Equine Saddle Sores Prevention and Treatment
While you cannot saddle a horse when it has a saddle sore, you can ride bareback or just simply spend time on the ground with your horse. In this article I will explain prevention, causes and treatment for a saddle sore.
Saddle sores can be very detrimental to you and your horses relationship. The pain associated with a saddle sore can cause a horse to become unusable until it heals fully. While you cannot saddle a horse while it has a saddle sore, you can ride bareback or just simply spend time on the ground with your horse. In this article I will explain prevention, causes and treatment for a saddle sore.
Preventing a saddle sore is always foremost concerning the issue. Saddle sores can almost always be prevented by proper cleaning, saddling and riding. Prior to any saddle being placed on your horse, you need to do a very thorough brushing of your horse. Pay special attention to any areas that the saddle pad and saddle parts will touch. The most common places for a saddle sore to develop are the withers and girth. Brush these places to be sure there is no dirt that can rub into the horse's skin.
It is also very important to be sure your saddle fits your horse properly. A saddle that is too large will wobble and rub with each step your horse takes. A saddle that is too small will put too much pressure and eventually wear through the coat of the horse. Be sure that the tree of the saddle fits your horse properly before saddling up.
Riding in correct posture can also help prevent saddle sores. Always carry some weight in the stirrups, and be careful to sit upright, not leaning too far forward or too far backward. Be sure to sit in the center of the saddle seat so that your weight is distributed equally throughout the saddle. Sitting too far back puts excess pressure on the back of the saddle causing it to rub excessively.
The main cause of a saddle sore is from the saddle rubbing the horse in the wrong places for too long. It is always best to remove the saddle when you are not riding, even if you are only taking a short break. This will allow the horse and the saddle pad to dry out. You can also use this time to brush down the saddle area to be sure you dirt or other product has gotten between the horse and its saddle.
Also, always check your saddle blanket and cinch for dirt, weeds, or foreign objects. If the cushion becomes too worn that there is no protection for the horse, you may need to buy a new saddle pad. The cinch should be completely clean as well.
Treatment for saddle sores is very basic. Keep the area completely clean, and never saddle over a saddle sore. If there is swelling, you can apply a cold compress or just a cool washcloth over the area. Try to keep the sore dry so that it can heal. You can apply some iodine to prevent an infection. If the sore becomes infected, you will have to have your veterinarian come and apply some healing medicine and give you further instructions.
As the sore heals, the skin will reform and eventually the hair will grow again. Many times the hair comes in white, so there will always be a remembrance of the saddle sore. It is always best to prevent and avoid any saddle sore. Pay special attention of your horses coat when you unsaddle and examine the area to see if any saddle sores are developing. If caught early, you can often prevent the further development of the sore.