What is your biggest horse vs. mud woe this spring? We posed this question to our readers in last week’s online poll. More than 700 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results

Of the 758 respondents, 233 (31%) said they are most concerned about slick footing caused by mud. Another 199 readers (26%) said thrush development is their biggest concern, while 150 respondents (20%) said scratches or pastern dermatitis is their most concerning issue. Seventy-one people (9%) indicated that lost shoes is their biggest mud-related problem, and 64 individuals (8%) are most concerned about abscesses. The remaining 41 respondents (5%) chose white line disease as their biggest issue caused by mud.

Additionally, more than 50 readers commented on their biggest mud-related problems.

Some people commented about the slick footing mud can cause:

Poll Results

  • "My horse is always slipping and sliding on the trails and in the outdoor arena."

  • "Our old Thoroughbred has arthritis of the pelvis, so sudden slips are painful to her."

  • "I'm wary of slippery spots on trails."

  • "You can manage scratches, abscesses, etc. with diligence. But changing (slippery) footing is expensive."

  • "My horses' bare feet remain healthy, but I can't ride; the footing is too slick."

Others commented on hoof and lower leg problems often caused by wet, muddy footing:

  • "It's been a wet muddy year and an ongoing battle with white line disease."

  • "Last year my horse suffered with lychocytoclastic vasiculitis on his white leg."

  • "Grease heels!"

  • "I clean my horses feet out morning and night to prevent thrush, but our field is very slick."

  • "My horse has horrible feet that crack all the time and he gets a lot of abscesses."

  • "Horses' feet spend most of the time being wet (when it's muddy). It's hard to prevent thrush. Slippery footing is an issue too."

  • "(My biggest concerns are) thrush, for sure, for two and scratches for the other."

  • "Wet ground encourages hoof cracks. Every year is a battle to prevent them."

  • "Abscesses seem to occur no matter how well I care for the feet when it is wet for long periods."

  • "Thrush is a problem because it can spread so easily."

Some people shared their frustrations about for horses losing shoes in muddy conditions:

  • "The mud just sucks the shoe right off. It drives me nuts!"

  • "Mud quickly sucks the shoes off of horses, and sloppy footing makes it hard to work outside."

  • "(My horse) has special front shoes that are costly. The pasture already ate two that I can't find."

  • "When your horse has custom shoes, having one get lost in the mud gets to be really expensive!"

Others shared concerns about their horses getting injured due to the mud:

  • "I always worry about them slipping as they play and romp around."

  • "Getting stuck in the mud can also mean getting pulled muscles, etc."

  • "I worry about them twisting or pulling something (in the mud)."

  • "We have so much mud and it's so deep that one horse has a tendon injury."

  • "I call it tendon injury weather. I don't ride when the mud is bad."

Learn more about managing mud on horse farms and how you can keep mud at a minimum in your paddicks on TheHorse.com. 

This week, we want to know: what equine nutrition topics would you like to know more about? Vote now, and share your comments at TheHorse.com!

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.