Last Updated: May 28, 2021
Horses, just like people, deal with injuries, swelling, arthritis, muscle tears, and more. When a person has to go through this pain, they generally search for medications to make it better. While oral medications are one route, there are many drawbacks to this; especially for a horse. But topical solutions are easy to apply and can often be even more effective.
Horse liniments are the ideal topical medication for an injured horse. Whether it’s dealing with arthritis, a sprained joint, it’s healing from a broken bone, or anything else, horse liniment can be applied to the area to reduce pain and swelling while promoting circulation for improved healing.
Like most medications, horse liniments come in many forms, and they’re not all equally effective. To help you pick one for your horse, we’ve written reviews comparing five of the best, so that you can make an informed decision about which one your horse should be using.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
The 5 Best Horse Liniments – Reviews 2021
1. Absorbine Veterinary Horse Liniment Gel – Best Overall
The Absorbine horse liniment gel is a topical analgesic for horses that reduces pain and swelling. It provides relief for sore muscles and joints, boosting recovery by limiting swelling where it’s applied. This liniment is made from natural ingredients, such as menthol and herbal extracts. Instead of chemicals, you’ll find echinacea, witch hazel, and calendula on this liniment’s ingredient list.
This is a gel formula, making it thick and non-runny, so it’s easy to apply and it’s not greasy like many liniments. However, it does have a rather overpowering odor, so you might want to wear gloves when applying it to prevent absorbing that strong scent into your skin. This gel is a bit more concentrated than some other formulas, so you don’t need quite as much of it to get the job done. Overall, it’s our favorite horse liniment gel, and it’s the one we recommend for most users.
2. Horse Health Cool Pack Green Jelly Liniment – Best Value
Available in a 64-ounce jar for an affordable price, the Horse Health Cool Pack liniment is probably the best horse liniment for the money. Because it’s a jelly, it has a thick consistency that makes for easy application as it won’t run everywhere and make a giant mess.
Unlike some liniments, this one is rather gentle. It’s still strong enough to be effective, but it won’t cause any burns or blisters, even to human skin. In fact, many people use this liniment for their own ailments, though we don’t actually recommend that.
Though it’s named Cool Pack, the cooling effect of this liniment is quite minimal. Still, it is quite effective at reducing the swelling and pain that’s associated with injuries, arthritis, sore muscles, ligaments, bucked shins, and more, which is what really matters.
3. Vetrolin 100536807 Liniment Gel – Premium Choice
Of our recommendations, the Vetrolin Liniment Gel is by far the most expensive. Even so, it’s a very effective formula, which is why it’s our premium choice pick. This liniment improves circulation wherever it’s applied. Like all liniments, it helps to reduce pain and swelling that’s caused by arthritis, injuries, and more.
Be careful, this formula is quite a bit stronger than others. It can also burn the skin. If you apply it without gloves, you could end up with a rash of burns. However, it is safe for horses and even contains hyaluronic acid to nourish your horse’s coat. Despite the high cost, we recommend this formula because it’s also highly effective. Just try not to get it on your skin, and don’t use it for personal injuries; it’s for horses only.
4. Manna Pro 1000193 Topical Analgesic Veterinary Liniment
Though the Manna topical analgesic veterinary liniment is an effective product, it’s not quite as strong as other liniments, which is part of why it just missed earning a top-three recommendation from us. But there’s a hidden blessing here, which is that this formula is gentle enough to use on dogs. This also means it’s less effective for your horse, so if your horse is suffering from a lot of pain or swelling, you might want to opt for a stronger formula.
This liniment contains menthol and eucalyptus to improve circulation. It comes in a lotion form, which is easy enough to apply since it’s not runny or liquid. That said, it’s pretty greasy. After applying it, you’ll have a greasy film covering your hands that’s difficult to wash off, so we recommend using gloves whenever working with this stuff.
5. Vita Flex Thermaflex Liniment
Available in both 12-ounce and 16-ounce bottles, the Vita Flex Thermaflex liniment is an effective product that has some application and packaging issues. But it does work, and it works well. When you apply it, the cooling effect is immediate, allowing this liniment to stimulate circulation. It also helps reduce pain and swelling effectively, and it’s a pretty strong formula. In fact, it’s strong enough to burn your skin if it gets on you and you leave it on. It’s certainly not the formula to apply for your own pains.
Unlike the lotion and gel products on this list, Thermaflex is very watery, which makes it hard to apply since it runs everywhere. The bottle it comes in also tends to leak, making this a very messy product overall.
One of the best ways for you to determine which of these liniments is ideal for you and your horse is to purchase them and all test them. Of course, that’s pretty time-consuming and expensive, and it will mean testing many products with your horse that might be subpar performers.
Luckily, you don’t have to go through all of that to compare these products. You can just read this buyer’s guide, which will help you understand the different traits and features we compared to determine which liniments were our favorites. If you understand these features, you can make a more informed decision about which liniment will fit your needs the best without purchasing and testing them all.
Burns and Blisters
Horse liniments are meant for horses, and they’re safe for horse skin and coats. You’ll need to be careful getting it on yourself though. While not every liniment will cause burns, some of them will, especially if you let it sit on your skin for too long. Certain formulas can even leave behind rashes and blisters, but other liniments were gentle enough not to cause such problems. All of them are safe for horses, but you’ll need to be careful with your own skin.
The number one reason you’re using horse liniment is to improve your horse’s comfort by reducing its pain and swelling. While all horse liniments are designed to fulfill this purpose, they’re not all equally effective at doing so. Some formulas are several times more effective than others, and these often tend to be the same liniments that are likely to burn your skin. Still, if your horse is in severe pain or has a lot of swelling, then you’ll want to look for the most effective liniment you can find to help.
Most liniments are formulated to reduce swelling and pain. But some blends contain special ingredients that are meant to help your horse in other ways. For instance, some liniments contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, which can help improve your horse’s coat while still providing all of the benefits of an effective horse liniment.
Volume and Pricing
If you only need to use liniment on your horse for a short time, then you might not be as concerned with pricing and volume as you are with effectiveness. But if your horse has arthritis, for instance, you’ll be using liniment long-term. In that case, it’s important to find a liniment that offers plenty of product for the price.
Some liniments cost nearly $1.50 per ounce, while others are closer to $0.50 per ounce. Of course, there are many priced in the middle, so you can figure out what fits your budget and stick with it.
Using Horse Liniment On Your Skin
Obviously, horse liniment is designed for horses. But the benefits of horse liniment could benefit many people as well. As such, many folks seem to be searching out horse liniment for their own ailments, rather than to use it on a horse. While we don’t recommend this practice, there are many people who swear by horse liniment for their arthritis, aches, pains, swelling, and more.
As we’ve mentioned, some horse liniments can cause a bad reaction on your skin. These can even result in rashes, blisters, and burns, which nobody wants to get from a medication. It’s these side effects that are the main reason we don’t recommend using horse liniment on human skin.
But if you’ve decided that horse liniment is the cure you need, then at least be certain to search for a liniment that’s gentle enough not to cause burns, blisters, or rashes. Remember, the strongest liniments tend to be the roughest on the skin, so you’re looking for something that’s gentle and not quite as strong. You may also want to find a liniment that doesn’t come with an overpowering odor, unless you want to walk around emitting that smell all day long!
Horse liniments are an excellent remedy for the pains your horse gets from a variety of different causes, including muscle tears, sprained joints, broken bones, arthritis, other injuries, and more. While all of these liniments aim to reduce pain and swelling while promoting circulation, differences still separate each liniment, making some preferable to others, as you read in our reviews. If you want our opinions, these are the liniments we recommend.
In most cases, we think you should go with the Absorbine Veterinary horse liniment gel. It’s powerful enough to provide great relief for pain and reduce swelling, though it’s made with natural ingredients like menthol and herbal extracts with a gel consistency that’s easy to apply and non-greasy.
If you’re budget hunting, then we suggest trying the Horse Health Cool pack liniment. This green jelly liniment reduces pain and swelling though it’s gentle enough not to cause blisters or burns, even on human skin. Plus, you get a lot for an affordable price, making it our budget pick.
The Vetrolin Liniment Gel is our premium choice recommendation. It’s very strong and could burn your skin, but it’s safe for horses and even nourishes your horse’s coat with hyaluronic acid.
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Featured image credit: caropat, Pixabay
An avid outdoorsman, Dean spends much of his time adventuring through the diverse terrain of the southwest United States with his closest companion, his dog, Gohan. He gains experience on a full-time journey of exploration. For Dean, few passions lie closer to his heart than learning. An apt researcher and reader, he loves to investigate interesting topics such as history, economics, relationships, pets, politics, and more.