We want our horses to feel their best and to help treat them for minor injuries and overexertions. Many horses also have sore muscles, arthritis pain, and stiff joints. Analgesics, which are pain relievers, help all of these ailments! For horses, the soothing treatments of liniments or a poultice applied to the skin support your horse’s health.
Using liniments and poultice
Liniments provide a warming effect on temporary muscular soreness and arthritic joints. Hard workouts and improper saddle fit often lead to back pain in the saddle area or sore muscles in the hindquarters. Liniments are an effective muscle treatment and relieve muscle pain.
Many horses also have sore joints, and liniments act as an arthritis pain reliever when applied to the joints. Joint pain may also be the result of a hard workout or a long day at the horse show. It’s common for a horse’s hocks to develop arthritis, as well as the stifles and lower back.
Liniments provide easy application via a spray bottle or in a convenient gel form. They can be applied both to joints and muscle groups, and are a natural recovery method to be used in conjunction with your veterinarian’s directions.
Active ingredients in liniments
Pain relief from horse liniments comes from menthol, primarily. Menthol is a topical analgesic, which eases soreness with a warming feeling. Many liniments also contain herbal extracts, like spearmint and echinacea. Natural botanical extracts provide wonderful smells, too.
When reading the product label, you may also notice some inactive ingredients that serve as carriers.
Absorbine Veterinary Liniment Gel
Absorbine’s liniments are legendary, and the Absorbine veterinary liniment gel makes for an easy application for relief of soreness. Simply rub Absorbine gel into the joints and muscles. The rubbing action serves as a nice massage for your horse, too!
This famous horse liniment gel includes menthol and other herbal extracts as a warm soothing treatment to reduce swelling and relieve pain. Absorbine is known for the time-honored blend of calendula, echinacea, and wormwood herbs in their line of horse care products & horse treat recipes.
It’s also available in a traditional spray bottle to reach areas much larger than a joint.
Poultice for horses
Contrary to liniments, poultice provides a cooling method. Poultice is also usually a clay or salt-based product. Apply generously to sore joints, wrap, and remove after 12 hours or so.
Your horse’s legs should be clean and tight before applying poultice. Using rubbing alcohol or witch hazel before the clay adds to the cooling sensations.
Many horses with arthritis benefit from this, too. Natural menthol is an excellent product found in poultice. Some formulas are also appropriate for hoof care, and many farriers recommend a hoof poultice after a long ride or hard footing.
Bigeloil makes both a horse liniment and poultice pads! The pads are a great product for easy application and removal; there’s not clay to chip away or hose off the next day.
Avoid these when using topical analgesics
Before applying anything to your horse, thorough grooming and health check is required. Any wounds or nicks should be clipped, cleaned, and inspected.
Read the label or product information of your liniment or poultice to verify its safety over wounds. Some liniments are designed to have antiseptic properties, and may even include chloroxylenol, a safe wound cleaner.
Avoid using poultice on fresh or open wounds, even small ones!