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Southern Grace 02-26-2013 12:42 PM

Proper care of heavy feathering
I recently purchased my first draft horse, a 7yo Shire mare. I have been working with Clydesdales for 7 years now, but have never been solely responsible for the care and maintenance before. So I'm wondering about the best way to maintain her feathering, as well as any other care pointers.

Her feather is not in great shape right now, as she has spent most of the past 3 months in a muddy field, but I gave them a thorough scrub with horse shampoo and a really good rinse on Sunday. She does not appear to have greased heel or any signs of mites, so for the most part, I'm just wanting pointers to keep them bug and infection free and get the best length and thickness she has to offer.

I've browsed around google for a few hours now, some say use pour-on Ivermectin (for cattle) others say don't use cattle products. I've heard mention of sulfer and MTG. And then oh so many say "great feather takes extra care to maintain," but neglect to mention HOW... I know washing them too often can cause over-drying, which would make them itchy, but never cleaning them gives way to fungus, mites, and other conditions. How often is best? What products do you rub in to the skin, and what ones do you want only on the hair, but not against the skin? Which do you rinse out and which to leave in? Any tips would be appreciated.

PunksTank 02-26-2013 12:55 PM

I'm actually going to sub to this because my new baby boy has terrible feather issues.

He's a Belgian so not exceptionally thick. But he has, what I thought, was terrible scratches. I washed him with betadine and put on anti-itch baby powder. I've tried MTG and Desitin and SO many other things. My vet just mentioned it may be mites, so I'll be trying that - but I don't know what medicine to use she said 'just the same as dogs'.

My other draft has never had any feather issues but I take meticulous care. I don't wash her legs any more often than the rest of her (maybe twice a year). But I brush them regularly, if it's exceptionally wet or muddy out then when I bring her in I rub sawdust on her legs and brush it off a few minutes later to keep it dry. I've found moisture is worse than dry for feathered horses. I've also found heavier feathers more healthy than lighter feathers - the moisture only makes it half way to the skin, instead of all the way in and causing fungus. But when you wash your horse be sure to carefully dry, again I find sawdust to be the most effective way to dry them. I've also used a hair dryer on my new boy who's exceptionally tolerant. xD

So just keep them dry :) and brush them like the rest of their fur. But I'm very curious what others will say!

texasreb 03-02-2013 11:22 AM

I too am interested in responses to your query.

nvr2many 03-02-2013 11:29 AM


Originally Posted by texasreb (Post 1919166)
I too am interested in responses to your query.

Off Topic: Any chance you are from Oregon??? LOL.

texasreb 03-02-2013 02:26 PM


Originally Posted by nvr2many (Post 1919172)
Off Topic: Any chance you are from Oregon??? LOL.

How'd you ever guess? :lol: I grew up in Oregon and was fortunate enough to graduate from UofO!

Clayton Taffy 03-02-2013 02:45 PM

I use spray on Ivermectin for dogs.
One bottle will do all four legs. I think it is around $25, comes in a 8 or 12 oz spray bottle. I wash the legs, towel dry then spray.
The wet hair will help wick the medicine up to the skin. My equine vet told me to do this, just so you know, it wasn't some article I read on the internet, but this advice came from a reputable source.
It helped with mites and itching.

FeatheredFeet 03-02-2013 06:43 PM

You can look through our information site link - link to website below.

You can also look here..

The Gypsy Horse Group :: Index

and do a search for 'feather'. Not as many great ideas as when I had the forum, but still some information. Gypsy owners have more trouble and information, regarding feather, than any other breeds. Lots of info available.

Best advice, is to keep it clean, check under feather and down to the skin, once a week. Treat as soon as anything appears. Treating for mites won't help unless bedding and surrounding areas are also treated. A horse stamping, biting at feet or rubbing against something, is a sure sign of a problem.


waresbear 03-02-2013 07:13 PM

384 Attachment(s)
I learnt something new again on this forum, I didn't know feathered feet were prone to mites.

franknbeans 03-02-2013 08:16 PM

Ya know-its weird. My guy used to get scratches in Md/Va-but since he moved to NY about 7 yrs ago-none. No idea why, but knocking wood.......Is it the heat and humidity? If so, why does he not get any issues when it is summer in NY? Does the cold winter kill the germs? maybe, but the last 2 winters have been mild.....I have no idea.......but it is true!

FeatheredFeet 03-03-2013 03:48 PM

It's interesting. Years ago, many of us thought it was damp conditions which affected horses with feather. However, our vet and farrier in S. Cal., where it is almost always very dry, say that they've seen major problems on almost every Clyde they see. A member of my old forum, finally had to put her Clyde to sleep, after years of battling problems and eventually, full blown CPL.


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