I got a thoroughbred gelding about 6 months ago- when I bought him his face was all scratched up, his old owner said he had run through trees in the pasture and that’s why. The bigger scratches have healed, but he actually seems to chronically scratch his face on purpose, particularly his cheek bones, getting mild new cuts quite frequently. It has continued even now that fly season is completely gone. He has no other skin issues and does not scratch himself anywhere else. I love everything else about him, but this is very frustrating- he is a prelim level horse also doing mid level dressage but I’m embarrassed to take him to shows with his face looking like that. I’m at the point where I’m probably going to have a vet look at him for it, but wanted to pick everybody’s brains, Things I’ve already tried that have not worked :
-numerous topical ointments for itch relief
-putting up safe scratching mats on his stall wall so that he doesn’t itch his face on the stall bars or wood
-never wears halter other than for being led to and from paddock
-anatomic bridle, fleece on cheek pieces
-I gently curry his face/wipe his face down after work with chlorhexidine wipes- this is the only thing I’ve seen a slight improvement with but still doesn’t completely get rid of it
-on a rice bran supplement with high omegas for his skin
-gets ample natural vitamin e through his grain and supplements
-on low grain diet/very low nsc grain. I changed the grain once to see if that would help, it didn’t. I don’t think getting rid of grain all together would be possible, he is somewhat of a hard keeper and is in hard work (he does get free choice hay overnight and an enormous amount of soaked alfalfa cubes, but when I’ve tried lowering his grain anymore than what it currently is (5 qt a day split into 3 feedings) he will drop weight.
Thanks in advance!