Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mud Season, oh joy

It's here. Mud Season. Although we had a decent snow last week here in Rhode Island, the past several days have been in the high 40s or low 50s so everything is melting. It's beautiful spring weather (at least above ground) but it doesn't bode well for hooves.

I'd been worried about the mud issue ever since first moving to this barn - the turnouts being so small and not grassy - but I was really hoping we could hold out a little longer before the mud became a problem. Unfortunately yesterday when I went to the barn after work I discovered each of Charlie's heels was white and swollen with mud rash. Not surprising, once I had a look outside at the paddocks; they were complete mud pits:

I hadn't noticed anything when I groomed Charlie on Wednesday (I've been pretty vigilant about getting all the mud off his legs whenever I do see him). I guess it had only been snowing up until that point so everything was still frozen and he wasn't standing in wetness for any extended period of time until now. However that day it rained all day long before warming up significantly toward the end of the week which served to melt most of the remaining snow. I didn't make it back out to the barn until Saturday because of my work schedule, and by then the horses had been allowed out several times to take advantage of the nice weather. They just apparently were not hosed off when they came in (slightly irritating).

Treating the mud rash was the first "medical" thing I've had to do with Charlie and I was pleasantly surprised with how good he was. He walked right into the wash stall (which he had never been in before and which has all kinds of scary objects along the walls) and stood quietly while I hosed his legs/feet and scrubbed each foot/heel with betadine, including a few open sores which couldn't have been too comfortable. He even shifted his weight and lifted each foot up politely as I came up to it. What a good boy.

After the initial hose off. You can see the distinct white areas and a few sores on his heel bulb.
After letting the betadine sit for a while I dried everything really well and sprayed on some scarlet oil to kill bacteria and help it dry. I also have some diaper rash cream that I intend to use to soothe any irritation and seal out moisture once everything has had a chance to really dry out.

I feel good that I caught it fairly early, and Charlie's not lame at all, but I do feel bad for him and I'm a little disappointed that his legs weren't hosed off when he was brought in if it was that he has to stay in for a few days while his heels dry out and he's not going to like that at all.

"Honestly, mom, it's not so bad. Just give me lots of cookies" :)


  1. B and Kid's paddock is nasty muddy too and I worry about that. You're an awesome mommy! If you need a topical spray or anything like that, the Vetericyn spray/gel hasn't failed me yet.

    1. Thanks Maddy! If it doesn't start to clear up with what I've got I'll try the Vetericyn.

  2. I feel like a lot of farms would let horses get muddy and not hose legs when brought in. I'm almost positive my barn wouldn't hose hues legs. Luckily out farms fields aren't too too bad. When it's really bad the horses don't go out because the fields are too sloppy and the BO didn't want the fields shot or the horses to get hurt. Kinda stinks in the moment but we rarely have these muddy yuck issues. I guess it's all a give and take when boarding? Maybe you could see about paying to have them hose his legs off after turnout? Glad you caught if early!

  3. Our farm wouldn't hose legs either, but it definitely is annoying. Luckily the mud issue isn't a huge deal out here - only at times.