What's the best shampoo for your horse?

What's The Best Shampoo For Your Horse?

As horse owners, it’s only natural that we always want to buy the best products for our horses. Perhaps this is why many owners find selecting the best horse shampoo so stressful: since it's applied fairly often, they don't want to make the wrong choice!

There are an alarming number of horse shampoo products on the market- natural shampoos, colour enhancing shampoos, coat nourishing shampoos, skin treatment shampoos etc. The list goes on! So how on earth can you make the right choice for the best horse shampoo for 2020?

Although I can’t tell you which horse shampoo would work best for you or your horse, I can offer some hints and tips that I’ve learnt along the way.

Should I test first?

The best way to ensure your horse isn't allergic or sensitive to a specific brand of horse shampoo is to first test a small region before using it on your entire horse. Wash the region as you normally would, then let a day go by and check the area closely again. If the skin shows no reaction, you can assume it will be safe to use on his entire body.

Can I use my shampoo on my horse?

Your horse's skin acidity is different from yours or from your dog, cat, etc. An equine shampoo is formulated for the pH balance of equine skin, and is therefore less likely to cause irritation or loss of necessary oils. So, for the best results avoid shampoo products intended for humans or other pets.

Can I wash my horse with Fairy Liquid?

Fairy Liquid not only keeps hands that wash dishes feeling nice and soft - it's great for getting horses clean too! Just be aware that, as mentioned above, it may upset the pH balance in the coat.

Sensitive Skin

Many horses have sensitive skin. In fact, horses as a whole tend to have sensitive skin. So, if your horse reacts easily to topical agents, you might want to look for an all-natural shampoo, possibly containing a soothing agent such as lavender or, even better, aloe vera as aloe-based products are generally the gentlest.

Image    Pet Revolution WildWash Gentle Horse Shampoo

 Dry Skin

If your horse has dry skin, try not to shampoo him too often. Even the mildest one will strip the natural oils from the coat and skin and, in turn, this could make the condition worse. Use a shampoo that is suitable for sensitive skin or consider a "dry" shampoo, i.e. where you don't need to use water.

   Horsewise Water Free Shampoo


Some shampoos contain special ingredients designed to offer protection against flies, midges, gnats and other biting insects whilst keeping the coat and skin clean, fresh and healthy. 

Lincoln Fly Repellent Shampoo     Barrier Pesky Pest Wash  

Skin Disorders

Many different types of skin disorders exist in horses, and treating the wrong one can make the condition worse. Medicated shampoos are often used to relieve itching and/or scaling, but they can also treat bacterial or fungal infections. Therefore, medicated shampoos are best for coats with skin disorders.

If your horse has had a fungal infection in his coat in the past, a medicated shampoo with an anti-fungal action might help to avoid a recurrence. Equally, if your horse suffers from a skin irritation like rain scald, look for a medicated shampoo with an anti-inflammatory action.

Some products might be irritating to human skin, and should be used only while wearing protective gloves.

Dermoline Medicated Shampoo  Wahl Showman Tea Tree Shampoo  

Colour Enhancer

If you want to give your horse's coat a bit of a colour boost after his bath, or you’re preparing for the show ring, consider a colour enhancing shampoo. These work in a variety of ways:

  • Some contain dyes which enhance coat colour;
  • Some include an optical brightener – a substance absorbed by the hair which causes the hair to reflect more light, making it appear brighter or shinier;
  • Others contain a bluing agent which, under the influence of natural light, makes grey coats appear whiter.

Simply pick the shampoo that’s designed to complement your horse's colour. Shop shampoo for: 

Equimins Blue Shampoo For Greys    Supreme Products Chestnut Shampoo

Other points to consider

Think first whether you really need to bath your horse at all – a good rinse can often remove much of the dirt and grime.

Every horse’s skin makeup and tolerance is different - you may need to experiment a bit to find out which shampoo's ingredients work best on your horse’s coat and, I'm sorry to say, this may take a while.

And finally, don't stick to just one shampoo. Experiment with shampoos for a deep cleanse and washes for after exercise.

Ready to start bathing?

Take a look at my collection of horse shampoos and bathing products. And remember, we offer free and fast UK delivery on all orders at EQUUS!

Shop Bathing Products


Kim Horton

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


  • Robert Walker posted on July 29 2019 at 09:07 AM

    Very disappointing not to find CleanRound the shampoo that kills Ringworm and strangles not featured in the article!

  • H posted on July 29 2019 at 09:07 AM

    Try the Showsheen spray. I really find it works on our white donkey.

  • Sue Jones posted on August 11 2020 at 05:08 PM

    My vet recommended a human oatmeal shampoo for my youngster’s dry itchy skin.


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