EquinesRSS feed

Sweet itch and immunotherapy

Wednesday 7 June, 2006

by Rosemary at 9:28pm in Equines 10 comments Comments closed

I can't remember if I've posted on this before, but my horse, Smokey, has a condition called sweet itch. Sweet itch affects around 5% of horses and is a problem with the immune system, which goes into overdrive if the horse is bitten by the Cullicoides midge. Now, I can have some sympathy with this because I get a pretty bad reaction to midge bites compared to, say, Dan. But nothing compared to Smokey and HE doesn't have it that bad, compared to some horses.

Horses with sweet itch will scratch and rub until they are red raw, destroying mane and tail (the most affected areas) in the process. There are lots of potential remedies - some work for some horses and not for others.

Tasty roadsides

Sunday 4 September, 2005

by Rosemary at 9:21pm in Equines 1 comment Comments closed

I see Smokey five days out of seven. Two days a week my friends, Karen and Linda, feed him for me. Generally I ride three times a week and on the other two days, I feed him and check him over.

Almost every day, I let him have 15 to 20 minutes grazing the roadside. I love watching him - his whiskers, nose and top lip are constantly on the search for the tastiest bites. And on the roadside, these are many.

I suppose to us, grass is grass but the roadside is full of weeds. And for Smokey, these are just great. His favourites are what we call "sticky willie" (Goosegrass or Cleavers) - he eats that like long strands of spaghetti; what I think is Knapweed - he picks the flowers off the plant; and Cow Parsley. He likes the flowers and the leaves of Cow Parsley but not the stems. He doesn't like brambles, which is good, because I eat them while he's grazing.


Thursday 12 August, 2004

by Rosemary at 8:18pm in Equines 1 comment Comments closed

Smokey and I have begun a journey together. We have started to learn to communicate using natural horsemanship. Parelli Natural Horsemanship or PNH. If it all sounds a bit weird and touchy feely, believe me it's not.

Some folk at the yard had a session with a horse whisperer recently. Now that, to me, is pure mumbo jumbo and shouldn't be linked with PNH. The horse whisperer told one of the owners that her horse liked being owned by her because "she bought her comfy boots". What a load of piffle.


Tuesday 18 May, 2004

by Rosemary at 9:52pm in Equines 1 comment Comments closed

Smokey is on a diet. He and Wallace, his grazing buddy, have been moved to a "restricted intake" paddock. Calling it a "starvation paddock" is now non PC.

Horses can contract a disease called laminitis which is an inflammation of the sensitive laminae in the foot. It can be caused by a number of things including high intakes of sweet spring grass. There is no cure and in severe cases, horses may be destroyed. If a horse gets it, it recurs and has to be carefully managed for the rest of the horse's life. So prevention certainly beats cure.

Long distance riding

Sunday 21 March, 2004

by Rosemary at 6:28pm in Equines 1 comment Comments closed

I have been seeking an activity to undertake with Smokey. He's too big to show, even if I wanted to, and neither of us are that keen on jumping. After some thought, and a recommendation from our vet, we are planning to start long distance or endurance riding. Our vet described this as "hacking with style".

The sport is run in Scotland by the Scottish Endurance Riding Club (SERC), through a number of branches. We're kind of in the area of Glasgow, Lothians and Tayside, but I think we'll go for Tayside.

New bedding

Sunday 25 January, 2004

by Rosemary at 10:09pm in Equines 1 comment Comments closed

We're, well I'm, lucky enough to have a horse. For those interested, Smokey, or Munro of Millfield, is a 15.1hh grey Highland gelding. He'll be seven in May and I've owned him since August 2002. Owning Smokey has been the fulfillment of a lifetime's dream and I could bore for Britain on his positive attributes (many) and shortcomings (few).

Anyway, last winter (2002/03), Smokey worked very hard to provide us with copious amounts of dung. Every morning when I mucked out his box, I would put on my "Marigolds" and fill a large skip with the "hard stuff", shaking off excess shavings, and bring it home in the boot of the car.

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