Ulcers? Sensitive Skin

I recently adopted an OTTB. He has a gorgeous, healthy, slick coat…but…

He is extremely sensitive when being brushed. He swishes his tail constantly while simultaneously pinning his ears and trying to bite (obviously I’m working on the attitude problem here). He enjoys his food and is a good eater. I understand that horses at the track are not always groomed–often just bathed, so this could be new for him. He is on a very healthy diet with plenty of quality forage and is turned out from 7am-6pm. He is new (I’ve had him less than a month) and has been under very light work since moving (due to bad weather).

If you were me, what would yo do? Consider ulcers? See how it goes?


If I’m remembering correctly, 90%+ of horses off the track have ulcers. Considering his reaction to your grooming him, I’d say ulcers aren’t a bad place to start.

FWIW, having an appetite doesn’t always rule out ulcers. Symptoms vary widely across the board.

They do get groomed on the track, and many OTTBs have issues with it afterwards. Could also be a combination of behavioral things and ulcers.

Lyme Disease is another possibility, it can definitely cause that skin-crawly feeling they get while getting groomed. I’d say ulcers are a safe bet for a horse recently off the track, but might want to pull a Lyme titer just in case.

I could write a book on all the horses we had with sensitive skin and what we did to get them over it. 3 of the horses were OTTB only 1 had an ulcer issue.

We put them on a low carb grain, such as Legends performance.
Bathe them with Olive oil Shampoo and wash out then put the Olive Oil conditioner in for 40 mins. then rinse. You can find this in the Ethnic aisles.

During the summer when sweating is bad, 1x a week give them a good rinse and leave in Apple Cider Vinegar. Pore into a bucket about 1 gallon water and 2 cups Vinegar and sponge on the body leave on.
This is what helped us get over the skin problems, this took 2 years of different horses and so many suggestions and products to finally come to a solution that worked.

Also try MTG to get started and kill what may cause some of the irritation… If used to much it will start to burn the skin.

I would test selenium and e levels first. He sounds like horses who have tested low. While waiting for the results, I’d do a week trial of ulcer medication.