Keeping the white horse white!
Here are some tips for keeping your white horse or gray horse clean. It takes time, and most of your time should be keeping your horse groomed to encourage natural stain repelling. But, stains happen.
- Use elbow grease and a lot of it to keep your horse clean.. The curry comb or grooming gloves should be your best friend. This curry action stimulates your horse’s natural oils, which are a stain repellant. Your horse’s natural oils, also known as sebum, act as a line of defense in his immune system. More on sebum here!
- Horse vacuums are a great way to help keep your gray horse bright. Curry first and then let the vacuum remove everything you have lifted.
Doesn’t he seem smug? This is easy to clean if you have the basics – good diets, lots of natural oils, strong arm muscles, good horse grooming skills.
- Make sure your horses are eating only top-quality feeds in a well-balanced diet. Diet is the basis of a healthy horse, and a healthy horse will have a wonderful coat. Forage should always be the focus, but a good vitamin and mineral supplement or ration balancer can round this out.
- BUT – you can add some omega fatty acids and biotin in supplements to help skin and coat health.
Using products to help your white horse
- Shampoo with a blueing shampoo as needed. For maintenance shampoos, I prefer a mild version, with or without a touch of blueing. I think spot removers, like a no-rinse shampoo, are easier and more gentle on the coat. You also don’t have to fuss with the whole bathing process, just spritz and go.
- Detanglers help repel future stains in the mane and tail. The problem with blasting manes and tails with blueing shampoo is the dry, brittle hair that results. Condition the mane and tail after washing, and consider using a grooming oil as a conditioner. Grooming oils also add shine and help prevent further stains.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint!
- Avoid harsh detergents like anything designed to clean laundry, car engines, or wood furniture. These dry the hair and skin, making stains more likely to stick around, and sometimes irritate your horse’s skin.
Oil buffing your horse will help keep stains away
- Oil buffing is a way to use grooming oils on your horse. These products condition the hair, add shine, and help your horse’s coat be waterproof.
- There are many ways to oil buff your horse, in both warm and cold weather. You can brush or rub the oil into the coat, or add it to water for a post-shampoo rinse. In the winter, you can hot towel some grooming oil on your horse for the same results without the washrack.
- Oil buffing is amazing for prepping your horse for clipping. The conditioning helps your clipper blades zip through your horse. Afterward, you can oil buff to add shine back.
This horse was just clipped and his coat shines!
Should you DIY from household ingredients?
- I know many folks will make their blueing stain remover from laundry stuff or use household cleaners. I will never suggest this, these are harsh chemicals that come with warnings and have not been tested on horses as most reputable shampoos and products have. Here’s more about using household cleaners for horses. There are some great blueing shampoos and spot removers out there designed for horses and not soccer uniforms.
Clip your horse for easy cleaning
- Keeping your horse’s hair clipped will also help keep them clean. For the legs, a rinse with water will usually do the trick to eliminate stains. A nozzle with a “fan” setting can be used as a “power washer” down the legs.
- Clipping is not great for every horse, but it’s common to see show horses with clipped lower legs.
Shampooing too often can strip your horse of natural oils. Stick to rinsing and you may see an increase in those stain repelling oils! Use products as an addition – not a substitution – for grooming.
Use blankets and sheets as stain barriers
- The selective use of horse clothing also helps keep a white horse white. Appropriate blanket weights in winter and fly sheets in warmer months serve double duty as bug repellents and dirt barriers. In the summer, a light-colored fly sheet works wonders to reflect the sun, protect from flies, and keep the dust at bay. Easier grooming for us!
Keeping your horse’s stall clean goes a long way to keeping your horse clean. And you may want to go for the barrier method – adding sheets or blankets!
For any white or gray horse – think marathon! And yes, there will be times you need to sprint – like the morning of a show. And then some product intervention is totally necessary. You can be prepared for any unexpected stains at the show by practicing stain removal and good shampooing practices at home.
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For all colors - to add shine and help lift stains.