a fellow boarder said that it's good for her horse to stand in the cold mud (it's been very rainy here) because if there is any heat in his feet, it will help cool them.
I didn't say anything, but I like to keep my guy out of the mud as much as possible, if I thought he was unsound, I would ice him or cold hose.
I didn't say anything because it's not really my business, plus who knows she could be right.
But I just hate my horse standing in wet.
You're not wrong. Mud season is famous for producing abcesses, bruises due to soft soles, thrush, scratches (mud fever) and a myriad of other problems. She could be right IF the horse was foundering. Other than that, to let him stand in the mud if there is another option is just plain stupid.
If you have to keep the horse inside 24/7 to keep him out of the mud, then I'd definitely say the mud is the lesser of two evils. But absolutely make sure he gets time to dry out and if possible, hose his feet and legs when he comes in.
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Depends on the horse and what his/her individual issues are.
My old horse Stan, for example, had arthritis in his coffin joint, and he was a big heavy guy. When it was cold and wet, he was clearly much more comfortable standing in the mud or snow than on hard ground. Same with Max, who had foundered from an infection many years ago.
Another gelding I used to own, Hank, had a club foot, so he didn't hold a shoe all that well, so we tried to keep him out of the mud. And my current mare Sadie had a DDFT injury a couple of years ago, so I'd really prefer that she didn't stand in the mud.
Though I should note that our pasture's pretty grassy with only a couple of horses out on it, so I'm talking about relatively shallow mud. Deep sinking sucking mud I try to avoid with all my horses.
"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
When I was young, my uncle used part of a cattle chute to keep the pony in when it would begin to founder as a way to keep the hooves cool and moist. He would soak a section of the chute until muddy and then the pony could stand there for an hour or so at a time.
This was 35 years ago and veterinary advice has really been updated.
I would not want my horse standing in mud most of the day for days on end. Thrush, scratches and soft soles/mushy heels are things I like to avoid.
But if my horse/pony had foundered and the cool, wet mud was around it might not be the worst thing in that situation. But I believe cold hosing and icing would be more effective than mud alone.
Last edited by jawa; Jan. 9, 2012 at 08:31 PM.
Reason: Clarity and spelling.
OK, i thought so, this horse hasn't foundered so I couldn't figure it out. They can get out out of the mud, but it's bad at the barn door and she gives him hay there while the others eat in their stalls. Strange
That being said, I don't necessarily agree with hosing legs and feet because they are muddy. I have been told time and again by multiple farriers that constantly washing legs and feet leads to crappy quality feet. My farrier routinely scolds me when he catches me hosing my horse off (then we go back to the "my horse is allergic to sweat...I HAVE to hose him off" song and dance). He would prefer horses were sponged as much as possible, rather than hosed off. I avoid hosing feet and legs unless the horse has a skin issue that mud makes worse or I'm in a hurry and need clean legs. Instead, they go to their well bedded, clean, dry stall, dry off, then have the mud curried or brushed off.
If I had to keep my horses out of the mud as much as possible, they would be stalled for days out of each week, for many weeks out of the Winter, and a day or three at a time here and there during the Summer.
Mud is not inherently bad.
Individual situations may make it more, or less, desirable for a horse to be in mud. Mostly it doesn't matter, unless you have a horse who regularly works on rocky terrain but regularly lives in a soft, muddy pasture.
______________________________ The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET
After 28 years of taking care of horses in the uber-muddy Pacific NW, here are a few things I have been told by vets during various bouts with Mud Fever/scratches/nasty leg gunk with my horses and client's:
Hose off the legs if they have been clipped, but if you do, dry them with a towel and use cold water so you do not open the pores. . You don't want the mud to stay on the skin to dry or get "pushed" into a little cut or abrasion.
DO NOT hose off the legs if the horse has not been clipped and does not have any current mud fever.
The reasoning, as I understand it is: The natural hair length and pattern on lower legs acts to funnel water away from the skin on the back of the leg, The mud never makes it to the skin, and the drying mud on the surface of the hair draws the water away from the skin. If the horse is a draft cross/cob, however, the feathering may be too heavy to act this way.
Once you clip the legs, the mud/bacteria is allowed close access to the skin, and if there is mud-fever bacteria on the property, you could have a problem.
I had personal experience with this several years ago when I prepared for an early March show and clipped closely and bathed the horse (removing skin oils and disturbing the skin "flora'). He had a great show, came home and had his ONLY mud fever in the 15 years I have owned him within two days.
Once they HAVE mud fever, you have to clip them/scrub off the scabs and medicate because the scabs form an anaerobic environment for the bacteria and fungus combination to proliferate.
And yes, standing in mud will make feet soft, mushy, more prone to bruising, and less able to hold shoes...But I turned out every day, mud or not because staying in was worse for them.