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    Re: [RC] Scratahes?? - Karen

    At 11:36 AM 05/21/2002 -0400, you wrote:
    Hi ride camp I have a question. We are going again to Fort Schellbourne this year and I have to think about SCRATCHES. I need advice, as to why endurance horses get scratches on a multi day ride.

    The sun intensity, which has in part been made worse over the last decade due to the depletion of the ozone layer.  (don't laugh, it's for real -- ask riders who used to ride and didn't get scratches like we do now)

    The diet horses are fed. 

    Rider management.

      What can I do to protect my horses from getting it and then what can I do if they get it?

    You can prevent it by starting out using desitin (zinc oxide) ahead of time.  I also like Tammy's Ointment.  I have found that over time the horses seem to get over getting scratches.  The darker skinned horses don't seem as prone to getting them (at least, Weaver is dark skinned and never has had scratches), the lighter skinned or white haired legs get them easier (Rocky, though he hasn't gotten scratches for years and several multidays). 

    It's also important to keep the legs clean and dry.  As soon as you sponge your horse down, dry off the back of the foot the best you can with a towel.  If you are on the trail and cross water, get off and apply another layer of desitin -- it needs to reapplied several times during the course of a day if you are really serious about preventing scratches.  The few endurance riders here regularly keep Wal Mart's stock depleted of the stuff.  I like to buy it in the big tubs, but you also need tubes for carrying it with you.  Use a really thick (or double bag) baggie when carrying it on your saddle.  It can really make a mess if it leaks. 

    Don't feed hay with clover.  Reduce the amount of alfalfa, zero if possible but once the ride starts a little bit is okay.  I find that with Rocky simply not feeding him alfalfa took care of the problem, that and he became immune over time.  Now he can eat anything and never gets scratches. 

    Anytime you see pink skin from the knee down, immediately get it covered with desitin, and keep it covered. 

    & Weaver & Rocky (who have done 25 or 30 weeks of multidays between them)