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What are mallenders and Sallenders?

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Mallenders and sallenders is a very common condition in heavy horses with lots of feather, in simple terms, it's where they get dandruff/ flaky, scabby and sore skin behind the knees and in front of the hocks.

What causes mallenders in horses?

Here's the science

In more scientific terms, it is hyperkeratosis in high-friction areas. Hyperkeratosis is an overproduction of keratin cells that thickens the skin creating scaly layers. Horses with lots of feather produce more keratin than most horses. This thick scaly skin cracks easily, especially behind the knee and in front of the hock due to high friction. Once the skin is cracked and broken it's an easy route for bacterial and fungal infections causing inflammation, itchiness and painful weeping leading to crusty scabs.

Keratinocytes have a normal skin cycle in healthy animals and are keratinized where they become smaller and flatter so they can naturally shed easily. With hyperkeratosis, the keratinocytes reach the stratum corneum before becoming keratinized so they can't naturally shed and instead make an extra layer of skin.

If not managed correctly the horse will become very uncomfortable and if an infection reaches the lymphatic system it can turn into chronic progressive lymphedema.

How do you take care of your horse's skin?

The best thing you can do is keep the skin clean and nourished, natural emollients will help keep the skin soft and prevent further cracks in the skin. It will also help the skin let go of keratinocytes (skin cells) that are ready, you should never 'pick' at scabs.

Our recommendation

Our skin masks naturally clean and purify the skin, their anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties assist the skin with its recovery. The natural plant properties help regulate sebum production, adds elastin and repair the lipid layer while gently lifting away grease.

Our skin recovery balm is made from natural emollients and is designed to target the dermis, improve microcirculation and add elastin to the skin to help prevent cracks and sore areas.


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