Dry Winter Skin in Horses: 5 Powerful Herbs that Help
Colder winter temperatures pose challenges for our horses, especially when it comes to dry skin. But before using pharmaceutical topicals, learn more about the natural herbs for soothing and healing your equine’s dry winter skin.
What Causes Dry Winter Skin in Horses?
Changes in weather can increase dry winter skin dryness in horses. Even cold temperatures can cause moisture to evaporate from your horse’s skin leading to dry hair and skin. In addition, cold winter winds also cause the skin to become irritated, chapped and flaky.
To help avoid dry and irritated winter skin, keep your horse’s coat well-conditioned and protected with blankets and/or shelter from the harsh winter elements.
Other potential causes of dry winter skin include:
- Over Bathing
- Poor Grooming
- Diet & Dehydration
- Hormonal Changes
- Weakened Immune System
Why Herbal Skin Remedies?
Many natural herbs offer powerful skin-soothing and healing properties with rare side effects. Unlike many man-made products with artificial ingredients, colors and even preservatives potentially creating unwanted, negative side effects. Botanicals are known to naturally and gently soothe, cool and heal a variety of skin conditions (for both people and horses).
“With the explosion of interest in natural remedies in recent years, we have seen a leap in scientific investigations into how herbal skin remedies work for both us and our horses.” (Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD)
Natural herbs can gently protect – and promote – equine skin wellness. Carefully chosen – and properly used – herbs and essential oils are powerful in soothing, nourishing and healing dry skin. They can also help alleviate the intense itchiness which often deteriorates into a never-ending cycle of inflammation and exacerbated itchiness.
Natural herbal remedies come in a variety of forms including:
- Balms, Salves and Creams
- Essential Oils
While dry skin is not life-threatening, it should never be ignored for your equine’s wellness and comfort. Just like with humans, the horse’s skin is the largest organ and its condition indicates your horse’s overall health.
5 Herbs to Relieve Dry and Irritated Winter Skin
The botanicals below possess a variety of naturally occurring properties to help reduce pain and soothe inflammation from dry skin and make your horse feel more comfortable. In addition, these herbs also promote natural and accelerated healing of the skin.
Make a Natural Aloe & Tea Tree Oil Spray for Your Horse
Mix water, aloe vera gel and tea tree oil; spray on dry, itchy skin.
(Source: Horse Home Remedies from DanceyQuarterHorses.com)
These natural oils are distilled from leaves, flowers or woods. Many are also antimicrobial (topical disinfectants). But it’s important to remember that essential oils are also highly potent and can be irritating or even toxic if they are not properly diluted. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions.
Warning: If you or your horse are pregnant (or could be), avoid using essential oils.
- All herbal products should only be applied to a clean area.
- Botanically active chemicals may trigger allergic reactions especially for horses with sensitive skin. First test an herbal product on the skin at the back of the pastern (the leg area between the fetlock and the top of the hoof). Watch for any negative reactions for 24 hours before applying to the problem area.
- Herbal remedies like aloe, comfrey, calendula and lavender stimulate healing and have a low risk of irritation.
- Herbal remedies including mullein, yarrow and tea tree oil promote skin conditioning. Never use undiluted tea tree oil on your horse.
- Store all herbal remedies in a cool place away from sunlight in lightproof containers.
- Throw away opened botanical products after one year after purchase. (Sooner if there is a change in smell, color or texture.)
- Herbal products still sealed in airtight containers and properly stored are good for up to two years.
Before using any herbal or botanical remedy or essential oils on your horse, work with your regular veterinarian or a holistic veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan to protect your horse’s overall well-being, safety and wellness.
Regular grooming keeps your horse’s skin well-conditioned!
Winter’s cold and dry air can lead to dry and itchy skin for your horse. Regular grooming helps stimulate and distribute natural oils in their skin.
The EquiGroomer products offer easy brushing with NO pulling or discomfort and removes only what needs to be removed.
For individual or bulk orders, call 860-573-0604 or click here to send us an email.
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