What are they
Saddle Sores or Girth Galls are wounds which develop because of excessive pressure or frictional rub from saddles or girths. Saddle sores usually develop around the withers where the skin is thin and there is not much fat or
- Bald patches on side of withers or under girth
- Skin broken in the same areas
- Areas can be raw and bleeding
- Slow to heal
- White hair patches show old rub areas
They are caused by pressure from a dirty or ill fitting saddle, saddle cloth or girth. Sweat and mud can cause friction which results in loss of hair and eventually broken skin which then becomes raw and bleeds. Stiff leather (dry and in need of oil) can also cause rubbing as can an ill fitting saddle.
The vet will be able to confirm it is a sore and not rainscald or another skin problem.
Clean the area with salt water (saline) and allow it to dry. Apply a soothing antiseptic cream. Zinc oxide cream is a useful addition. The horse must have a rest from the saddle or girth depending on what is causing the rub until it is fully healed. Check fitting of saddle, saddle cloth etcetera. Ensure tack and clothing
Use tack which is fitted for the horse by a trained saddler. Keep girths and other tack clean and wash saddle cloths and numnah's regularly. Groom before riding to ensure there is no mud, or shavings etcetera under the saddle or in the girth area.
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