It’s difficult to give a clear-cut answer to this question because there are so many variables. Some owners opt for never, while others bathe their horse once or twice a year, and still others up to weekly. But there is a little more to bathing than meets the eye, so it’s important to ask yourself a lot of questions that’ll depend only on you – not what others do.

how often bathe horse

Is it in-season or off-season?

If you’re in-season, you’ll want to take a look at your show or clinic schedule. If you have an event coming soon, wait until just beforehand so the horse is looking his best. If your off-season is during the winter, then you could probably forego the wash and use a blanket to maintain cleanliness. Tails can be washed with shampoo as needed. Hot toweling and spot cleaning could be conducted in the winter, in lieu of a full washing, if you’d like.

What’s the weather like?

It probably isn’t the best to bathe in cold weather unless you own a heated wash stall in which your horse can remain comfortable. A cold horse could always lead to a sick one, and no one wants to deal with that. If you don’t care for the horse coat being dusty in the winter, try using a hot, damp towel in a circular motion on his coat to best remove dirt – it will act much like a Swiffer does on your kitchen floor, and will help remove dirt without getting him wet.

How oily is his coat?

Horse coats can vary, as some are oilier than others. If it’s really full of natural oils, you may not want to shampoo too much or too often. Remember, whenever using a shampoo, it’s important that you use only products made specifically for horses.

Is there a medical condition that warrants bathing?

If you suspect rain scald – a common skin infection – special shampoos can help to heal the horse, but you’ll want to talk to your vet about which brand is right for your animal. Even if this is the case, it may only be necessary to spot clean the horse, because oftentimes the treatment must be administered according to a schedule.

Why do you want to bathe him?

If you got into a muddy mess, then bathing may be completely necessary. If you’re trying to cool him down after a post-workout, then a simple rinse might do. If you’re trying to remove a small stain, spot clean him like you’d do to your rug. A lot of human influence will dictate how often a horse should bathe; some simply prefer to do it regularly, others don’t. You’ll have to find what works best for you, but remember the horse’s needs, too.

Be sure to keep in the back of your mind that grooming your horse on a regular basis should be done enough to keep his coat in a healthy, presentable condition. Keeping him happy is the important thing, but there’s something to be said for keeping yourself happy with him, too.