Saddle Sores: Causes & Solutions

When I bought Coco she had a pretty nasty saddle sore on the top of her withers. It wasn’t huge but it was quite raw and would bleed after she was ridden. Once I bought her I decided I would give the sore a chance to heal by not riding her too much thinking the most she’d need would be about two weeks..unfortunately this was not the case. Anxious to get working with my new youngster, I took to the internet and spoke to friends at my yard to see what I could do to help move things along.

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I did a lot of lunging work with Coco when I first got her as I didn’t want to ride her while she had her saddle sore.

Before I get into solutions, it’s worth knowing what can cause saddle sores so you can do your best to avoid them altogether. The main cause of a saddle sore is a poorly fitted saddle. A saddle that doesn’t fit your horse properly can distribute pressure unevenly across your horses back, creating friction which causes hair loss and bald patches which can become raw. 

Did you know: When a saddle sore eventually heals, the hair will generally grow back white.

So what can you do to help your horse’s saddle sore heal up? Well I tried absolutely everything so one of these solutions is bound to work for you:

Let the air at it

The best thing for a saddle sore is to let it dry out. This will allow the wound to heal and the skin to harden and thicken up. Eventually the hair will begin to grow back.

Manuka Honey manuka honey

Unfortunately, I bought Coco just as it was time to start rugging up for the winter so I wasn’t having any luck letting the sore air out. Instead I had to turn to treatments. The first I tried was Manuka Honey. This is what her previous owner was using on the sore. I applied this to the sore once a day for a week. I saw progress but it was slow so I decided to try something else.



Sudocrem-Antiseptic-Healing-Cream-125g-44131Tried and tested by both mums of horses and humans around the world, Sudocream is the go-to treatment for all types of sores. What’s particularly good about sudocream is that it can help dry out the wound quite well while also helping to relieve the pain. Downisde, it needs to be applied regularly so if you can’t get up to your horse every day it may not be as effective.


Wound Powders-l225

This was particularly good for applying under the rug. The creams tend to rub off whereas the black powder sticks and acts as a hardening barrier which helps the sore to close and heal. 


 61tXaBD9vFL._SL1000_Mother Bee Sooth & Protect

I had heard about Mother Bee through a number of different sources so I decided to pick it up and give it a go. Well it didn’t disappoint. It was quick acting



No Riding

You can put as many different creams and ointments on a saddle sore as you want but most of the time the only thing that’s going to heal it up properly is time. Give it a chance to heal and don’t ride for a few weeks.

Tip: If you absolutely must ride don’t be tempted to double up on padding, this will just create more friction. Your best option is to cut a hole in an old numnah where the saddle sits on the sore. This didn’t work in Coco’s case but I have heard of it working for others.

Thankfully, since Coco’s sore healed up I haven’t had any more issues with saddle sores but it’s always good to have a solution on hand if ever the problem arises again.

Do you have a go-to treatment for saddle sores? Let me know in the comments. Always good to have more solutions!