How to Protect Your Horse from Sunburn


The Summer heat is here and it’s time to ‘slip, slop, slap’! 

We share three easy ways to protect your horse’s skin from the sun. 

  1. Slip on a rug

A lightweight turnout rug can give your horse much-needed protection from the Summer sun. However, be careful to avoid over-heating. When choosing a rug for your horse, select one that’s light and breathable.

  1. Slop on some zinc 

Sunscreen and zinc should be applied regularly onto your horse’s sensitive pink skin, particularly if they’re white or grey. Around the nostrils is a common area for sunburn, so apply generously to this area. Coloured sunscreen or zinc is easiest to ensure it hasn’t rubbed off throughout the day.

  1. Slap on a fly mask

Just like we wear a hat, a fly mask will give your horse relief from the sun, and protect their eyes and forehead from the sun’s rays. During Summer, flies and other biting insects can be irritating to your horse, so a fly mask and lightweight rug will provide a layer of comfort.

Provide shelter 

If your stables are well ventilated and cool, you may opt to stable your horse during the hottest parts of the day. But, this isn’t always possible when at work or when Summer temperatures spike unexpectedly while away from home.

Trees provide the coolest shade to your horse, so try to keep them paddocked in a pasture with plenty of tree cover. If not, a man-made shelter will help to reduce your horse’s temperature. Unlimited access to clean drinking water is essential day and night during Summer.


  • Dr Louise Cosgrove

    The founder of Exclusively Equine Veterinary Services, Louise is driven to support horses in their recovery from injury or illness. A graduate of the University of Queensland, with international equin...

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