Monday, February 14, 2011
What's going on under your horse's rug?
3:16 pm gmt
Happy St. Valentine's Day to everyone! We celebrated the lead up to the most romantic day of the year with a Valentine Card
competition and the results were published today. You can see the prize winners here on our competition page. Congratulations to Stephanie Pavitt who won.
What's under your horse's rug?
rugs fit so well and the same ones can often be used in stable and field. There is a temptation to forget to take the
rugs off regularly and not look to see what's happening underneath them, especially if we have a lot of horses at
grass or not being ridden. When we take off the rug, we can sometimes get an unpleasant surprise.
infections and overheating under rugs
This happened to me two years ago when a horse which wasn't being
ridden started scratching against the fence post. I got him in and took off the rug. To my horror, there was a bald patch
of skin with an oozing infection. I called the vet who gave him antibiotics and recommended leaving him without a rug as he
felt it had been caused by overheating under the rug. As we were coming into Spring, this didn't matter and he was a lot cooler
without it. I also had to wash his skin with Betadine (or Hibiscrub would be similar), dry it well with clean lint or clean
towel and apply Sudocreme (or any Zinc oxide type ointment). Last year I avoided this happening again by clipping the horse
at the end of January. I have done the same in 2011 and, in fact, when I clipped him just recently there were masses of little
itchy spots under the hair which neither the vet nor I noticed a week earlier.
Too fat or too thin under
We have other problems lurking under a rug throughout the winter season. Some people remove a rug to
find their horse has lost a lot of weight or, the reverse, has put on a lot of weight. In order to feed a horse efficiently,
we need to check what weight he or she is carrying on a regular basis.
into Spring, horses and ponies which haven't been clipped will get more itchy and scratch more. Their winter coat is shedding
and they feel uncomfortable. Many owners recommend taking off the rug on warm days and letting the horse have a good roll
which will remove some of the shedding hair. It is still too early to do this in February but warmer days in March and April
when temperatures get into the teens would be safe enough. You still need to put the rug on again at night until the horse
is hardened off. (Has got used to being without the rug during the day for a period of about two weeks, depending on the weather).
Another excellent and pleasurable way for horses to loose shedding hair is to be groomed on a regular basis. They usually
love it at this time of year.
We have more info on how to cope with skin infections and rain rash here.