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  1. #1

    Default Heavily feathered Vanner vs Mud - advice needed!!

    Hi everyone...

    I've got a bit of a silly question for you all but I'd really appreciate your advice.

    I have a gorgeous little Vanner who is absolutely dripping in hair with the most beautiful thick, silky white feather!

    I love his feather and really don't want to have to clip him out but I am having so much trouble keeping him clean as what with all the recent rain, the mud at our gateways is so thick and gloopy and to make matters worse, we are on clay soil.

    He only gets his legs washed once a week as I don't want to rid of the natural oils and risk mud fever on his pink skin. I apply pig oil two - three times a week - once when hes's been washed and is dry and then if I can, once or twice more when all the mud has dried and brushed completely out (I have to keep him in for a whole 36hr period for the feather to dry completely).

    The mud is so sticky that it seems to pull all of the pig oil out of his feather anyway and by the time the weekend arrives, he has four chunky little legs full of very heavy mud sausages - usually so hard and compact, I have to shampoo 3-4 times to get them out - which is horrible for him and not a particularly pleasant experience for me either. He is nice and clean under all that hair and is checked thoroughly very regularly for any lesions, mud fever, scabs, redness etc although does have mallenders (albeit mild) on just one fore.

    So, I'm admitting defeat...the pig oil is not working. It is just not man enough to withstand the mud. Does anybody else use turnout boots on their fully feathered cobs/draughts? If so, which ones and do you find that it makes a difference? How can I fit all of his feather in a turnout boot and will that be uncomfortable for him?

    If not turnout boots, does anyone have any hints or tips that could make the winter mud a bit less of an ordeal? I've never had a horse with so much feather as I usually opt for lighter breeds...this one was an inside job!

    Our turnout is not particularly restricted (allowed out 7 days a week from 5am to 5pm) but I've decided to adopt a one day in, one day out routine so he is more comfortable and I can brush out the mud as best I can and reapply the pig oil, rather than keep on washing his poor legs or leave him with heavy mud in his feather.

    Your advice is greatly appreciated!!

  2. #2
    Veteran SEL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    Default Re: Heavily feathered Vanner vs Mud - advice needed!!

    I find overnighting on shavings / wood pellets / something that isn't straw does a cracking job of soaking up the wet mud so you have almost dry feathers the next day (mine is Ardennes). He's currently on easibed which doesn't dry them after monsoon rain, but manages pretty well for the normal knee high mud we have. I then power hose his legs (which he hates) once a week and apply pig oil (which he also hates) the following morning.

    This year has been very tough and we've got a few mud dreadlocks on the back legs that I'm going to attack later this week if the heatwave really does turn up.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Heavily feathered Vanner vs Mud - advice needed!!

    If it's that muddy then turnout boots won't work - I tried them with mine and they didn't really do anything. It was also a nightmare trying to get them clean and dry overnight to use for turnout the next day. I've had success with 7 day mud away in the past but mine only has tiny scrappy feathers so I'm not sure how good it would be on 'real' feather!

    Is there any chance of moving to a yard that has an all-weather turnout area or less horses on the land?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Default Re: Heavily feathered Vanner vs Mud - advice needed!!

    Tbh it sounds like the feathers are doing their job and there isn't really a problme beyind the cosmetics? It would be a shame for your horse to get much less turnout on that basis

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    Default Re: Heavily feathered Vanner vs Mud - advice needed!!

    I would put more pig oil on, literally soak the leg in it. Like other have said,you need good bedding to dry the leg overnight

  6. #6

    Default Re: Heavily feathered Vanner vs Mud - advice needed!!

    The one here with feathers has survived this winter really well, I hose them some days and apply oil the next morning before turning out, the mud does still stick but if not left without washing for more than 2 or 3 days it is fine, I don.t do any more than get the worst off and don't dry because the skin underneath does not get wet, he has only been in a few days this winter despite the gateway being a real bog.

  7. #7
    Old nag only_me's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Re: Heavily feathered Vanner vs Mud - advice needed!!

    Why can you not just leave legs as is and don’t wash them?
    Do they need to be clean other than for cosmetic purposes?

    I’d only wash them for a show, and everyday just leave as is. I think washing legs too much can cause mud fever in winter - mine has pink legs and i never wash them
    In winter unless a show/lesson and he’s never had mud fever over the last 8 years! And currently field is awful, he lives out too.
    Smile and enjoy today, you never know what tomorrow brings!


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