In a lather over choosing the right horse shampoo? Knowing a little something about the ingredients will help you in selecting the right product. There are many shampoos on the market today have the same cosmetic and health benefits that shampoos formulated for dogs and people do. There are all natural, coat enhancing and hypoallergenic shampoos as well as some that heal skin problems, incorporate insecticides and liniments. So how do you choose from such a diverse selection?
Horses have sensitive skin and like us some are more susceptible to irritation than others. If your horse has ever broken out in hives, you’ll want to be particularly careful when choosing their shampoo. A hypoallergenic, olive oil or aloe-based product is a good choice and less likely to irritate the skin. Olive oil and aloe have natural anti-inflammatory properties and not likely to cause an allergic reaction.
On the other hand, if a horse has skin problems such as ringworm or rain rot, a medicated shampoo incorporating antifungal/antibacterial agents is your best option. If your horse is sensitive to medicated shampoo, you may try just applying it to the affected areas and then use the hypoallergenic shampoo to clean them overall.
As with any new product, you’re always going to want to do a spot check. Cleanse a small area of the buttock or leg with the new shampoo and if there is no sign of a reaction after 24 hours, then you can proceed with giving your horse a bath. It’s not unusual for your horse to have some temporary dryness after bathing due to the loss of natural oils. If you notice your horse starts to become a little itchy after their bath, try using a shampoo that contains a conditioner or a moisturizing coat spray to help minimize the dryness.
If you are looking to enhance the color of your horse’s coat, consider a color enhancing shampoo; they work in one of two ways. Some contain dyes to match and enhance a horse's natural coat color and others contain optical brighteners. They are absorbed by the hair and increase the coat's ability to reflect light, making it appear brighter or shinier. Many whitening shampoos work by adding a blue agent to the coat. In natural light, this blue becomes neutral, making the white seem even whiter. These are great for using on any white markings.
Color enhancing shampoos not only help bring out natural color and brighten a horses coat, they can also be used to darken their coat. If you wanted to try and darken a lets say a chestnut, blue roan or bay coat, a black shampoo can help bring out the richness of the dark hair.
If you own a light colored horse or one with white markings, you will quite often be faced with tough stain that requires concentrated effort to remove. Waterless shampoos, also called dry or no rinse shampoos are great for dealing with them. They can be applied directly onto the stained area and be rubbed out with a towel or rag. These types of grooming products contain organic compounds that help break up oil and dirt and most have conditioners to counteract any drying of the skin. More than just a spot remover, these waterless shampoos are especially handy in the winter when it is too chilly for full baths.
After shampooing, applying a conditioner is not always necessary, but it will help resist dust, enhance shine, prevent stains and even repel insects. Conditioners containing sunscreen are also good for those coats that tend to bleach out during the summer. Detanglers are especially beneficial for manes and tail in that they make grooming easier and help preserve the hair. Once finished the affects of your labors are evident as your horse stands before you with his or her coat gleaming in the sun or show ring.