Horse Class Logo Image
Horseclass Image

Thrush. That black, gooey, foul smelling gunk that appears around a horse’s frog and heels. Thrush is a bacterial infection caused by a bacteria that occurs naturally in our horse’s environment but grows best in low oxygen, moist places. This means that horses are most likely to develop thrush when their feet stay wet and dirty, such as in a muddy field or a dirty stall. Horses that have deep clefts alongside their frogs, or narrow, contracted heels are also more likely to develop thrush.

Thrush is very common, and a horse can develop a mild case quickly, and can recover quickly as well if the environment dries out and or the infection is treated. However, if thrush is left untreated and nothing is changed about the environment causing the thrush, it can worsen to a point where the horse will be lame. The infection will keep working deeper until more sensitive areas of the foot are affected, causing the lameness.

The first and best treatment for thrush is to put the horse in a drier location, so his foot can essentially air out. There are many products on the market for treating thrush, but I have found that without some sort of environment change, it will persist or at least come back. You may need to clean your horse’s stall more often, or put stone down where the worst of the mud is in his field. Sometimes it is virtually impossible to do much for his environment, so you may need to just be diligent about picking his feet and applying treatment. If your horse does have deep clefts or contracted heels talk to your farrier about possibly trimming him in a way that allows the hoof to function better. Your farrier can also use a hoof knife to cut away excess frog tissue which may be trapping dirt and mud.

The best product I have found for treating thrush is the purple liquid called Thrush Buster. There are generic versions of this that I have found to work just as well, such as Durvet Thrush Rid. On mild cases, I have also used a more (emphasis on more, not entirely) natural product called Arti-Mud. Arti-mud is basically a putty that you press into the clefts of the frog or the crack of the heel to treat the trush and help keep the mud and dirt out. It contains clay, honey, zinc oxide, and eucalyptus oil and has a nice smell. Unfortunately, you won’t find this one in many tack stores. I order it online.

I have used numerous other products such coppertox, bleach, and the cow mastitis treatment tubes called “today” and “tomorrow,” but I still consider the purple stuff number one for clearing up the thrush in fewer treatments and not being as messy as some of the other products, however it does stain, so be careful not to get any on your hands or clothing.

Which thrush treatment do you use? Do you have other remedies I didn’t mention here?

Here is a link for the Thrush Rid:

and this is where you can order Arti-Mud:


Daily exercises for an immovable seat, steady hands, and a happier horse

Your information is safe with us, learn how we use and process data in our Privacy Policy.

Better riding in 7 days (FREE Mini Course)

Daily exercises for an immovable seat, steady hands, and a happier horse

Your information is safe with us, learn how we use and process data in our Privacy Policy.

Related Courses

Instructed by: Callie King
Make a real difference in your riding over the next 30 Days with Simple Daily Lessons for a secure seat, a balanced posture, and a happier horse!
Join the 30 Day Better Riding Quest for a fun journey through the most important lessons for any type of rider.
Instructed by: Heidi Blackman
Four weeks of yoga classes just for riders. Develop strength and mobility to improve how you feel both in and out of the saddle.
Instructed by: Dr. Angelo Telatin
Science and learning psychology meet classic jump training in this course to teach your horse to jump confidently and carefully.

Related Posts

Callie King Image
Joint Supplements – Do they work?

A performance horse undergoes high physical demands, with excessive flexion and concussion to the joints. Lameness often results and has the potential to end a horse’s career. An estimated sixty

Read More
Callie King Image
Leather Therapy

Love it or hate it, there’s no way around it – leather needs to be cleaned and conditioned to stay nice. If you neglect your leather, it will stiffen up,

Read More



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join Our HorseClass Social Community

Coming Soon!