Horses living out in the field generally are happier and healthier but living out 24/7 can pre dispose horses and ponies to skin conditions such as mud fever and rain scald, especially in wet weather.
Rain scald is easy to spot, it is a bacterial infection shown on the skin as various sized hard scabs which can ooze or weep.
The offending bacteria lie dormant in the skin until the skin is damaged in some way by excess moisture, heat or insect bites. Once triggered the bacteria can spread and cause an inflammatory skin infection.
Common areas prone to rain scald are the back/spinal area, neck and top of rump. Pink/light coloured skin seems to be more at risk.
Most cases will heal naturally but severe cases may need treatment such as an antimicrobial shampoo wash. Rain scald is not usually itchy but can be painful to touch and can cause scarring.
Try to prevent rain scald with regular grooming and regular checking of your horses skin/coat. A waterproof turn out rug may help a horse or pony that suffers from rain scald. The bacteria can spread between horses so always isolate cases and disinfect blankets and grooming brushes before using them on other animals.