First, start with dirty horses. T and I had no problem finding these as it was 100 degrees out and has been for weeks. Case in point, Baby and Smoky:
Be sure you have plenty of time- there is no rushing here! T and I were at the barn for at least an hour and a half.
Tie your horse somewhere secure and near a hose and arm yourself with shampoo (a lot), conditioner (a lot), a brush, curry combs or plastic scrubbers (your preference), and a sponge.
Wet and shampoo the tail first- and I mean REALLY clean it. Scrub the tail bone, everything. Then rinse and pile in the conditioner so it can soak in while you bath the rest of the horse.
Hose the horse completely, I had to do Baby twice as he was seriously disgusting. Then squirt on the shampoo and lather up. Scrub, scrub, scrub- then rinse and repeat! I do my second go-round with a brush and scrub, T sticks with the plastic scrubber. This takes major elbow grease and no skimping!
Next, add even more conditioner to the tail and coat the horse's entire body with conditioner. Let sit for at least 10 minutes, 20 is better. At this point, your horse will likely look as if it has been swimming in the oil spill; it's OK, this is a good thing.
Things to to while waiting:
Tell horseback riding instructor not to let any kids ride bareback for a few days because they will slide right off.
Play ball with the dog
Was your horse's face
Rub the conditioner in like a massage
Relax in the shade
Catch up with your buddy!
*Note, it is normal for the horse to fall asleep at this point (see Smoky)
Completely rinse the horse- head to toe. If it's 100 degrees out, move your horse to a shady spot. Brush the horse with a clean brush so that the hair is laying down flat. Comb main and tail until you can run a comb through with no snags. Spray the horse with conditioner if you like, especially the mane and tail. I'm a Vetrolin Shine girl, T goes for Cowboy Magic. Braid the tail if you like so it stays cleaner longer. Clip the whiskers and bridle path for a really nice touch.
When you're finished, the horses should look something like this:
(Pardon Smoky, he was still kind of napping...)
You, on the other hand, should look like this:
General rule of thumb: if you don't look completely disgusting when you are finished, your horse is probably not clean enough.
And... to end the process perfectly, if you're me you drink this, a blackberry margarita! YUM!