Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Snow, Cold and Wet are here.......

........Well, here in Ohio the winter weather has officially set in. Around here that means WET, WET, WET and MUD, MUD, MUD....unless the ground is completely frozen!
The turn out (mud) lot is living up to it's name, the weather is frigid, and he horses have eternally wet/muddy pasterns when out. I guess the way to avoid this is the keep the horses in during these less than desireable months, but given a vote I think the horses would agree and want to be outside no matter the cold and/or wet they may endure!

If you also encounter the same issues in your sacrafice lot there is a few things you should know about removing the mud from their pasterns and fetlocks. Follows these simple rules for worry free winter skin and mud clean up:

  • Be sure that your horse(s) is not standing in mud or water 24/7. They need to be able to let their skin and hair coat dry out for at least several hours a day.

  • If your turn-out lot is wet/muddy 24/7 you will need to bring your horses in for several hours a day to allow their legs to dry out. (keep in mind that while good clean mud is great for your horses hooves, it is not good for their hair coat and skin over prolonged periods of exposure).

  • Once the mud has dried on their legs, use a curry comb to brush if out. NEVER use water to clean off already wet and muddy legs. When a horses hair coat and skin is wet and you add additional water it can help cause skin bacteria to grow and forces debris into their open pores. It is ALWAYS best to wait until the mud has dried and then you can brush it out, or if weather permits, wash it out.

  • Spraying a non-silicone based grooming spray on the fetlock and pastern area will help protect their skin and hair coat through the wet months, as well. It also makes brushing the mud out later go much smoother.

  • If your horse does develope a mud/rain rot on their pastern and/or fetlock (often referred to as "greased heels" or "dew poisining" in this area) first step is to get them in and keep them dry. Don't panic, as this condition is much more common during these wet times of year than you may think. You can purchase an over the counter fungus spray to use on them daily until the rot is gone. **Key is to catch and treat any bacteria or fungus right away. It can be uncomfortable and can become quite painful for your horse if it is left on the legs.

  • To treat your horse, make sure that you first remove all the scabs so that the medication can get to the organism. After removal of the scabs you can use an ointment like Desitin to relieve the condition and add a protective moisture barrier to the skin.

  • Once treatment has been started it typically clears up in 5-10 days.

If you have any mud/wet water tips that you use on your horses feel free to comment. We love to know what works for everyone else out there. There are always many different techniques and processes when it comes to caring for our horses. We want to hear yours!