Spring is here and summer’s approaching. That means warm weather, great riding days, and lots of sun. As exciting as this might be for riders after a long, potentially dreary, winter, it can mean bad news for pink-skinned horses or those with photosensitivity—a sensitivity to light. These horses are at risk for sunburn, and it’s up to you to protect them.
To help improve your understanding of these conditions and get you started on keeping your horse’s skin healthy this summer, we’ve compiled 10 resources available free on TheHorse.com. Find more by searching “sun,” “sunburn,” or “photosensitization” on TheHorse.com.
ARTICLE: Burning Up: Photosensitization and Sunburn in Horses Chrome enchants horse owners and judges alike, but the flipside to flashy, however, is that the underlying unpigmented skin is vulnerable to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays—and burn it does. But these horses’ reactions can become even more serious than sunburn, involving localized swelling, crusty scabs, oozing blisters, and areas of severe inflammation. These are all signs of photosensitivity, which can be brought on by a variety of exposures. Read More
INFOGRAPHIC: Sunburn and Horses Sun damage is a serious problem for some horses. It causes severe, painful blistering around sensitive areas, such as the eyes, muzzle, and flanks. Learn strategies for protecting your pink-skinned horse from the sun’s damaging rays in this in-depth infographic. View Now
FARM CALL: Sunburn Solutions My neighbor has a major problem with sunburn on her Appaloosa mare. The sunburn is pink and inflamed, and we haven’t found anything that helps it. What do you recommend to help it heal? Read the Answer
AT A GLANCE: 5 Ways to Prevent Sunburn in Horses Spring and summer are favorite seasons for many horse owners. The warm weather months bring with them sun-filled days, horse shows, and long, leisurely trail rides. However, if your horse has a bald face or light-colored skin and is prone to burning, the sun’s bright rays might have you both running for the shade. For pinked-skin horses sunburn is an all too common and painful reality. Download Now
ARTICLE: Sunburn and Photosensitivity in Horses The skin is the largest organ of the body. It serves to protect internal structures from a variety of environmental stimuli. In the summer months this is an especially vital organ for fending off a barrage of flies and the relenting summer sun. But it’s at risk for sunburn and damage from photosensitization. Read More
ARTICLE: Can Alfalfa Induce Type 1 Photosensitization in Horses? Researchers concluded that alfalfa hay can induce primary photosensitization, but what it results from remains unclear. Read More
SLIDESHOW: Help! My Horse is Sun-Sensitive Contest: Editors’ Picks Readers submitted stories and photos of their sun-sensitive horses. Discover how they protect their horses from the sun. View Now
FARM CALL: Blue-Eyed Blues I recently purchased a Paint horse with a bald face with two blue eyes and pink skin around his eyes. I know I need to be careful of sunburn since his skin is pink, but are there any other potential problems that I need to know about in advance so I can prevent them? Are horses with blue eyes more sensitive to light or more prone to eye disorders than other horses? Read the Answer