A while ago, before Girls’ Ride, a small group went riding for the day and I had loaned one of our horses to a friend who no longer has a horse. She brought her own saddle and pad to use on our Quarter horse, Ole, and I should have known better than to let her do that. We always use the same 'set-up' on Ole since he has a saddle and pad fitted to his body.
We were in the saddle for about 4 hours and when we got back to the trailer I noticed that Ole had a spot along his side where the girth had rubbed him raw. I keep a tin of Bickmore Gall Salve in my trailer – and another one in my tack room at home – so I smeared some on the spot.
Bickmore Gall Salve has been in production since the 1880’s, having been developed to heal galls on working horses in harness. A “gall” in the horse world is defined as a sore on the skin due to rubbing. Gall salve is a multi-purpose topical antiseptic that won’t rub or sweat off and can be used while the horse is still being worked. It’s a combination of emollients, astringents and antiseptics and seems to work wonders on saddle sores.
I have also used it on the tender skin behind the elbow of my gelding, Will, as a preventative against getting rubbed raw, since he seems to be prone to that, especially in the spring when he hasn’t had a chance to get toughened up yet in that area. Another use to which I've put the gall salve is on horse's heels and legs when they have scratches. Of course, any time a horse gets rubbed, chafed or any other minor wound, gall salve is a great remedy.
I cannot speak highly enough of this salve. Ole was subsequently trail ridden for 4 days during Girls’ Ride, we put the salve on him every day, and not only did his gall not get any worse, it actually healed up. I also used it daily on Will and he never developed any sores in the cinch area.
Bickmore gall salve is available at most tack or harness stores, or of course you can search for it online.