Back when I worked in the shop, I would always get questions about how to handle rubs daily in the early spring. During the time of year, horses are shedding losing their long brittle winter hair and their new shorter summer coat is just starting to come in. Clipped and sensitive-skinned horses are prone to all sorts of rubs this time of year, here are my tips to help manage rubs.
First I want to clarify, if you are seeing uneven rubs from your tack, please contact your saddle fitter.
Common areas for rubs this time of year:
- Points of the shoulder under the blanket
- Back of the saddle/saddle pad on the loins
- By the rider's lower leg
There are a few things we can do to help prevent rubs or manage them.
Dirt = friction
One of the best ways to help prevent rubs and skin issues year-round is clean tack and a clean horse. Keep your saddle pads clean and your horse's skin free from dirt and sand. Dirt creates a grit that will aggressively rub the hair, similar to sandpaper.
If you know your horse is prone to rubs, I also recommend using a coat conditioner spray in the areas that rub. This helps to make the tack and hair slide against each other easier. If you are using ShowSheen don't put it underneath your saddle.
There are also products designed to help manage rubbing, such as a Belly Guard which helps to prevent spur/leg rubs. Blanket Bibs and Shoulder Guards will also help prevent blanket rubs.