Poll Recap: Sun Protection for Horses

Poll Recap: Sun Protection for Horses

Several respondents commented that they use multiple methods of sun protection for their horse, including sun-protecting sheets and fly masks.

Photo: Photos.com

If you’re planning activities outside this summer, you’ll probably use sunscreen and/or other types of sun protection to avoid a burn. But what about your horse?

Last week we asked our readers what kinds of sun protection they offered to their horses. More than 500 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 529 respondents, 154 (29%) said they apply sunscreen and/or zinc oxide cream to help protect against sunburn. Another 53 individuals (10%) use sun-protecting sheets and 49 respondents (9%) said they limit turnout time for their horses during the daylight hours. Some 61 respondents (12%) said they do it all: apply sunscreen, limit turnout during daylight hours, and use sun-protecting sheets. Another 34 people (6%) said they use other means of sun protection for their horse, and the remaining 178 respondents (34%) said their horses do not burn during the summer.

Additionally, more than 50 people explained how they protect their horses from the sun:

Poll Results

Several people commented that they use fly sheets and masks to protect their horses:

  • “He doesn't sunburn but he wears a UV (ultraviolet)-protection eye mask because he has equine recurrent uveitis.”
  • “Nose guard on her fly mask has been enough protection for her pink spot.”
  • “Equilibrium nose protection”
  • “They only burn on the nose, so I have nose covers on their fly masks.”
  • “Fly mask with nose protection.”
  • “Fly mask on bald faced horses.”
  • “My horse has a blaze and gets sunburn on his nose, so we have a fly mask that covers his nose.”
  • “All have black skin. They wear fly masks with nose protection, if needed.”

Others provide their horses with plenty of shade from the sun:  

  • “They have lots of shade and they also go into their stalls where it is usually breezy.”
  • “My horse has access to shade in field and returns to her paddock when she has had enough field time.”
  • “Open and free access to stalls in the barn to escape sun as they need here in Florida.”
  • “My horses are out 24/7 with free access to large shelter shed. I've had no problems with sunburn.”
  • “We provide shaded areas with filtered sunlight and run-ins.”
  • “Shady areas in pasture, they keep themselves from getting burnt.”
  • “My horse has stall access all day long and can go under the trees for shade.”

Some said they make changes in their horses’ turnout schedule:

  • “We switch our Appys that tend to sunburn to an evening turnout schedule during late spring/summer.”
  • “My horse goes out at night in the summer!”
  • “I limit their time outside on grass and in the sun all summer long.”
  • “I also limit daylight turnout, but he still gets sunburn.”
  • “Night turnout only.”

Don’t Miss our Ask TheHorse Live on Sunburn!

Join us on Thursday, May 11, 2017 for a free Ask TheHorse Live Q&A on protecting horses from sunburn and photosensitivity! Register now and submit your questions for our experts.

Photo: iStock

Many individuals commented that they use multiple methods of sun protection for their horses:

  • “I use Baby Coppertone on the pink muzzle and limited day time turnout.”
  • “I keep a fly sheet on him all year and apply sunscreen to his white nose when necessary.”
  • “I use a fly spray with sunscreen and fly masks that cover the face and nose areas.”
  • “I use long-nose fly masks and sunscreen when needed.”
  • “Sunscreen or grazing muzzle for nose”
  • “Horses are in during the day, wear sheets/masks at the trailer, creams.”
  • “Zinc oxide cream and a grazing muzzle keep my paint mare from burning to a crisp on her nose and lip.”
  • “Zinc oxide and a fly mask that covers down to the muzzle to protect the white faced pony”
  • “Sunscreen on her face and a sun sheet for her body.”
  • “Night turnout during summer, sprays and sheets when moderate weather allows 24-hour turnout.”
  • “I also put overreach boots on him as he has rather pink skin on his heels.”
  • “I make my own fly spray and add the sunscreen to it.”

And a few respondents commented that sunburn isn’t much of a concern for their horses:

  • “My guy is quite dark, no white skin to burn, but he has access to stall during daylight hours.”
  • “I have Arabians that are dark skinned so they do not burn.”
  • “My horse has no pink skin so no burning so far.”
  • “We haven't had a problem with this.”
  • “My current horses are bay and chestnut, so no burn.”
  • “Current horses don't burn, so I simply use fly masks to deter flies and give some eye protection.”

You can find more information on protecting horses from the sun’s damaging rays in our infographic, download a free report for five tips for preventing sunburn in horses, learn about the different types of summertime shade and shelter your horse needs, and more at TheHorse.com!

This week, we want to know: Does your horse suffer from seasonal respiratory allergies? Vote now and share your comments at TheHorse.com/polls

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.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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