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mud and horse leg protection

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  • mud and horse leg protection

    Despite my best efforts, I have a couple of small but heavily trafficked areas that are very muddy this winter. I have been trying to protect the horses' legs by washing them daily and coating them with MTG. This helps, but while the smell lingers the greasiness seems not to last terribly long.

    What have you found that works? Would eventing grease help? Mineral oil?


  • #2
    I would keep them as clean and DRY as possible. So adding oil of any kind can actually soften the skin, making it easier to cut/scratch and giving the germies a way in!! The only thing that might be ok is Corona ointment. Are their legs clipped? Are they in boots?
    When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.


    • #3
      Unless a horse is really sensitive, I've always had pretty good luck just letting the mud stay--it provides its own barrier of sorts. Waiting for it to dry and brushing it off keeps the skin from being wetter than it needs to be all the time.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
        Unless a horse is really sensitive, I've always had pretty good luck just letting the mud stay--it provides its own barrier of sorts. Waiting for it to dry and brushing it off keeps the skin from being wetter than it needs to be all the time.
        Ditto. I've given up trying to fight it. I started doing it when I'd try to brush off the mud and it turned into a disgusting mess. We don't have warm water, so it can still be barely above freezing and muddy, but way too cold to hose daily with freezing water. I just leave the mud and brush every now and then. Come dry summer time they'll look like decent, clean, non-neglected horses.


        • #5
          Originally posted by deltawave View Post
          Unless a horse is really sensitive, I've always had pretty good luck just letting the mud stay--it provides its own barrier of sorts. Waiting for it to dry and brushing it off keeps the skin from being wetter than it needs to be all the time.
          If you have a scratches prone horse, this might not work but (touch wood) I have never done anything other than let it dry and scrub it off (nylon plastic pot scrubber works well for legs).


          • #6
            Another vote for leave it. Constant washing and application of 'stuff' will irritate the legs, then you may have real problems. Just let it dry then rub it off, with a soft scrubber, a brush, or your hands - my choice of mud brushing weapon.
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            • #7
              I keep the long hairs of leg and hoof top clipped shorter. No long straggly hairs left. I clip with the hair, using the big clippers and common#10 blades. That leaves some hair for winter warmth on their legs. This cutting lets the shorter leg hair dry faster, which lets the skin dry faster too. My horses are barned nights this time of year, so have the 8+ hours overnight to dry themselves off with body heat.

              You can then brush off any clinging dirt stuff, but I usually don't have much with the shorter hair being harder for mud to stick on. Just letting it dry well, brushing legs off before turnout, does seem to work very well for us. Saves a lot of laundry, not trying to hand dry muddy legs. I don't like cold hosing already cold legs and dealing with the resulting frozen puddles in the aisle. We have no wash stall area.

              Dry skin is key to preventing skin cracking from over-moisturizing. Short hair helps my horse legs to dry quicker all the way to the skin. Sounds silly, but you might do a wipe-down of dry legs with sauerkraut juice every few days in the really wet times. It changes the PH of skin, helping prevent or heal scratches just getting started. The germs can't survive in the different PH area.

              Funny what "special issues" each geographic area has to deal with in daily horse care during each season.


              • Original Poster

                Any excuse to buy sauerkraut! I'm the only one in the family who likes it. think that white vinegar would work as well?

                Ordinarily mud is not a problem for me, but this year it's been tough to deal with, even though it is in only one area of my paddock.

                The horses are not "in" enough for it to dry, so that's not an option.

                They are all used every day, so the mud must be addressed daily; bathing it off is the best way I've found.

                With a clean, towel-dried leg to work on, and some pink-skinned horses, I can see clearly that I don't just want to leave them in wet mud unprotected all the time.

                My vet says MTG is a good approach. He also recommends a new generation Hydrogen Peroxide (OxGen?) just on the market, or Hibiclens, just to cut down the bacteria and other yuck that thrives in mud.

                Again, thanks all!


                • #9
                  I've been using either Microtek or Muck Itch. Both work well.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                    Unless a horse is really sensitive, I've always had pretty good luck just letting the mud stay--it provides its own barrier of sorts. Waiting for it to dry and brushing it off keeps the skin from being wetter than it needs to be all the time.
                    Ditto. Leave the hair on the legs long (ie, don't clip) and leave the horse be.
                    True North Dressage
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                    • #11
                      Sorry, for some reason vinegar is not helpful. Just the saurkraut juice for washing down the legs. Around here, juice is used for the actual scratches when the skin is cracking and not healing. Again, juice changes the PH of the skin to make skin not habitable for the germs.

                      Doesn't sound like fun at your house! At least for the moment, ground is all frozen hard up here.


                      • #12
                        The only other option I can think of woud be some sort of boots. I recall seeing ads for mud boots in British horse magazines. They looked like very thin shipping boots and went from the knee down past the coronet. However, I suspect you would not want a horse wearing those 24x7.

                        Perhaps you can put down some material on the heavily trafficked areas? Something like gravel, pit strippings or stone dust? The entrance to my run in can get quite muddy, every few years we put down a load of gravel. It works for a couple of years then it disappears into the earth and we have to add more.