Now summer is upon us (in theory – it’s raining hard at time of writing!) as Fran Smith from World Horse Welfare explains, one thing owners of horses with pink noses or heels will need to keep an eye on, is sunburn.

At World Horse Welfare we have a number of horses and ponies with pink noses in our care across our four Rescue and Rehoming Centres so our teams are very aware of keeping them protected from the sun on warmer days. There are several ways you can do this – if your horse or pony will tolerate sun cream you can put a big dollop of it on your hand and apply it to their nose in one go. Most of our ponies are happy to have sun cream applied like this, but many will be less impressed if you have several goes at it!

Horse-specific sun cream is available but you can also use children’s sunblock (minimum 30 SPF), always patch-testing any new product first to make sure your horse isn’t allergic to it. Waterproof sunblock is also a good idea, so it doesn’t come off in wet grass or the water trough – especially if you have a horse who likes playing in water given half a chance.

Another option is a full face mask, which protects them from both flies and the sun. Some horses may not like wearing a full mask but may be happy with a nose net instead, so it’s worth trying that if yours doesn’t like either sun cream or a full mask. It’s also important to make sure there are shady areas in the field, whether natural or man-made.

If your horse does get sunburnt, it’s important to get them out of the sun as soon as possible and cool the area with water. Specialist creams are available to help soothe and rehydrate the skin – speak to your vet about what products are available. If the sunburnt area is crusty or weeping fluid, consult your vet immediately.

For advice and support: