(From Clare's article archives, Circa 2010-2015)
This is similar to the process for showering, but you will include shampoo and conditioner.
I don't think that it is good for a horse's coat to have a bubble bath too often because it tends to dry out their coats.
There are a bazillion different shampoo/conditioner products on the market, choose the one that you like.
My favorite shampoo is called 'Superpoo,' made by Absorbine.
I also like the 'Mane and Tail' brand.
This made a crossover to human hair products,
so it can be picked up at any grocery or drug stop.
Very convenient and a very good product.
If your horse happens to have dandruff; it is perfectly O.K. to use
'Head and Shoulders,' or any other human dandruff shampoo.
Usually it only needs to be used on the mane and dock of the tail.
I like to always dilute the shampoo in water before I put it on the horse's body,
so this is the process I recommend.
First, again preferably with warm water, spray wet your horse's body.
Then, squirt some shampoo in a bucket, and spray water to fill it.
This will create lots of bubbles.
Then, using a body sponge (it really is easier if you use a good quality 'natural' sponge), scrub the body both sides; down the neck, the chest, the shoulder, the front legs, the barrel, belly back, hind quarters, and private areas.
Wash the mane as well.
For the tail, I start with a fresh bucket of soapy water.
Use the sponge to scrub the dock of the tail, then lift the bucket up
so that the whole tail is immersed in the sudsy water.
Swish about a bunch.
Then when you take the tail out, scrub the shampoo in more with your hands.
Repeat as needed.
This tail washing water will be super dirty, so you will need to rinse it out,
and prepare a fresh soapy bucket.
Last, CAREFULLY soap off your horse's face with the diluted shampoo in water, try really hard not to use too much shampoo, or to get it in your horse's eyes!
It's perfectly O.K., and I always do, to pour the remaining soapy water in the bucket
over the horse's back, rather than just wasting it by dumping it out.
Your horse shouldn't mind this if you pour it out slowly.
Now it's time for the rinse.
I think the 'shower' setting on the sprayer works the best for this as well.
Again, rinse from front to back and down.
Same process to thoroughly rinse out all the shampoo as it is to rinse off sweat in a shower.
Starting with the face (don't want to irritate sensitive skin by leaving soap on face too long), the neck, through the mane, down the shoulders and chest, front legs, barrel, belly, back, flank, hind quarters, tail, and privates.
Repeat on other side. Then back again briefly to the first side to rinse the
shampoo that washed over the back from the second side.
Now it is time for the conditioner.
Again, there are a ton of products. Use the one you like.
I usually will not use a conditioner on the body. Only on the mane and definitely on the tail.
Again, I like the 'Mane and Tail' Conditioner that can be purchased at the market.
Scrub in, leave in for a few minutes, rinse out.
I am still a fan of 'Showsheen,' have been forever.
Showsheen is a product that has been around forever.
It's purpose is to make the coat shiny, and to repel dirt and stains.
It also makes the mane and tail easy to brush out.
I spray it liberally in the tail, and then leave it in!
The tail will brush out easily with the help of the Showsheen.
Words to the wise about Showsheen:
It makes the horse very slick and slippery.
Be sure you don't spray it where the saddle goes!
And be aware that it will make leg protection less stable as well!
Even if you don't spray the legs, the hinds will get 'Showsheeny' anyway from the horse's tail.
For special occasions; competitions,
presenting sale horses to prospective buyers, etc:
I will use Showsheen sparingly on the body (minus the back) and the legs.
You an even carefully brush it onto the face.
Showsheen will not only add gloss and shine, but it also is great for repelling dirt.
A major plus!