If you give a gray a bath, he’s going to want to roll in the mud. If he rolls in the mud, he’s going to need another bath.
By Danielle Franchi
My horse, Indy, loves nothing more than being completely filthy. It is pretty much his favorite thing. These days it doesn’t matter too much because he is retired, so as long as he is happy, I am happy. But back during our horse show days, it was definitely a struggle because it was almost impossible to keep him clean overnight. So usually, I was waking up before the crack of dawn just to give him a bath the day of a horse show… and every day of that horse show. He has even been called a pirate because he will actually bury his poop in his stall, so you think it’s clean, and then in the night, when no one is watching, he unburies it and uses it as a pillow.
Since I don’t ride him anymore, one of our main forms of bonding is grooming, and he does love to get groomed (I mean who doesn’t love a good curry?!). He always stands on the cross ties like a statue for it, but I know it never lasts. Sometimes (most times) I even find myself saying, “I don’t know why I’m even bothering cleaning you, because I know you’re going to get just as dirty tomorrow!” And without fail, he usually does. Maybe he just likes being pampered? But really I think it’s just he prefers to be dirty…
Photos courtesy of SmartPaker Danielle Franchi
I’m sure there are many of you out there in the same boat as me, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite grooming tips and tricks in the hopes that they may help you keep your gray clean, even if it’s only for a few hours. 😊
Our daily grooming routine typically includes a good long curry, a flicky brush, and a hard brush. This will do the trick for a good “surface clean” as it will help get any dried mud off and lighten some of those poop stains.
Danielle’s Top Grooming Picks for Grays:
Oster Coarse Curry Comb – The course rubber nubs are great for a deep curry and really help to loosen the dirt.
HandsOn® Gloves for Grooming – These gloves are great for a two-handed scrub, and make it easy to curry the legs and face. They also work great for bathing!
Stubben Flick Soft Brush – After I give Indy a good curry, I’ll use this brush to flick the remaining dust away.
Oster Stiff Grooming Brush – I’ll then go over him with this hard brush and even scrub a little on those leftover poop stains. This is also my go-to brush for his legs and it’s really great at getting off more caked-on mud without being too harsh.
GroomTex Microfiber Muck Towel – When we don’t have time for a bath, but I still want to get those poop stains off, or if I still need to remove excess dust, I’ve found these microfiber towels to be great tools. I’ll use a damp one and just wipe it over his entire body to help remove dust.
For those extra tough stains, I’ll add a little stain remover (ShowSheen® Stain Remover & Whitener). I’ve definitely found this one to be the most successful in fully removing stains and leaving hair white and clean.
Danielle’s Top Bathing Picks for Grays:
When Indy needs a spa day, my go-to shampoo is Quic Silver® to help get him his whitest, white and really make him shine. His baths usually last at least an hour as he normally needs multiple rounds of shampooing and rinsing.
Once he’s all dry, it’s time for the finishing touch. My favorite conditioner is Absorbine® Santa Fe™ Coat Conditioner & Sunscreen because not only does act as a barrier to repel dust and dirt, but it also makes for a great sunscreen on his more sensitive skin. Plus it makes him super shiny and soft!
Danielle’s Extra Tip for Grays:
One last tip that can really help is to keep the hair short. Even though Indy is retired, I still body clip him a few times a year. In between body clips, I will even clip his legs from the knee down just to keep it at short as possible to prevent any fungus build-up (if you blend it well, you can’t even notice the difference, so it doesn’t look silly). It’s also just so much easier to groom him when his hair is short and the dirt has fewer places to hide.
My favorite clipper to use is the Andis AGC Super 2 Speed Clipper as it’s definitely on the quieter side and is super durable so it can hold to clipping through the dirt.
I hope you find these tips and tools helpful in the never-ending journey to keeping a gray horse clean.
Go SmartPak and go riding!