Cleaning the Legs and Tail on a Horse

Cleaning the Legs and Tail on a Horse

There can be a number of reasons why you might find your horse with urine or manure on their back legs and tail and if it happens on a regular basis it may require veterinary attention.

It’s important to get to know your horse’s normal habits and, if something is out of the ordinary, to consider what might have prompted any change and if you should be seeking veterinary advice. If it’s happening often there is the possibility the urine and manure will cause scalding and hair loss that will require treatment, so early investigation and intervention is best.

Once the possibility of any underlying health issues has been ruled out, however, there is the question of what to do about it. Mares in particular can sometimes urinate on the underside of their tails and legs. No one wants to see their horse with constantly dirty legs and tail. Urine can stain the horse’s hair and tail and leave a sticky mess that attracts dirt, dries and then sticks like glue, plus there’s also the issue of flies! Manure and urine residue will attract flies so it’s important to keep a horse – that is prone to a messy hind end – clean, and take appropriate steps to reduce the risk of caked on manure and urine ‘burning’ the horse’s skin and creating the potential for hair loss.

Steps to incorporate into your routine:

  • A loose French braid can help keep the tail clean by keeping it out of the way of urine and manure.
  • Clean the horse’s hind legs and hind end thoroughly with a gentle shampoo. Use a horse shampoo as they are made with the correct pH level.
  • Shampooing daily is not recommended as it can remove the protective oils from the horse’s hair and leave it brittle and more prone to staining.
  • A vinegar rinse (some suggest dilute 50/50 vinegar and water – others say one part vinegar to four parts water) can be used to help repel dirt, clean stains and
    it will also deter flies. We recommend NRG Apple Cider Vinegar with 5% acidity.
  • A good coat and tail conditioner is important to keep the hair in good condition and to avoid dryness. We recommend NRG No-Nots, naturally.
  • A product to present a physical barrier can be helpful. An emollient cream creates a barrier on the skin’s surface and many horse owners report that a number of nappy rash products work well. We recommend NRG Pink Noze with Vitamin E.
  • Remove tail flaps from rugs or opt for leg straps instead of an under-tail strap.
  • Consider if selective clipping in the area could be beneficial as longer hair can trap urine and manure and make it more difficult to keep the area clean.


– Article reproduced from Hoofbeats, Australia’s leading riding, training and horsekeeping magazine. Visit

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