Summer skin issues for horses


Summer creates skin issues for horses because it can. Bugs, heat, sprays, dew, you name it. That’s the best explanation I have! But let’s examine some common summer skin problems and see what we can do for our horses.


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  • Sunburn – Totally painful and also totally preventable. Pink-skinned horses (true white hair) will suffer unless they are protected with zinc ointment, fly masks, fly boots, and/or daytime stabling. It’s actually really easy to prevent if you put protection in place in the morning. Blisters on pink skin might be sunburn, or it might be photosensitivity, so involve your vet. Photosensitivity often has accompanying liver problems, which are B-A-D. More on sunburn here.


horse wearing a fly mask with ears and full nose coverage

Cover up to prevent sunburn!


  • Rubs – So in an attempt to protect our horses from the universe of sun and bugs we often create rubs with our sheets and face masks. Inspect withers, shoulders, inside of hind legs, under the neck, well, just look everywhere. You will see shortened hairs, crumpled hairs, out of place hairs before the rub goes bald. After a bald spot forms, your horse will get a sore. Attack with new clothes, fuzzy padding, adjusting the fit, or sheet liners. Having a few styles of muzzles and sheets and fly masks allows you to rotate through if one is creating a rub. For more on rubs, read this. I also use body glide sticks that runners and hikers use to prevent rubs and sores.



horse pink nose doing flehmen response

Pink skin needs protection


  • Insect bites – these vary in severity from a little spot, to a huge hive, to a bald open sore, to nothing more than an itchy spot. Ticks can be particularly irritating, not to mention disease-carrying, so inspect daily and remove them. Larger bites can affect tack. Bites that turn into sores might get infected. Any severe bite warrants a phone call to the vet just in case.


sox for horses on a horse leg standing in grass

Silver Whinny’s from Sox for Horses are a must for the horse that stomps, is photosensitive, has scratches, or mystery skin funk.


  • Scratches and Equine Pastern Dermatitis (EPD) – the dreaded lower leg war of the scabs. Clean and dry is best, so it catching it early. Daily leg inspections (wouldn’t you know you can read about that here) catch scratches early. Sometimes you can nip things in the bud, sometimes you need the vet. Scratches can also look like photosensitivity, so be aware. More on EPD here with some frankly gross photos.


  • Summer fungus – A popular description among horse owners, especially those in hot and humid areas. A fungus amongus is often a case of a bacterial infection, but saying fungus amongus is clearly more fun to say. Sometimes topical potions help, sometimes they don’t. The key is early detection, and looping the vet in for suggestions. Sometimes systemic antibiotics are warranted.


small scab on horse heel that indicates equine scratches or dermatitis

Super fun scratches. 🙁 At least it’s very small.


  • Sweet itch – A super horrible reaction to tiny, almost invisible midge bugs. The reaction causes intense itching, which causes rubbing, which causes scabs, which cause itching… you see how this is bad. Specialty sheets and fatty acid based fly sprays help. More deets here!


  • Random bald spots on the face – who knows. So many reasons – sweat, fly sprays, rubs from masks, bugs. Same as usual – monitor and intervene if necessary. More on random bald spot formations here.


Daily grooming, sun protection, and a super fly control plan can all work together to give your horse the best possible summer skin.


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Click these links to shop for horse supplies. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, which are not a penny more for you. I couldn’t be more grateful for your support! You can also visit my Amazon storefront here:  PEG storefront.

Big Hoss - Outlaw Nutrition

Omega 3's plus gut health support in a delicious cold milled flax formula. It's delicious and it will turn your horse's coat into a mirror.

Whinny Wellies from Sox For Horses

Tough, weather-resistant covering for wraps and bandaging.

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SHAPLEY'S Medi-Care Med Shampoo W/Tea Tree & Lemon Grass, 32 oz

The best shampoo for shine and soothing.

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SHAPLEY'S Medi-Care Med Shampoo W/Tea Tree & Lemon Grass, 32 oz

The best shampoo for shine and soothing.

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Shapley’s 32 oz. Color Enhancing Shampoo - Whitening Formula

For all colors - to add shine and help lift stains.

05/08/2024 01:18 am GMT
Shapley's Equitone 32 oz. Color Enhancing Shampoo, GOLD

Brighten duns, palominos, and golden colors.

05/09/2024 01:58 am GMT
Shapley's 32 oz. Color Enhancing Shampoo, BLACK
$23.49 $17.65

For dark bays, black points, and black horses

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SHAPLEY'S 32 oz. Color Enhancing Shampoo, RED

For chestnuts and some bays

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Shapley's No.2 Heavy Oil

For deep conditioning and detangling - coat, mane, and tail.

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Shapley's No.1 Light Oil
$19.99 ($0.62 / Fl Oz)

For shine, conditioning, detangling, and stain protection.

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HANDSON Pet Grooming Gloves - Grooming, Bathing, Shedding
$24.99 $16.99

These are HandsOn Gloves with special pricing! Only in the color gray.

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Fly Whisk

For *mostly* bug free riding

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Farnam Equi-Spot, Horse Fly and Tick Control, 12-Week Supply for One Horse
$27.49 $23.99

This spot-on product kills and repels ticks and helps with mosquito control.

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Cashel Quiet Ride Horse Fly Mask with Long Nose and Ears

This style is great for riding!

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Thank you!


Thank you!