It’s that time of year again when the weather is starting to warm up (albeit slowly) and summer is steadily approaching. While most of us are excited at the thought of enjoying some warmer weather, there are some things you need to start thinking about and preparing for if you own a horse.
Horses love the summer and sunshine but unfortunately the hot weather can cause horses to become sunburned. Living in England, when the weather is hardly ever hot, it’s easy to forget that a lot of sunshine can be harmful to your horse and horses who live without sunshine for months at a time are more prone to sun damage than most. So, how do you help your horse avoid sunburn?
Which Areas are Prone to Sun Damage?
You may be wondering which areas of your horse’s body are most commonly affected by sunburn. The answer is; all of it. However, the face and heels of your horse are most commonly affected as these areas often have little to no hair coverage.
What Harm Does Sunburn Cause?
Sunburn can be very harmful for your horse and can cause a lot of damage. In most horses, sunburn can cause occasional discomfort, redness and peeling. However, if the sunburn is a persistent problem and the damage it repeated, it can cause long-term problems. Excessive and regular sunburn in horses can result in thickening and scaling of the skins surface, which sometimes can cause skin cancer. So, how do you help your horse avoid sunburn?
Ensure Fields Have Shady Areas
When preparing a field for your horse, you must ensure there are shady and protected areas available for him to use. Even the most severe whether conditions won’t stop horses from grazing in their fields, but they must have somewhere safe to shelter should they want to. Having multiple shelters around the pasture such as trees, shrubbery, and field shelters, gives your horse plenty of places to rest from the sun.
Equine Sun Lotion
Just like we apply sun lotion to our bodies to prevent sunburn, there are sun lotions available especially for horses. These are very effective and although application can be hard, there are coloured sun lotions sticks which can make application easier and do show up any areas you’ve missed. Equine sun lotion is very effective and a great protection for your horse against sunburn.
Use a Fly Mask
While fly masks are extremely effective at protecting your horse from fly irritation, they are also a great prevention method against sunburn. Fly masks are applied over your horse’s face and often have a muzzle attachment that protects your horse’s nose from the sun. Your horse’s nose is one of the most common areas prone to sun damage and burns, so a fly masks are a great solution in protecting your horse.
Cover Your Horse with a Blanket
Horse blankets are an effective way to protect horses from sunburn as they provide an excellent covering. However, it is important to choose a blanket that is breathable and will not overheat your horse in the hot weather.
Always Make Fresh Water Available
The hot summer weather can easily cause your horse to become dehydrated, so it’s important you ensure fresh water is readily available. What’s more, rehydrating your horse is extremely important if your horse is suffering from sunburn. If your horse already has sunburn, he may be very thirsty or at risk of heat stress so it’s important you give him plenty of fresh water to drink. When you are helping your horse recover from sunburn, make sure he always has easy access to fresh water.
Is Your Horse Already Sunburnt?
If your horse is already suffering the effects of sunburn, you should treat it similarly to the way you would treat your own. Aloe Vera treatments are very effective and will immediately soothe your horse’s sore and sunburnt skin. Alternatively, you can soothe your horse with antiseptic ointment such as Sudocrem, Savlon or Germoline.
Treating your horse for sunburn in the same way you’d treat your own is a simple solution. However, prevention is always better than a cure.
Call Prime Stables Today
Have you found this article useful? If you would like to know more about horse care, why not check out some of the other posts on our blog? Alternatively, give us a call today. Our team of equine experts would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Give us a call today!