How to battle the winter mud

Why is having healthy skin so important?

The horse’s skin is a very important but often overlooked bodily structure. It has many functions, including acting as a barrier to external challenges, helping to control body temperature, and helping to make vitamin D.

By feeding our horses a correctly balanced diet, their skin and coat should be healthy, but some horses need extra nutritional support to help them deal with some common skin issues, especially when the skin is exposed to cold, wet, muddy conditions.

What can I feed to aid skin health?

Omega oils are incredibly beneficial for skin, and Linseed Oil or Micronized Linseed are a palatable vegetarian source of these. Omega-3 is known for helping to soothe the skin, and has been shown to help the skin stay supple. Feeding Brewer’s Yeast is also advisable, as it provides a natural source of amino acids and B-vitamins, which play a vital role in the health of skin, coat and hooves. Certain herbs also offer support to challenged skin, and of particular note are:

Burdock Root – which helps to support the liver, and is also helpful for dry and scurfy skin.

Chamomile is well-known for its soothing and calming properties, and is particularly beneficial for horses with sensitive skin.

Clivers are high in silica, so ideal to promote healthy hair and skin growth. In addition to this, they act as a ‘spring tonic’ for overall health.

Nettles – traditionally fed to enhance dappling of the coat, and are beneficial for circulation and all-round good-health.

Supplementing the diet with these skin health ingredients can help to support your horse’s skin through some common challenges that horses skin faces, such as problems caused by muddy winter conditions. They are all contained in EquiDermis Plus, our popular skin health supplement, which has the added bonus of making the coat look fantastically shiny!

In addition to feeding EquiDermis Plus, you can help to keep your horse’s skin healthy despite winter challenges by trying the following:

  • Where possible, keep legs dry and mud free – if conditions are dire, consider turn out in a rubber school or concrete pad, or use protective boots, chaps or barrier creams when turning out or riding in wet and muddy conditions
  • If you can’t avoid mud, it is generally not recommended to wash legs off every day – instead, let the mud dry and brush off. If you do need to wash off, make sure that you thoroughly dry the area afterwards
  • Check for any abrasions or skin issues daily – this includes under rugs!
  • Never put a non-breathable rug on a damp or wet horse
  • Groom regularly to get rid of mud and dirt, this also means that you will spot any problems early on