What can you do to treat and prevent sunburn on your horse?
Most gray and white horses are very sensitive to the sun. A true white will have pink skin, and a gray will have black skin. It's the pink skin on all horses what you really need to worry about. You will also find pink noses and legs and sometimes backs on other colorations, as well. The bottom line is that sunburn happens easily on pink skin - nose, ears, backs, even lower legs for those horses with a lot of chrome. I have also seen one paint horse that had blisters on his white markings from being in the sun.
Pink skin is at risk!
Don't forget about under the chin - a dollop of sunscreen will do the trick!
Horses that are clipped in the summer, even bays and chestnuts, can develop sunburn on that clipped skin. Also a word of caution for bands or braids in the mane, use a bit of sunscreen inbetween the braids where the skin is exposed to prevent sunburn and blisters.
How can you prevent sunburn? It's easy.
Fly masks with a lower flap can cover delicate noses and ears. To be worn all day when in the sun! I also will apply some SPF 50 or above with Zinc Oxide to delicate noses for riding when the fly mask isn't on. Zinc oxide is also found in baby diaper cream, which may last longer on your horse and you can visibly see when you need to reapply. Be prepared to wipe off extra from knees and legs. (Although some sun protection there won't hurt!)
Long nosed fly masks are amazing. Spray out the goop caught in the nose portion in the washrack and you are good to go.
Use caution if you are clipping legs to reveal amazing chrome markings, if your horse goes out a lot, these legs can be burned also. If you can, keep the leg hair, or try and use a clipper blade that leaves more hair. You can learn about clipper blades here.
For paints and pinto horses with a lot of white on their bodies, use a flysheet also! This will also help with general cleanliness and (logically) flies. Fly sheets are often light weight and thin, and if you use a white one this will help reflect the heat of the sun away.
You can also purchase some horse specific spray with a sunscreen in it, use it all over your horse and apply it early in the day. You may need to reapply, and use a grooming mitt, rag, or your hand to apply it to ears, noses, and faces.
If you do have a case of sunburn, please call your Veterinarian for some ointments that can help!