Hints & Tricks for Grooming a White Horse

Written by g.d. palmer
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Hints & Tricks for Grooming a White Horse
White horses can be difficult to groom. (white horse image by Nwrainman from Fotolia.com)

Keeping your white horse bright and attractive can be very challenging because stables and pastures are not clean places, which often leads to dulled and stained stockings, yellowed tails and dingy coats. It's even worse if your white horse likes to roll in the mud. Fortunately, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to keep your horse's coat looking its best.

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Laundry bluing, the same substance used to brighten white clothing, can be used to whiten a horse's coat. Mix it with a conditioner meant for a horse's entire coat, rather than just the mane and tail, and apply it each time you groom the horse to reduce yellowness and staining. Don't use too much bluing because you can end up with a bluish horse or cause it a skin irritation. Bluing can also be added to fly sprays and other topical products.

Whitening Shampoo

To remove stains and dirt from your horse's white markings, you can use a whitening shampoo. This is especially useful when applied just before a show. Some whitening shampoo brands will leave a purple tinge on the coat, so choose a reputable brand, such as Pro Steps Brilliance, Jardines Secret and Cowboy Magic Yellow Out. Inexpensive shampoos meant for human use will remove dirt, but they don't contain the whitening ingredient needed to treat coat stains. Be careful around your horse's eyes, nostrils and other sensitive areas when using any shampoo.


Some people use laundry bleach to whiten yellowed manes and tails, but bleach causes brittleness and can be irritating, so avoid making it a part of your grooming process. Other bleaching agents are much gentler and less likely to harm your horse. Human products used to produce blond streaks, such as Sun In, can reduce yellowness in the tail and mane. Using lemon juice is another traditional treatment that bleaches both human and equine hair when exposed to the sun.


Clip your horse's hair close to its skin a few days before a show so that it has less hair to collect dirt. It's important to allow enough lead time for clipper irritation to heal if you use this method. Avoid clipping white horses when they will not be shown because more of its skin will be exposed to the sun. If you decide to clip the horse, provide protection from the sun.


You can also powder your horse with chalk or cornstarch on the day of a show. Powders will not remove stains or yellow patches, but they can make your horse appear whiter, especially from a distance. This grooming technique allows you to cover stains and spots that won't shampoo or bleach out. Apply powders lightly so that they are inconspicuous. Ensure your horse is completely dry before applying chalk or cornstarch, and avoid allowing the powder to cake in the horse's hair.

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