Horses burn similarly to the way that humans do – that is, the lighter the skin, the easier the burn. However, even if you have a fully black or bay horse, they are susceptible to the harsh rays of the sun. Sunburn is just as painful for horses as it is for humans, and shows up in much the same way – red, raw skin, hot and sore to the touch, which, if left untreated, can become flaky, cracked and may blister. Thankfully, we can prevent it in much the same way we prevent our own sunburn.
Stay out of the sun!
Many people stable their horses during the hottest hours of the day – however, this is only beneficial if your stable is well ventilated and cool. If you don’t stable your horses, try to make sure they have adequate shade – plenty of tree cover, a paddock lean-to or shelter.
Slip, Slop, Slap!
Just as it works for humans, it works for horses too!
Slip on a rug – a lightweight turnout combo offers maximum protection. Don’t forget that it’s hot as well – consider the weight and density of the rug, because your horse also needs to be cool.
Slop on some sunscreen – there are several horse sunscreens available, perhaps from your local tack store or feed shed. Otherwise, bust out the same sunscreen you use on yourself! Coloured sunblocks are a great idea – they make it much easier to tell when your horse has rubbed some off or where you’ve already applied some.
Slap on a hat – or in this case, a flyveil. This is the best way of protecting your horses eyes and forehead (the areas most susceptible) from sunburn. Several fly masks also come with muzzle flaps, which will help protect the sensitive, soft skin around your horses nostrils and mouth.
If your horse is already burnt, treat it similarly to the way you’d treat your own. Aloe sunburn treatments will immediately sooth your horses burn, and will help re-moisturize and heal your horses skin. Otherwise, any soothing antiseptic ointment such as Savlon, Sudocream or Germoline can help.
Treating your horses sunburn similarly to how you’d treat your own makes for a simple solution – but remember, we can prevent it just as easily, and prevention is always better than cure.
Photo credit: http://sxc.hu