Although the arrival of spring is often eagerly anticipated, it brings with it a few added complications for our horses and ourselves. The prolonged dampness of spring mud can create a whole host of issues for the skin on a horse's legs.
Here are 4 easy essential oil solutions to help protect your horse from muddy conditions.
Skin problems caused by prolonged moisture/mud exposure
Mud and moisture provide a perfect wet, dark and warm place for all sorts of fungal and bacterial growths.
Some horses are prone to a condition of the lower legs called; ‘mud fever’, ‘scratches’, ‘cracked heels’, ‘dew poisoning’ and ‘greasy heel’, to name a few of it’s common names. The official veterinarian term is dermatophilosis, which is an infection caused by a bacteria after it enters raw, exposed skin aggravated by mud exposure.
Basically the continual dampness and irritation can cause a dermatitis or folliculitis. This is often worse for feathered horses and those with white legs.
The condition is caused when the surface of the skin is compromised (broken, scratched etc) from particulate matter in the mud.
The moisture from continued mud exposure and a combination of bacteria, fungi and/or parasites then infects area.
Symptoms can include swelling, painful sores and scabs that can ooze fluids. Severe cases can cause lameness and travel up to belly and neck.
Natural preventive solutions using essential oils
The best line of defence is to prevent as much as possible the repeated/continual wetting of the skin.
To help protect our horse's legs from becoming irritated or infected, we can use the natural antiseptic and protective properties of essential oils.
doTERRA OnGuard is a proprietary blend of Wild Orange Peel, Clove Bud, Cinnamon Leaf, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Leaf, and Rosemary Leaf/Flower essential oils.
To help support your horse during the muddy seasons, try one of these 4 easy natural solutions:
- Never share the tack (boots, wraps…) of an infected horse as the contagions can transfer from one horse to another. Boots and tack can be naturally disinfected between uses by spraying them with a solution of tea tree oil and water. Tea tree essential oil is well known for its wide range of antiseptic properties. To learn more about tea tree's benefits, read the article here.
- Another great line of defence we like to have on hand is doTERRA OnGuard Protective Mist. Clean your horse's legs fully and once dry, spray the area you're concerned about. You can use this as a preventive measure and if you see the beginnings of the condition. OnGuard Protective Mist comes ready to use in a 27 ml mist bottle and also works great as a hand and surface cleaner for riders. Alternatively, see below for a great DIY recipe.
- For a DIY leg rub you can combine doTERRA OnGuard essential oil blend and coconut oil. Try 5 drops of OnGuard in 15 ml of fractionated coconut oil.
- A great barrier to leave on for specific spots is On Guard toothpaste or other natural toothpaste infused with OnGuard Protective essential oil blend. Alternatively to OnGuard, try any of the essential oils listed below.
DIY OnGuard mist:
Combining 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel with 20 drops dōTERRA On Guard oil in a 8 oz glass spray bottle. Top up with distilled or pure water and secure lid. Shake before each use.
DIY OnGuard rub:
Rub 5 drops mixed with 1 Tbsp of coconut oil into lower limbs sparingly as a preventive measure, or spot treat if you see signs of redness.
Other Essential Oil solutions
Some single oils that have beneficial properties in this regard: Clove Bud, Copaiba, Frankincense, Helichrysum, Lavender, Myrrh, Oregano, Patchouli, Roman Chamomile, Tea Tree, Thyme.
A few drops of 2 or 3 of these single oils can be used in a shampoo or create your own DIY rub or mist as listed above.
We love to answer your questions! If you would like to find out more about how essential oils can support your horse's health, please email us at email@example.com or leave a comment below.
Amanda and Daniela