I spent a large portion of my childhood working with horses. When someone asks me if I was born in a barn, I’m almost inclined to say yes. Because I spent so much time working with horses, I became acquainted with a number of veterinary products used on livestock for sore muscles, cuts and abrasions, and hoof conditioning. In the course of using those products, I found out that many of them are great for humans, too. In fact, I can think of one product intended for cattle that I swear by for healing dry, cracked heels.
You can find most of these items online. Because they are intended for large animals rather than humans, they often come in large containers that will last a long time.
When I used to have a horse, I used Corona ointment on the cuts and scrapes he used to get when he was turned out with other horses. Corona ointment is a thick salve made with lanolin that has an antiseptic in it. The antiseptic helps kill germs, while the lanolin promotes skin softness and suppleness. Corona ointment is thick, very sticky, and has a rather medicinal smell, but it works very well on healing cuts, sunburns, and rashes on livestock and pets.
For human use
People have used Corona Ointment with great success on cuts. It’s also great for healing diaper rashes and protecting hands and feet from windburn and water. As long as you don’t mind the rather strong smell, is great to have around for minor cuts and abrasions.
Horses are athletic animals. Because they are so athletic, they often get sore muscles or minor injuries. Whenever my horse got a minor muscle strain, I’d pull out my trusty bottle of Absorbine Liniment and work some of the strong smelling stuff into the injured limb. It usually worked very well in relieving his discomfort and aided in quick healing.
For human use
Absorbine Liniment is kind of like Ben-Gay or IcyHot on steroids. If you have arthritis or sore muscles, Absorbine works very well to help relieve the pain. Back when I used to use it on my horse, it only came in a liquid. Nowadays, it also comes in a handy gel, which makes it a lot easier to apply without making a mess. I recommend using a touch of liniment whenever you need temporary relief from muscle aches and pains, but be advised that it’s powerful stuff. You may want to dilute it slightly with water to cut some of the icy/heat action.
Bag Balm is one of the best known products intended for use on cattle but co-opted by humans. Bag Balm was originally used to cure chapped teats on cows. Just like Corona Ointment, it’s also used for treating cuts and abrasions. It’s made of lanolin, smells terrible, and is very sticky and messy. It also takes awhile to absorb into the skin. But once it starts working, wow! It’s udderly fantastic for man and beast.
For human use
For years, I suffered from painful, dry, cracked heels. Last year, in desperation, I ordered a ten ounce tin of BagBalm and started smearing the stuff on my heels every night before bed. Within just a couple of weeks, my heels were completely healed! For me, BagBalm has been a wonder drug in soothing and softening the dry skin on my feet. It’s also great for dry, chapped hands and softens cuticles so that hangnails are less likely. I’ve tried all kinds of products on my cracked heels, but BagBalm has been the only product that works like a charm. Nursing mothers have also successfully used BagBalm on cracked, dry nipples.
Udderly Smooth is another product that was originally intended to be used on cattle to keep udders soft and smooth.
For human use
A friend of mine recommended Udderly Smooth to me when I was complaining about my cracked heels. She swore by it and said that it helped heal her dry skin. Personally, I didn’t find this product to work nearly as well as Bag Balm does, but I will comment that it’s a lot less greasy and smells much better. It also seems to absorb into the skin much faster than Bag Balm does. If greasiness or odor is a concern for you, I would recommend trying Udderly Smooth before Bag Balm. It doesn’t make as much of a mess and, because it comes in a large tub, will last a long time. This product can be found online. I’ve also seen it for sale at Trader Joe’s.
Mane N’ Tail Shampoo and Conditioner
Mane N’ Tail Shampoo and Conditioner were both originally intended to be used to wash and condition the manes and tails of horses. Horse hair is a lot coarser and thicker than human hair is, so this product contains more moisturizers and conditioners in it to soften the hair and make it easier to manage when it comes time for a horse show.
For human use
Mane N’ Tail Shampoo and Conditioner have been used with great success by people with coarse, damaged, overprocessed and unmanageable hair. It’s very gentle, non-irritating, and doesn’t strip your hair of oils. Unlike a lot of other barnyard remedies, it also smells good.
Sometimes remedies intended for livestock work great for human maladies. I’ve personally used all of these remedies with no ill effects, but I would recommend carefully reading the label before trying them, particularly if you have allergies or sensitive skin.
I found all of these products for sale on Amazon.com. You may also be able to find them at your local animal fee or tack shop, or a specialty grocery store like Trader Joe’s.