Under your horse’s tail
As tempting as it is to routinely skip grooming this area, cleaning and inspect under the tail is just as important as the eyes and hooves. A lot can go on under your horse’s tail – some things are benign, and some are downright dangerous.
Train your horse to be touched everywhere
- Daily handling and grooming of your horse’s tail area is also a requirement for safe horse handling. It’s unacceptable for a horse to tell you what you can or can’t look at or touch. This is immediately evident when that untouchable area becomes injured and needs daily attention and medication. Train your horse NOW to avoid unraveling your relationship when you need to medicate or handle those untouchable areas LATER.
Small growths like this can easily be handled before they grow and cause major problems.
When it comes to the area under your horse’s tail, you might find:
- Dirt, crusty sweat, and flaky skin are all common. You can also find ticks, cuts, sores, rubbed skin between butt cheeks, and even growths.
- You may also find some emergencies – like a prolapsed rectum or uterus. Prolapsed means that what should be inside is now outside. If you ever watch your horse pass manure, you will notice that you can see some pink or reddish tissue at the very end. If it stays out, it’s a life-threatening emergency. The same is true for your mare’s reproductive system under the tail.
- You may also find that your horse’s manure has changed and left some streaks on your horse. This is a sign something is going on – pay attention! It could be as simple as a new hay delivery, but it’s always good to notice any changes.
Clean under your horse’s tail
- If everything looks peachy and keen, don’t use shampoo, detergents, or soap. Water can take any flakes, dirt, or dried sweat. Rinse with warm water, a soft sponge, or a fuzzy washcloth will do. There is no need for a brush or curry comb here.
Sweat and friction can often cause the butt cheeks to lose hair and create sores. OUCH.
When to call the vet
- Call the vet when you notice major differences in the hair, skin, or tissue.
- Mares often have discharge during their estrus cycles, so pay attention to the pattern. Baby wipes are great for this time to clean up any discharge. Unusual or foul-smelling discharge should be looked at by your vet.
- You may also find that much further down between the butt cheeks, sores and rubs can happen. Friction from sweat and dirt and exercise can rub away the skin, a little bit of ointment helps to heal these sores and provide some grease to prevent new ones. I like to use body glide for runners and hikers here.
Know your horse’s normals
Any new growths, discharges, sores, or questions you find need to be discussed with your veterinarian. It’s all about keeping your horse healthy – from top to bottom and front to back!
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