For those who follow my blog, you know by now that I am what you call a minimalist. Why? Because I can be. I don't show. I don't compete. I ride the trails. My horses train mostly at home, with me, so they're rarely exposed to large groups of new horses. I try to keep down their stress levels which, I believe, is the #1 contributor to illness and injury. I've examined every area of care and stripped it down to the essentials--smart worming cycles, rotation of pastures, the best farrier care, smart immunization cycle (not overdoing it), the best hay, and constant exposure to a stable, safe herd. I want my horses to have fun and take pride in what they do at all times.
However, there was one area I hadn't really thought through, but I did today as I was giving Beautiful Girl her bath, and that is washing my horses with shampoo.
You see, at the start, as I was showering her back and hind end with water, it was beading wonderfully over her top line, keeping her from getting saturated. As a recent Curly Girl minimalist convert, I've been thinking a lot about hair and the natural oils on our scalp, and I knew to recognize a good thing when I saw it. Still, it didn't stop me from lathering her up with shampoo and washing all those great oils off. By the time I was done, she was squeaky clean, smelling of roses, and entirely ready to go roll in the dirt again.
Since leaving the barn, I've been researching and thinking about it, and I've come to realize, I may skip the shampoo in the future. I could have accomplished everything I wanted with water alone and a little scrubbing. I mean, I don't think it's going to hurt her, but maybe there are protective qualities to those oils.
Horses in the wild do just fine with out shampoo.
My family came across what appeared to be a herd of wild horses last week at Lake Roosevelt and my sister took these pictures. They were getting a reprieve from the hot temps in the cool of the water. There's no doubt, horses like water and appreciate a cool soak--but water isn't as harsh as the chemicals in shampoo and, I imagine, it mostly leaves those oils in tact.
What are your thoughts on shampooing horses?
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