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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In September I brought Piggy home the trainer's. She has been living in a stall for the last two years while she has been in training and fed alfalfa cubes. No supplements of any kind.
Here at home, she's turned out 24/7. The green grass is long gone but they do munch on some of the tall, tough feed in the late mornings after the frost has melted off and softens it. They are all fed alfalfa hay and a ration balancer, access to salt/mineral block.

Since we don't have our shedrow finished and they don't have a good place to get out of the wind/weather they get blanketed. Piggy wears a heavyweight with a belly band and a neck cover because she didn't grow heavy enough winter coat. The blanket is brand new and was clean.

The issue: I have noticed since I've started blanketing her, she has dandruff and her coat is greasy! She is a little itchy all over but that seems pretty normal from wearing a blanket. Even on cold days when it's not warm enough to pull them off I try to at least unbuckle and run a jelly scrubber over them to get the itches.

She has never had skin issues and had a beautiful, shiny, show coat when I brought her home. I try to keep my blankets clean and make sure they don't sweat in them.
Is there something I'm not thinking about that could be causing the dandruff and greasy coat?
Environmental, dietary?
 

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Yeah, I'd imagine she has some pretty longstanding nutritional imbalances/deficiencies, from living on nothing but alfalfa before you bought her. Feeding her on that & some 'ration balancer'(is this specifically to balance HER diet, or is it generic?) doesn't tell whether you're providing what she may be lacking in, or balancing out what she may be getting too much of. So I'd start with a diet analysis, to work out what she's getting now, before working out which supps may best 'fill the gaps'. FeedXL.com is one good online 'tool' for balancing nutrition properly. BTW, horses don't get much at all from mineral blocks - I'd suggest you just put out loose salt & supp her feeds with whatever else she needs.

A heavy rug may well be too much for her(it tends to be for most, in most situations) & may be part of the prob. Using a lightweight rug is generally best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks @loosie!

Since it has warmed up I've been able to pull blankets in the day and I did put a lighter one on her. Our temps have been in the single digits, low teens at night and just getting in the low to mid 30's F during the day.

I have tried the loose salt/ mineral several times, they won't touch it. But if it's the old style block from the feed store or a mineral tub(equilix-no molasses, anipro)they'll lick on it.

I looked at the FeedXL site, I'll play with it tonight or tomorrow morning and see what I come up with. You and others here are well versed in feed stuffs, I figured ya'll might have some ideas if it was dietary.

I've never had a greasy but flaky horse. And bathing isn't an option right now, too cold.
 

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1) What first comes to mind is the beginnings of rain rot. She's just been through the stress of moving from the familiar so her defenses could be down a little. Since you can't bathe her right now I'd find a spray on anti-fungal you could douse her with on a day you could leave her blanket off for a few hours. Wash the blanket too while you have it off. I think Vitamin A also helps. Check your ration balancer to see if she could use additional supplementation in that department.

2) Lice. Yuck!

3) Allergy to materials in the blanket.
 

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I did some digging:). Oily or greasy skin has a name and horses can develop it — Seborrhea oleosa.


Where it says in part:

”Flakiness of the skin (seborrhea) or excessive fatty secretions (oily seborrhea) is a common response of the skin to a variety of underlying conditions. Primary seborrhea is rare and probably has a genetic basis. Secondary seborrheas are a response to skin allergy, contact irritation by substances, bacterial and fungal infection, and immune skin diseases.

Treatment requires management of the underlying cause and usually also includes some treatment of the flakiness. In some cases, it is very difficult to know the underlying cause. In those cases, seborrhea is treated symptomatically with antiseborrheic shampoos and nutritional supplementation. Antiseborrheic shampoos usually contain sulfur, coal tar, and/or salicylic acid.”

That means two things, IMO:). Her diet is way off and coupled with wearing a blanket 24/7, she developed oily seborrhea.

Being fed nothing but alfalfa cubes for two years did not do her any favors:).

Mineral blocks are a waste, IMO. I Grew up setting mineral blocks out because that’s what we all thought was the right thing to do. It is one of the age-old feed traditions that needs to be in the dumpster:):)

Piggy is an easy keeper. I wouldn’t even waste my money on Feed XL. I would buy her a high caliber condensed vit/min supplement but read the label to be sure does not contain useless fillers and buy one that is either low very low in iron or does ‘t have any added.

Mix it in timothy pellets, not alfalfa pellets. She is already O.D.’d on too much protein via all the alfalfa.

I would cut her actual alfalfa forage back and add in some grass hay. How much? I don’t know, how hard are you working her? She needs less alfalfa in the winter and a lot less if she is t being worked.

Please don’t be too upset with me, but I would sooner slap your trainer silly than let one of my horses “train” under him/her, to where all my horse ate was alfalfa and rarely or never got turned out.

I would have a complete blood panel done on her to be sure no damage has been done by throwing all that protein at her with nothing else to balance it out:)
 

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Thanks @loosie!

Since it has warmed up I've been able to pull blankets in the day and I did put a lighter one on her. Our temps have been in the single digits, low teens at night and just getting in the low to mid 30's F during the day.

I have tried the loose salt/ mineral several times, they won't touch it. But if it's the old style block from the feed store or a mineral tub(equilix-no molasses, anipro)they'll lick on it.

I looked at the FeedXL site, I'll play with it tonight or tomorrow morning and see what I come up with. You and others here are well versed in feed stuffs, I figured ya'll might have some ideas if it was dietary.

I've never had a greasy but flaky horse. And bathing isn't an option right now, too cold.
Vitamin D deficiency can cause skin irritation and that flaky dandruff plus scaly patches that resemble ringworm.
Horses get the bulk of their Vitamin D from exposure sunlight which you’re restricting by a huge amount by (essential) blanketing.
They also get a lot of their Vit A and E from grass but once cut and baked as hay it’s lost very quickly.
During the winter months you need to supplement all three of those vitamins with a guaranteed amount.
I’ve always found that this is enough to avoid the problem you’re having
Along with a mix of alfalfa and good grass hay.
I also feed either Triple Crown safe starch forage or the Greenmeadow version, Nutrena Safe Choice Special Care and Speedibeet.
 

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I think its simpler than most of what those above are saying. I think she is in too heavy a blanket for her fitness level and she is hot and sweaty under the heavy blanket. We have a mare that grows very little winter coat. As in really not fluffy at all. We have owned her for 15 years and she never wears a blanket for more than 12 hours and thats only a couple of times per winter as she is 23 now. We tried it before and she became so itchy and so irritated that we just took it off and said lets blanket only when she shivers. Even now in her older years that is a very rare occasion and mostly when we have negative wind chills and the wind is causing her to shiver. I live in NW IL so we do get some cold weather with winds
 

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I think it's nutritional based if you improve her diet get it balanced. I think issue will go away in time.

My gelding ice lives in blankets 24/7 no skin or coat issues. But his diet is balanced hay tested and a vit/min costum made by horse tech. Plus he also gets extra vit E added to his diet.

It hasn't been that cold here low 20s high mid 30s. And ice is blanketed 24/7 medium weight turnout during day. Then 200 gram liner added for night time. He has very little winter coat.

Only time blanket comes off is when we ride. Going to be in the 40s today so will probably take his blanket off. Honestly I don't think the blanket is the issue. Even at 35 degrees in a medium weight turnout blanket. My horse doesn't get hot or sweat under his blanket.

Blanketing changing blankets, adding liners taking off liners,is my occupation all winter long. From oct to mid to late April. All for my horse who grows hardly any winter coat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I appreciate all the input!

Quick response...

I tried FeedXL this morning. I had to choose from their list of hay because this hay I have isn't tested.
Anyhow with the hay and the Nutrena Empower it shows her crude protein high, needs Folic Acid, B6, B1 and Sodium. I didn't input my trace mineral block as I have no idea how much she licks it. They won't touch loose salt like I said before so that may be something I have to add to feed rather than let them free choice.

As far as my hay situation, I can get local alfalfa grass mix which I tried feeding last year. They ate the alfalfa and refused to eat the grass wasting a lot of expensive hay. Then about April my pasture(native grasses) comes on I don't feed any hay until September.
I also tried Timothy pellets last year, I had to slowly introduce them and mix them with something to disguise them.

Exercise, Piggy is turned out 24/7 and I am not working her due to my foot. Podiatrist said I can ride my gentle horse(Stilts) so I'll start ponying Piggy in the next couple of weeks and then I'll go to riding her again.

Tomorrow I need to go to town, I'll grab a spray bottle of Micro-Tek and switch blankets after spraying. My blanket lady is coming through on Saturday anyhow, I was going to get some washed and repaired.
 

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I buy this tub of yuck from tractor supply and put it in my field because I don't have the best pasture. It's green but it's not real lush. This stuff is like a sticky tar but when I first started putting it out they all licked at it quite a bit but after a couple months they got to where they didn't use it as much. I think they had deficiencies because their coats (weren't oily - but were flaky).

https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/equine-choice-turnout-333-lb?cm_vc=-10005

I also really like the buckets! I wash them out and re-use them.
 

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Thanks @loosie!

Since it has warmed up I've been able to pull blankets in the day and I did put a lighter one on her. Our temps have been in the single digits, low teens at night and just getting in the low to mid 30's F during the day.

I have tried the loose salt/ mineral several times, they won't touch it. But if it's the old style block from the feed store or a mineral tub(equilix-no molasses, anipro)they'll lick on it.

I looked at the FeedXL site, I'll play with it tonight or tomorrow morning and see what I come up with. You and others here are well versed in feed stuffs, I figured ya'll might have some ideas if it was dietary.

I've never had a greasy but flaky horse. And bathing isn't an option right now, too cold.
I buy this tub of yuck from tractor supply and put it in my field because I don't have the best pasture. It's green but it's not real lush. This stuff is like a sticky tar but when I first started putting it out they all licked at it quite a bit but after a couple months they got to where they didn't use it as much. I think they had deficiencies because their coats (weren't oily - but were flaky).

https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/equine-choice-turnout-333-lb?cm_vc=-10005

I also really like the buckets! I wash them out and re-use them.
The FeedXL site wont do much good unless your hay is analyzed. Not all alfalfa is created equal. Have you had her checked for lice ? Have had a skin scrape done by a Vet ? Was she getting the ration balancer at the trainers?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The FeedXL site wont do much good unless your hay is analyzed. Not all alfalfa is created equal. Have you had her checked for lice ? Have had a skin scrape done by a Vet ? Was she getting the ration balancer at the trainers?
I realize that, it is why I mentioned it above and "played" with the site until I get a sample sent off.

I'm not completely ruling out lice but it is not common here and it doesn't look like a typical lice infestation.

I haven't hauled her to the vet so no scrape or blood panel yet. I was picking brains here first to see if it was something really simple.

She was not getting ration balancer at the trainers. She started getting it when she came home in September. I didn't start blanketing regularly(every night) until about a month ago? The last couple of weeks up, until this week, they were wearing them during the day as well.
 

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i would stop the ration balancer. Check the blanket lining to see how it looks and feels. maybe she is to hot and sweating in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
i would stop the ration balancer. Check the blanket lining to see how it looks and feels. maybe she is to hot and sweating in it.
This last week I stopped the ration balancer. I'm waiting for a sample kit to get the hay tested.

Since I'm home during the day I'm pretty good at pulling blankets or changing them with temp changes but perhaps she was getting too warm in it?
Just in case, I had sprayed her coat with an anti-bacterial/anti-fungal spray. Unfortunately our weather has changed so doing so as prescribed is not an option. I also switched her to clean blanket and had the one she had been wearing on the cold days sent out to be cleaned.

The problem with changing a few things at one time and seeing a change is I won't be sure what caused it. But no matter what I want to fix it as soon as possible.
Either way diet balancing will be a good thing.
 

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I agree with having the hay checked. The bad thing about a lot of changes, like you said, you really wont be sure what started the problem. I sure hope she is better soon.
 
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