Continuing from my previous post, here’s some more tips and advise for you and your horse this autumn.


Parasites can cause skin issues such as itchiness, hair loss, inflammation and lesions, such as spirurid stomach worm larvae or adult Onchocerca cervicalis worm. As it’s starting to rain more and the ground is getting softer and muddier, this is a common time of the year for horses to develop parasite infections.

Additionally, horses will start staying in longer in stables, therefore it’s important to not only keep turn outs clean but also their stables.

Cross contamination between horses can commonly happen in wet and muddy ground, couple that with manure it becomes ideal ground for bacteria to grow and spread around.

Although more common in winter, mud fever starts becoming more common as soon as the fields get wetter and muddier, plus dirty stables can add and be a cause of this.

Common signs of mud fever include:

  • Crusty scabs appearing on the heels or lower legs.
  • Broken and/or damaged skin.
  • Matted hair or patches of hair loss with raw skin underneath.
  • A creamy, white, yellow, or green discharge between the skin and the scabs.
  • Heat, pain and swelling in the lower limb.
  • In severe cases, lameness may also be seen.

Seeing the signs earlier gets the best results, so always clean your horses’ hoofs when muddy and keep an eye open for the above signs.

If you see any signs of skin problems contact your vet, as these should be treated immediately and limits the opportunity of spreading.


If you’re going to clip your horse, you need to decide now as their winter coat is starting to establish.

If you clip or not clip, depends on your horse, if your horse is competing clipping regularly is important, some owners feel that clipping their horse in autumn and winter makes their horse livelier and leaving a winter coat on them makes them quieter, but there is no research to support this.

A horse will keep itself warm by developing its winter coat, this will depend on the horse but with all horses the hair will grow thicker and longer. The hair is covered in natural grease, which works as a water repellent and stop the skin getting wet. Over grooming will remove some of these oils thus affect the horse’s coat’s ability to repel water, and obviously over clipping will take away the horse’s natural body warmer. But in some horses that grow a thick coat can lead to complications as the hair can remain wet from being outside and get them cold. If unsure what to do always chat to your vet for their recommendations at your horse.


It’s important to protect your horses’ feet from hard ground and give them support when doing activities such as polo, racing and show jumping. But as you and your horse may be doing less activity over autumn and winter, some owners find it useful to take off horseshoes and allow the hooves grow naturally in preparation for spring.

Your farrier will be able to advise you on what specifically will be best for your horse, as all horses need specific care suitable to them and their needs.

Part three of your autumn checklist will be out soon, to keep up to date with articles, advice or to book a visit with me, follow me on Facebook @4legosteopathy