Just like humans, some horses can be prone to sensitive skin. We’ve all known one of those tricky horses – the allergy Annie’s of the yard! Horse’s that are particularly sensitive can be prone to allergies, and the symptoms can range from mild reactions to hives and worse. Dermatitis, dandruff and allergies are just some of the conditions that can affect a horse with sensitive skin.
However, protecting your horse’s sensitive skin need not be an overwhelming concern. Sometimes it’s easy to pinpoint the exact cause of the reaction; a specific fly spray, an insect bite, a particular shampoo or new bedding. Some breeds or colours can be more susceptible to sensitive skin than others. For example, breeds such as Thoroughbreds and Arabs have notoriously thin skin, leaving them more prone to skin issues. Also, horses such as the Palomino and the Cremello may be prone to sensitive skin due to their pink skin.
As they say, prevention is the best cure, and if you know that your horse is prone to sensitive skin, there are things that you can do to make you and your equine friend’s lives a little easier! That’s why we’ve put together our top tips for managing sensitive skin in horses.
Choosing the right shampoo
When it comes to horses with sensitive skin, a little bit of research can go a long way. Being consistent with the products that you use can help avoid the risk of sensitive skin reactions and can keep your horse happy and healthy. It’s worth spending a bit of time looking into what you are putting on your horse’s skin, to make sure that you are fully informed.
Horses as a whole tend to have sensitive skin, so if your horse reacts badly to certain topical agents, you are not alone. You may want to look for a shampoo, containing a soothing ingredient such as tea tree or almond oil. Herbal ingredients such as lemongrass and tea tree oil are especially known to soothe the skin – plus, they smell delicious! Ensure that you go for a horse shampoo that is a PH balanced formula and rich in antioxidants, to protect your horse’s skin that little bit more and encourage the natural oils in the coat.
Coconut oil can promote healthy hooves, skin and hair, so choosing a mild shampoo containing one of these natural ingredients can help to fight unwanted bacteria, fungal infections, inflammation and irritation of the skin. Coconut oil also acts as a waterproofing agent, helping to keep moisture away from damaged areas. This can be especially useful for horses with conditions such as rain scald. It’s also easily absorbed into hair and skin, allowing it to soak into the hair in ways gently promote overall healthier and shinier hair!
Taking care when grooming
Taking care when grooming can alleviate stress and look after your sensitive horse’s coat and skin. Some horses, especially those with thin skin, are just pain bothered by grooming. Swishing tails and pinning ears in sensitive spots are just some of the warning signs that your horse is in discomfort. If this is the case, a softer grooming brush or tools can be beneficial and can also promote healthier skin. Try using a soft-bristled body brush rather than a stiff bristle brush to gently clean and shine the coat. For muddy or greasy areas, try using a magic brush, which is effective yet gentle in getting rid of stubborn mud and stains.
When you have a horse that is prone to allergic reactions or sensitive skin conditions, it can be a real worry. However, just as we humans can be sensitive to certain ingredients, being mindful and consistent in what you use can prevent future irritation and keep your horse healthy and happy!