Should You Wash Mud Off Horses Legs?
Should you wash the mud off horses legs? The question to wash mud off horses legs can be heavily debated on the yard. Tackling the mud is a tricky one with horses, as we strive to keep our horses clean but also their health in tip-top shape! In a constant battle against the weather, you’ll never find a horse owner too far away from a stiff dandy brush in an attempt to get scrub away layers of mud. However, a question often asked is should you wash mud off horses legs or wait until it’s dry?
We took a closer look to see which is better for our horse’s health, well-being and appearance, plus we found some great tips on how to prevent muddy legs altogether!
Washing Muddy Legs…
On soggy days, when your horse’s legs are covered in mud, it may be the best course of action to wash that mud off.
If the skin is already wet, its protective function is already compromised and bacteria can easily penetrate the surface. Therefore, leaving a layer of mud on the legs may make your horse susceptible to developing mud fever.
This is due to the mud-fever causing bacteria, Dermatophilus congolensis, being present in mud itself. Being left in a warm and moist environment, like the skin, the bacteria have the perfect breeding ground. Therefore, with wet mud left on the skin, this bacteria has the prime opportunity to breed and cause problems.
Therefore, washing legs which are already wet should cause no issue. However, ensure your horse’s legs are thoroughly towel-dried. Towel-drying legs, once washed, will reduce the amount of natural oils evaporating from the surface of the skin. This prevents dry and itchy legs, which will cause discomfort and distress to your horse.
If your horse’s legs are exposed to a lot of water, regularly make sure you provide extra protection in the form of a barrier ointment. Barrier creams provide a waterproof layer to protect against wet conditions. Some also contain antibacterial agents to fight sources of infection, plus essential oils to moisturise the area!
When not wash horses legs
When the temperatures goes below freezing, it is advisable not to wash muddy legs with a cold hose. A warm bucket of water with an antibacterial additive can be used to wash away excess mud and can help kill any bacteria present.
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Brushing Muddy Legs…
If the mud on your horse’s legs is damp or nearly dry, it may be best to wait until they are dry, then brush it off with a stiff brush.
Brushing off mud will prevent washing away natural and essential oils from the skin’s surface. With natural oils acting as waterproofing, a moisturiser and protection against bacteria, they are vital for skin health.
If your horse is clipped, or just not a fan of stiff brushes being used on them, opt for a Magic Brush. Magic brushes have smaller, gentler bristles, which are kinder to the skin. Alternatively, a soft rubber curry comb or a massage mitt may do the trick!
When removing the mud, make sure to check the condition of your horse’s skin. If you begin notice dry or flaky skin, it is advised to begin applying a barrier cream before turning out. Barrier creams prevent further drying and the development of sores.
Preventing Muddy Legs…
If your horse hates water, especially when icy cold in winter, try some turnout boots. Preventing the legs from getting caked in mud, these boots can go a long way to saving time and energy fighting the never-ending battle of mud!
In addition, try to prevent access to very muddy areas of your turnout space, such as gateways. Should you have the luxury of multiple entrances to your paddock, mix and match where you enter and exit. This will reduce the tendency of your horse to gravitate toward one space when it’s feeding time or on those more miserable days.
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