I always use warm water - not hot, if a horse is washed. If you use cold, there is a risk that the horse may catch a chill and it can make the muscles tighten or cramp. Using cold water to cool down a horse who has worked in high temperatures or in a mixture of heat and humidity is a different matter, you should then be alternating washing and walking him.
Like most showing yards, we bath horses the day before the show. Lavender Shampoo is a go to for us, as the added lavender oil promotes healthy skin as well as making bath time more relaxing. Some horses are sensitive to some products, but the lavender can soothe the skin.
If a horse is being washed down after exercise, we use the Lavender Splosh wash diluted in some warm water. Again, like the shampoo, the added lavender oil relaxes both the horse and the muscles as well as removing dirt and sweat from the coat, and there is no need to rinse after!
Grey and coloured horses look fantastic when they are bright and clean, but it isn’t always easy to get them that way! I like to use the Deep Purple shampoo to remove any stains or dirt, I also use the Super Blue to enhance and add a bright white shine back to a coat. If I have an extra stubborn stain, I will apply Deep Purple on neat to the stain, massage in and leave for 2 minutes and rinse, this will really lift any stains off.
Always use a shampoo formulated for horses. Don’t economise by using washing-up liquid, because it will strip the hair of natural oils, leaving the coat dull. Some people say it’s cheaper to use low-budget shampoo made for humans, however if you look at the quantities you use, this is not the case.