How to make your horse's coat shine?

How To Make Your Horse's Coat Shine

We all go to great lengths to ensure our horses are healthy and happy, starting from the inside out. So, we all like to receive a compliment about how well our horse looks. Make your horse look a million dollars and receive no end of compliments with this little known technique.

What is “Hot Clothing”?

Hot clothing is an old tradition which has stood the test of time. It’s also known as “hot oiling”, “hot towelling”, or “hot ragging”. Hot Clothing is basically a way for you to use a hot towel to steam clean your horse using a cloth soaked in piping hot water with a dash of oil in it.

Why Hot Cloth?

Hot Clothing is a means of cleaning the coat and keeping the skin moisturised and supple as well as enhancing the appearance of the coat. Also, it helps to lift any of the dirt or grime that brushing alone has missed.

Try this if you want to add great condition and shine to your horse, perhaps the morning of a show or between days when you are away at shows to reduce the number of bathes your horse will have.

When should I Hot Cloth my horse?

Hot Clothing can be done all year round but is particularly effective for removing grease and dirt in the colder months when perhaps you don’t want to bath your horse. Done regularly it will add condition and give that “mirror”-like shine to your horse’s coat.

It’s also particularly effective after clipping, to clean and moisturise the coat as well as improving the appearance.

What will I need?

Two buckets of warm water,

A Hot Oli: Supreme Products Hot Oil or Shapley's No1 Light Oil,

Lincoln Microfibre Grooming Mitt and Lincoln Stable Rubber,

Oster Sweat Scraper or Lincoln Sweat Scraper.

What preparation is required?

Prior to Hot Clothing ensure you have removed grease and dirt from the coat.

So how do I Hot Cloth?

There are two choices of when to add the Hot Oil:

* Add a SMALL amount of the Hot Oil to the cloth

 OR for best results

* Add 4-6 pumps of the Hot Oil to one of the buckets of warm water.


* Ensure the water is a comfortable temperature for both horse and handler and drench the mitt into the oil and water mixture

* Using the mitt, rub the coat vigorously, applying the mixture all over the coat and working it in, avoiding the eyes

* Drench the stable rubber into the bucket of clean warm water and ring out the excess water

* Rinse the coat thoroughly, using the clean water at intervals to clean the mitt

* Once rinsed fully, use a sweat scraper to remove excess water

* Rug as weather permits.

Man using supreme products hot oil on horse's coat

So how does it work?

After the Hot Oil has been applied, it will be absorbed into the skin. Be prepared to be amazed!

How often do I need to do it?

Hot Clothing a couple of times a week helps keep the coat super-shiny and saves time when you’re short of time for grooming.

Why can’t I simply use Olive Oil?

Olive oil used to be widely used but now it’s known that the dust sticks to olive oil whereas it doesn’t with Hot Oil.

Does Hot Clothing work for all horses?

As every horse's coat is different, and as with any new product, do a small test for sensitivity prior to use and go from there!

And finally…

Stand back and admire all your work on one very shiny horse. 

Shop Show Preparation


Kim Horton

Co-Founder of EQUUS and a keen equestrian, when Kim's not at her desk she's with her horse, Waldo.


  • Fiona Del Giudice posted on August 13 2019 at 03:08 PM

    Brilliant article, as Anne said keeping traditional methods going. I always hot cloth before competing my horse (who is a bright bay) I am forever being complemented on how good he looks. However I have not heard of the hot oiling technique before, I will have to try that.

  • Michaela Ryde posted on June 29 2020 at 01:06 PM

    Great article. I’ve used hot cloths after clipping but never thought of adding oil. Humans use hot oil to enhance their hair so it makes a lot of sense and I wouldn’t be surprised if the humans got the idea from the grooms. Thanks for the tip

  • Kate Hill posted on June 29 2020 at 01:06 PM

    Hi Kim,

    I really enjoy all your articles Kim. Thank you. Kate


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