If you find weird, red, scabs, things, on the back of the pastern, it is probably Scratches. Scratches is kind of like the equine equivalent of athlete’s foot. Usually a fungal disease, a secondary bacterial infection commonly occurs as well. What to do?


  • Keep the footing dry inside the stall and turnout area; use dry bedding and fill in muddy areas around gates.

  • Dry your horse’s legs before putting him up in a stall.

  • Avoid early morning turnout when there is heavy dew or frost on the ground.

  • Do not use wraps or boots that will retain moisture around the infected areas. Do not share boots between horses.

  • Horses with long leg hair or feathers may benefit from hair removal/clipping so that moisture and contaminants are not trapped against the skin.


  • Clip the affected area.

  • Wash with infected area with Ivory Bar Soap everyday and towel dry.

There are many anecdotal applications for treating Scratches. At the end of the day, you are fighting a bacterial and fungal infection. Keep it dry. Keep it clean. And, wash it with good old regular soap.