Sunburned Horses


If your horse has a lot of white on his face he probably also has quite a bit of pink skin exposed. Check his muzzle for signs of sunburn. Yes, that’s right: horses that sport a pink mug can get their face fried in the sunshine.

Appaloosa horse looking over the fence

Peeling skin, scabby sores and an overall red, raw look may mean that you need to apply sunscreen to your horse’s face.

There are some products available at your local tack stores that include horse-friendly sunscreens. However, many come in spray bottles and that may make application difficult for face-shy horses. In that case, consider using a sunblock product made for people.

Stay away from anything that smells too strongly of the tropics. That will only attract flies and your horse may not want to smell like a coconut. Instead, pick something unscented for sensitive skin.

Apply it first to a soft cloth or rub rag and then gently apply it to your horse’s muzzle. Give it time to soak in and dry before allowing your horse to dunk his head in his water trough. Soon he’ll be ready to enjoy a few more days of fun in the sun without burning his nose.

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Cindy Hale’s life with horses has been filled with variety. As a child she rode western and learned to barrel race. Then she worked as a groom for a show barn, and was taught to harness and drive Welsh ponies. But once she’d taken her first lessons aboard American Saddlebreds she was hooked on English riding. Hunters and hunt seat equitation came next, and she spent decades competing in those divisions on the West Coast. Always seeking to improve her horsemanship, she rode in clinics conducted by world-class riders like George Morris, Kathy Kusner and Anne Kursinski. During that time, her family began raising Thoroughbred and warmblood sport horses, and Cindy experienced the thrills and challenges of training and showing the homebred greenies. Now retired from active competition, she’s a popular judge at local and county-rated open and hunter/jumper shows. She rides recreationally both English and western. Her Paint gelding, Wally, lives at home with her and her non-horsey husband, Ron.


  1. Good advice.. I have a Clydie X with a white face. I use sunscreen & days when I can’t get to the paddock I use a flyveil with a nose cover preferably in the same gueaze material…works a treat.

  2. I had the problem of sun burning with a new horse we bought last year. I since invented and am marketing a new “shade” to protect horses’ muzzles and faces from sun damage. Our shades are working great and we are shipping them in many countries and states. We would love anyone who have a light skinned horse to check this product out, you will be GLAD you did! Visit


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