1. Clean your tools
Use a vacuum to remove dirt and debris from brushes, towels and rags. For a deeper clean, soak tools for about 20 minutes in a solution of about one part bleach to 10 parts water. Rinse thoroughly, and place in the sun to dry.
2. Shampoo in moderation
Too much soap can dry and irritate your horse’s skin. Moderation is key! Even if your horse is filthy, it’s best to work the dirt out with a sponge and water being careful to not over-shampoo. A good rule of thumb is one capful of soap per bucket of water. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.
3. Use some elbow grease
Use strong, forceful strokes and work in the direction of the hair growth. Some work against the hair growth may be required for more deeply rooted dirt and dead hair. But be careful if your horse is sensitive. Use a lighter touch over sensitive areas to avoid discomfort.
4. Handle manes and tails with care
Use a wide tooth comb to detangle a horse’s mane or tail by hand, picking through the strands individually and working from bottom to top with ample patience. You can use a coating of silicone spray on the hairs will make this process easier. Remember to only use a brush on dry hair.
5. Allow mud to dry
Be sure to let mud dry completely before working through to remove it. Mud should be crusty and clinging. Use the serrated edge of a shedding blade to scrape heavy deposits, and a cactus cloth for thinner patches of dirt.
When you’ve removed as much mud you can, switch to a currycomb. After the mud is removed, brush and wipe the coat down with a damp towel to catch any lingering dust. Brush once more with a finishing brush to complete the process.
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