Last year, Fargo and his two pasture mates had crumbly, scabby skin after a long winter of snow, rain and heavy blankets. The owner of the other two horses thought it was mites and dusted her mares with a chemical smelling powder. Looking at Fargo’s beautiful big brown eyes, though, I couldn’t bear to coat him with something that seemed so toxic. After a consultation with my mom and one of her horse loving friends, I mixed up coconut oil with a few drops of tea tree oil and spread it on the crusty areas.
To make a long story short, the ‘mites’ cleared up within a week. And when the other two horses didn’t get better, their owner asked for some of my all natural solution. Same as Fargo; immediately better.
Fast forward a year and the same thing, but not quite as bad, showed up on Fargo again. This time, I Googled the symptoms and came up with a different diagnosis: Rain rot.
Rain rot sounds a lot scarier than it is. Also known as dermatophilosis, it’s basically an infection caused by bacteria that grow close to a horse’s warm, damp skin. Rain rot thrives in wet conditions, which explains why Fargo was starting to show signs of it after weeks of rain.
Most rain rot heals on its own, but seeing bare patches of skin scared me, and I didn’t want to risk it.
Turns out, I had done it right last year without even knowing. Antibacterial shampoos or medicine are often used, and Listerine is a popular home treatment, but many natural horse owners swear by essential oils.
If your horse is dealing with rain rot, don’t start with the more toxic treatments. Try this first!
- two tablespoons coconut oil
- three or four drops of peppermint or tea tree oil
Combine the oils and heat until the mixture is liquid, then apply it to the affected areas.
Simple, safe and effective!
Stay happy and healthy!
~Shyla and Fargo