What are Saddle Sores?

Caused most often by inappropriate tack, saddle sores can be a very painful condition for a horse. It prevents both them and the owner from being able to do what they love – to ride and be ridden. 

If a horse’s tack is too big or too small, dirty, or an improper riding posture is used, material from the saddle or harness begins to rub on the skin causing friction which leads to pressure sores. For riding horses, this is usually the skin underneath the saddle. For horses who are harnessed, it’s usually in the shoulder region.

A loss of hair, red and irritated skin, and open cuts or abscesses are some common symptoms of saddle sores. And while they may not sound like serious injuries, if they aren’t treated correctly, they can develop into much worse conditions as the tissue becomes further damaged. A secondary infection could occur and circulation in the affected area could significantly reduce.

Common treatments for saddle sores:

Rest. Don’t ride your horse if they have saddle sores. The sores need time to heal – continuing to let the saddle rub on the broken skin will only aggravate the injury and prevent recovery.

Clean the sores. Regularly use water and antiseptic saddle soap to remove dirt and prevent further infection.

If sores are particularly bad or worsen over time, it’s advisable to visit a veterinarian as antibiotics may be needed or other medical interventions.

Localised cryotherapy treatments for saddle sores

In addition to the above care, applying localized cryotherapy treatments can aid in the healing process of saddle sores.

Our agent in Malaysia (@cryorejuvenate) used INSTANTCRYO™ to aid in the recovery of saddle sores that had ruptured the skin forming very sore open wounds. For 6 weeks regular INSTANTCRYO™ treatments were performed directly on the affected areas. The horse was not ridden for the entirety of the 6 weeks.

As shown in the images below, the treatments significantly quickened the recovery of the sore, reducing redness and inflammation and stimulating the repair of the damaged skin. The bacteriostatic property of cold therapy also helped prevent further infection from developing.

Visit @instantcryo_ecb to see how else our customers are using INSTANTCRYO™ to improve the health and well-being of horses.