Having always had stalled-with-turnout horses up until I turned Gogo out last year, I think I somewhat underestimated how much work it is to try and keep a pastured horse clean. Basically, it is a completely impossible and totally futile task that causes me daily agony and misery. Gogo was always so clean, so sparkly, so brilliantly shiny and colorful, and with SUCH A BEAUTIFUL THICK GLOSSY TAIL ZOMG MY EYES I'M BLIND. This was largely due to the fact that she lived inside in the shade with a fan, and wore a flysheet in the summer whenever she was out.
As for Pangea, with that beautiful, rich, dappled coat? It has vanished with the temperature spike, replaced by a horribly dull, pale, burnt-looking sunbleached mess of washed-out color, crispy and dry as can be. Why? Because when the temperature spiked, she spent every day of her life soaked in sweat, standing out in the blazing sunlight (she chooses not to stand in the shade of her shed or her shady trees), letting the salty grime give her streaky blonde highlights in the areas that she sweats the most. The result? Patches of gold on her neck and back, along with a nice golden stripe down each front leg where the path of sweat runs. And it isn't a nice gold either... it is faded and crispy. No amount of rinsing her sweaty self managed to help prevent the issue. As for her poor tail, she spends so much of her time swatting at flies that it gets coated in sweat as well, and of course snags on everything that it comes in contact with. As a result, it is grimy, tangled, and half torn out. She is also very itchy due to all the sweat, so she grinds dirt into her coat every time she gets too hot - which also tears out more of her tail. Also ALSO, she pees in her tail. I CAN'T WIN.
Basically, my beautifully dappled bay has turned into some sort of weird dun/buckskin hybrid with a rump still full of butt dapples and a front end that doesn't match the rear. She looks horrible... I am truly embarrassed. There's not much that I can do until her coat sheds out and she grows a new one... arghhh!
I have a fly sheet on her for the moment, but it is just as an experiment - I am pretty sure that even the lightest one that I have will be too hot for her. It's a bit too late anyway.... sigh!
Yeesh, how embarrassing. If anyone has tips on keeping a sweaty horse who lives outside from sunbleaching, PLEASE do share! Same goes for keeping a decent tail on a pastured horse as well! Gogo had the same issue last year with her tail and the sunbleaching.... it was awful!
Check it out, I caught her doing a naughty when she was at the pool barn yesterday - I never net hay and elevate it as a rule (not good for TMJs to eat anywhere but off the ground) but when she is there for the day, I net it to keep it from blowing away in the nonstop gale force winds we have going. She, as you can see, was NOT amused by the slow feeder and made several attempts to tear it down (only succeeded once).
Sigh... but really, this horrible bleaching-in-sweaty-areas-only issue. Tips?? I'm not suspecting a nutritional issue at this point since it seems so perfectly connected with the sweat and heat and blazing sun, and she was so gleaming and dapply up until two weeks ago, but I'll keep it in mind as a possibility.
The health benefits of 24/7 turnout are obviously massively greater than keeping her stalled and inside, but it is a truthful PITA, and I never realized just how messy it could be - or remembered, I guess... Quincy used to live outside, after all!
EDITED TO ADD: Please, please keep my sweet Mimi in your thoughts... she is in kitty ICU right now with a blazing fever of unknown origin, no appetite for food or water, and strange jerky eye movements. It might be a simple infection that will clear with antibiotics, or it might be something so sinister that we could lose her. Please send good positive vibes our way... I'll just die if something happens to my precious Mimer.