Temperatures are rising all over Europe. It is very important to protect our horses not only against the sun itself but against sun burns as well. Therefore we would like to give you some tips and tricks to prevent your horse from getting burned.
Cause of sunburn
The sun provides both visible and invisible rays. Ultraviolet radiation is invisible and therefore it can burn the skin unnoticed. A horse that is in full sun every day is at risk of getting burned at the white skin under the nose, lips and legs. Because there is little hair on the nose and lips of your horse, this skin burns quickly. Ultraviolet rays from sunlight cause the skin to become red, swollen, warm and irritated. This creates blisters, cracks and scabs that can become inflamed and cause a lot of discomfort to your horse.
Horses with little pigment in the skin are more sensitive to burn. Thin or hairless skin burns faster than skin with a thick coat. With horses, this sensitive, often pink, skin is on the nose, lips, lower legs and sometimes the ears. Fur- and light-colored horses with little pigment in their skin and horses with many white markings are extra sensitive to sunburn. The underlying skin color that is the cause of the sensitivity. For example, a grey horse has a white coat, but a dark skin that is rich in pigment. Because of this, a grey is often not as sensitive to sunburn as you might think.
Of course you try to prevent your horse from burning. First of all, provide enough shade in the field. The Field Relief Muzzle is a nose cap that has prevented a burnt nose with many horses. This practical nose cap does a good job by blocking 80% of the UV rays. In addition, you can prevent sunburn by putting some sunblock or sunscreen on the unpigmented skin of your horse. You can protect the legs of your horse with UV-resistant leg protectors. Many fly and eczema blankets are also UV resistant. This way your horse can graze without burning his body.
Is your horse’s skin burned after all? First keep your horse out of the sun for giving his skin the opportunity to relax. Cool and soothe the skin with a greasy ointment or lotion such as zinc ointment. Try to avoid keeping the wounds through the nose clean. If the skin damage is severe, it is best to contact your vet.