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Repair & Prepare: Post-Show Season Horse Care

Repair & Prepare: Post-Show Season Horse Care


Fall is the perfect time of year to focus on horse care after a grueling summer show season. The lighter workload in the late fall gives horse and rider ample time to repair from the summer show season and prepare for the upcoming winter circuit. This also means that equestrians will have ample time for horse grooming and to address any health issues that appeared over the summer show season.


Many dedicated equestrians describe show season as fun and rewarding, but also grueling. Not only are horse and rider spending long days at shows, but in between competitions they’re practicing for hours. Many riders will work their show horses five or six days a week. This intense workout schedule can lead to tack rubs.

Even the most well-fitting tack can cause tack rubs if dirt and sweat gets trapped between the tack and the horse’s skin. Sensitive and “thin-skinned” horses, like arabians and thoroughbreds, are more prone to developing rubs compared to other breeds. The most common tack rubs are related to the girth, legs, and spurs.

A rider with a particularly active leg can lead to chafing just behind the girth, particularly if the horse has been recently clipped. Spurs can also cause tack rubs, whether they’ve been used improperly or just due to the friction of the metal against the hair coat. Girth rubs are perhaps the most common. Girth galls, a severe form of girth rubs, are skin sores that develop due to friction between the girth and the skin. These can be caused by a girth that is dirty or hard, or one that doesn’t fit well and is too tight for the horse.

To address tack rubs, it’s important to first fix the cause of the rub. After all of your tack has been checked by a professional and you’re certain that it fits perfectly, then you can proceed to working on the rubs themselves. Nourish your horse’s skin with an equine barrier cream, like Zarasyl. Applying Zarasyl creates a protective layer between your tack and the horse’s skin. Plus, Zarasyl’s formula creates a superior moisturizing environment, which has been shown to be ideal for wound healing.


It’s very common for show horses from all disciplines to have an issue with pastern dermatitis, colloquially called scratches, at the end of the season. Traveling to horse shows exposes horses to a lot of different bacteria than what they would normally encounter at home. Eventers and those who compete in Western Trail Classes in particular may have an issue with fungal infections, because they’ve been riding in and out of water all summer long.

Fall is the perfect time of year to attack pastern dermatitis. The cold weather alone will help to kill off bacteria. Plus, many show horses will be spending more time inside and out of the mud, which helps to limit exposure to more bacteria or fungal spores.

Many equestrians think they have to wash their horse’s legs in order to have a chance at getting rid of their horse’s scratches. The reality is that washing your horse’s legs with a strong soap, like povidone iodine solution, can actually do more harm than good. For many horses, this type of solution is too harsh and will negatively impact healthy tissue, as well as kill bacteria.

The good news is that you aren’t required to use water when caring for a horse with pastern dermatitis. Instead, add Zarasyl into your horse care or horse grooming routine. To use Zarasyl, thoroughly groom your horse’s legs. Don’t aggressively pick or curry off any scabs, as this can make the infection worse. After horse grooming, apply a thin layer of Zarasyl to the affected area.


Saddle sores don’t have to be dramatic open wounds. Some saddle sores can be difficult to see and you won’t know they occurred until white hairs start to appear on your horse’s withers or back. While most equestrians would never compete a horse with a saddle sore, the weeks of hard riding through the show season can make one appear almost without your notice. If your horse recently developed a saddle sore, or you’ve just noticed one, it’s important to manage this condition early.

Add applying a barrier cream into your horse care routine. A barrier cream, like Zarasyl, creates a protective layer that may help to prevent these sores from worsening. However, you’ll likely still struggle with saddle sores until you fix the cause of the problem– poor saddle fit. The break in between the summer show season and the winter show circuit is the perfect time to address saddle sores, due to the lighter workload. While you get your saddle evaluated, consider taking a break from horse riding and focusing on horse care instead. The best time to heal a saddle sore is while your horse is not being ridden.


During the summer show season, you were probably bathing your horse at least a few times a month in an effort to keep them clean for competitions. With the advent of cooler weather and the end of show season, most equestrians stop bathing their horses in the late autumn. Once bathing is no longer an option, it’s a good idea to increase the frequency of horse grooming.

There are many benefits to horse grooming. The break in bathing gives your horse time to replenish the natural oils in the hair coat, which protect the skin. Currying and grooming your horse increases blood flow to the skin and coat, which stimulates production of natural oils. These oils keep your horse’s skin happy and healthy. Horse grooming also removes bacteria-housing dirt from the horse’s skin, reducing risk of infection.

Treat horse grooming like a day at the spa for your horse. During the break between show seasons, spend extra time massaging their skin with your curry comb, applying beneficial coat products, and going over their legs with a fine tooth comb for burgeoning skin infections. The extra time you spend on horse grooming now, means your horse will be shiny and happy for the winter show season ahead.


Taking the time to repair from the previous show season and prepare for the winter circuit means prioritizing horse care and focusing on horse grooming in the fall. Zarasyl is a tack trunk essential for this time of year. Veterinarians and customers have reported success using Zarasyl as a barrier cream on skin issues, like pastern dermatitis and tack rubs.

Read our testimonials to find out how Zarasyl has helped other customers and their horses to prepare for the next show season.

Zarasyl is a barrier cream for Equine animals - it can be used as a barrier in the management of Wounds, Lacerations, Incisions, Pastern Dermatitis (Mud Fever), Sweet Itch, Irritated and itchy skin, Burns, Pressure Sores, Boot rubs and can be found on Equivont.