If you want to look after your horse the natural way, you should take a look at the whole picture. Imagine how wild horses live and think about their grooming rituals for a minute. If you want to keep your horse healthy, learn about the skin and possible issues arising from modern horse-keeping.
Take good care of it: The skin is the horse's natural barrier
Have you ever noticed that wild horses are usually very clean? Of course, they roll around in dust and mud, but this dirt protects them from insects and environmental influences. Wild horses never roll in places where they poop. They spend the whole day out and about (foraging) and are exposed to all weathers. The sun warms their coat and stimulates hair growth. The wind blows dust and dirt away, and rain provides the right amount of moisture for the horse skin.
Horses scratch each other. This mutual care fulfils not only a grooming but also a social function: horses that are pals look out for each other’s itchy places. Usually, one horse crawls the other on the spot where it wants to be groomed, be it for a few seconds or several minutes.
The Horse’s Skin — Natural Protective Layer
The skin of a horse consists of the epidermis, the dermis, and subcutaneous tissue. The skin is the main barrier between the organs and the environment.
Protects the organs and muscles
Regulates the body temperature by sweating: the evaporating water cools the horse
Controls the water balance
Keeps germs and intruders away
Pigmentation protects against UV-radiation
Equipped with thousands of nerve cells, the horse also feels the smallest touches, such as the landing of a fly or mosquito.
There are about 12 different species of bacteria and about 31 species of fungi on the top layer of a horse’s skin. They are absolutely necessary to keep the skin healthy and in balance.
Horses also have normal, dry, oily and sensitive skin.
Just like our skin, the horse skin must be in balance in order to stay healthy.
Next week I will talk more about the function of the skin. Talk to you soon!