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Shapley’s 32 oz. Color Enhancing Shampoo - Whitening Formula

For all colors - to add shine and help lift stains.

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Shires Cactus Cloth
$17.07 ($17.07 / Count)
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HandsOn Finishing Gloves - Double Sided
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The jute side buffs to add shine, the other side is fuzzy for lifting dust and applying fly sprays and grooming products.

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Handson Ergonomic Hoof Pick
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This is the strongest hoof pick available!

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Farnam Slick 'N Easy Horse Grooming Block
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Good for grooming, shedding, and bot egg removal

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Haas Lipizzaner Brush
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This brush is luxury and will help your horse shine!

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Electric Cleaner Co Rapid Groom Horse Vacuum
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It's always satisfying to vacuum your horse!

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HANDSON Pet Grooming Gloves - Grooming, Bathing, Shedding
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These are HandsOn Gloves with special pricing! Only in the color gray.

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Thank you!