My horse’s 4 white legs are permanently pink as we have red clay. I keep the legs well coated in baby oil. I did do an allergy test. If the mud is really thick I use breathable leg wraps in the stable at night over the mud. When the wraps are taken off most of the mud comes away and the legs are dry.
This is the third winter doing this and, crosses fingers, so far no mud fever.
Brush off every morning as, as DAMY said, if I leave it for a few days then lots of the hair comes off and some skin . Never made that mistake again.
Curiously, the clay sticks like glue to my non-hairy trakehner and I have to spend ages scraping it off each morning with a circular curry comb. The mud just seems to drop off my hairyish haffie and she is pretty much clean by the morning.
I've just discovered Lincoln Pig Oil spray which creates a nice fine spray so it's easy to get a good coverage. The mud is so much easier to brush off - what's left off it! I did a patch test first as some horses can be allergic to mineral oil.
i always wash my horses legs off and have never, ever had a problem. they have always had very deep shavings beds though. having said that, i firmly believe that the spores for mud fever are in the soil and that some places are more prone to it.
I’m a wash off and towel dry and never had a problem, in fact the only time I’ve had a problem was when they weren’t getting washed off properly. Our mud can be so thick sometimes it would take all night for it to dry.
I think it can depend a bit on the horse as to what is best. 7 or 8 years ago my mare had mud rash going into winter and the vet suggested just hosing the mud off her legs when she came in at night and towel drying. I'd always been taught not to wash legs but actually, her legs healed up on this routine and she didn't get any mud rash then or the following winters on that yard.
I've sometimes wondered whether washing legs is more of an issue for horses with hairy legs. If a horse has a lot of feather, they could be covered in mud but the skin underneath the feather will be clean/dry. Whereas if you hose their legs, then the skin will get damp and take a long time to dry, making mud rash more likely. Whereas horses with no feather and fine hair will have wet, muddy skin when they come in as they have no protection, so actually hosing their legs may be the best things for them. Of course, it's not fool proof - some horses are more prone to mud rash than others, definitely.
Dare I admit that ours have very little mud on their legs - just a few splatter marks. All our gateways have hardcore in them - the mud around the gateways where the hardcore stops is about hoof deep and the rest of the field is still lovely and green - they're still only eating about 1/2 the amount of haylage overnight compared to most winters. It's been very mild and wet with us so the grass is still growing. OH had to mow the lawn at home yesterday.