From Endurance to Dressage
Sometime after Izzy's leg was more or less healed, someone suggested I work on the scar by applying Vitamin E oil. For a few weeks, I applied a small bit each day, but when nothing dramatic happened, I fell off the routine and only applied it when I remembered, which has become several times a week. Even so, I do think it has helped the scar to shrink. And if the shrinkage is just natural and would have happened anyway, at least I didn't do it any harm.
While I was using the vitamin E oil on Izzy's scar, I discovered that it works really well on a variety of skin blemishes. Izzy gets a mild form of "scratches" on his lower legs. You've probably seen them yourself. They start out as a tiny scab that you can pick off with a sharp fingernail, but if you let them go too long, they get rather big and a lot harder to pick off.
Since I had the Vitamin E oil, I started rubbing a small bit on the scabs each day. In no time at all, the scab was soft enough to pick off. Once the skin was scab-free, I continued to dab on the oil each day until the skin looked healthy and hair started to return.
I also found that it works great on hock and hip sores. Izzy's are now mostly gone, thanks to the Vitamin E oil, but Speedy just started a new hock sore the other day.
One caveat: oil doesn't look good on gray horses. In fact, it make wounds look worse initially, so don't be surprised if people start pointing out all of your horse's booboos to you. I've also read that you should use caution if applying it to the face or other areas that get a lot of sunlight as the horse could get a sunburn.
To apply, I simply snip off the tip of the capsule with a pair of scissors and gently squeeze a bit onto my finger. I then dab it wherever I see dry or damaged skin. It helps to loosen crusted on dirt, like in the photo of Speedy's hock, and seems to promote healthier skin. If I apply it for several days in a row, hock sores disappear quickly and healthy skin is left behind.
As far as price, I know I paid no more than ten bucks for a bottle of 100 capsules. If the wounds are all small, I can treat all four legs with one capsule. I know Vitamin E oil also comes in a liquid, but the capsules seemed cleaner without so much cross-contamination.
Since this bottle is almost out, I replaced it with coconut oil which is touted as having anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Coconut oil also contains Vitamin E which is an antioxidant. It came in a glass jar, so I poured about half of it into an empty plastic container. I left half at home in the refrigerator and took the other half to the barn.
I actually like the coconut oil better. It's thinner and lighter and seems to absorb without as much oily residue. And even though I bought the refined version, which is supposed to remove the odor and taste of coconut, both of my boys were very interested in the jar and eager to get a closer look.
While there isn't much clinical evidence supporting the health benefits of Vitamin E and coconut oil, I saw benefits of using the Vitamin E. And since both oils are fairly cheap and won't do any harm, I am keeping them as a go-to for minor wounds and skin ailments.
What's your experience with using oils on your horse's skin?
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: