From Endurance to Dressage
First of all, THANK YOU! Many people responded to my recent post about Izzy's issue with the gnats. Along with the virtual hugs and sympathy, came some good tips. Unfortunately, I am already doing most of the things that were suggested, or have at least tried them, but there was at least one thing I had not yet thought about.
Last summer, I tried a bucket of products, some of which you can see in the photo above. I've used a variety of fly sprays, including Swat, Equiderma and EcoVet, but none of them worked. Pyranha keeps the flies off long enough to ride, but in our summer heat, even that doesn't last long. Besides that, it's not the flies that cause the extreme itchiness; it's the gnats. I've used Coat Defense Powder and Mud and a variety of salves meant to heal once the skin is rubbed raw, but those only helped soothe what was already there. Nothing has prevented the itchiness.
One thing that would help would be a fly mask and sheet, but Izzy refuses to wear them. Any body covering - whether it's on his feet, head, or torso, is systematically shredded bit by bit. If it took months for him to destroy something, I would be fine with replacing things, but he is a fast worker, and usually has the job done within hours.
Near the end of last summer, my vet finally recommended we attack the issue with pharmaceutical help, in other words, steroids. I am mostly fine with that, but I would rather find a solution that doesn't involve quite so much chemistry. I have also tried attacking the problem with feed. Izzy had been on flaxseed oil for over a year, but it was a bit messy, so I switched to milled flaxseed. A year later, he still gets a heaping cup each day. Along with his hay and beet pulp, he also gets three pounds of rice bran daily - a fat supplement that should, in theory, help keep his skin and coat healthy and shiny. Along with all of that, but not related to repelling the gnats, he also gets a daily vitamin/mineral supplement as well as GastroElm to keep his tummy feeling good.
Thanks to the recommendation of a Facebook friend, I have ordered Buggzo!, a product made by HorseTech. I buy my milled flaxseed from the same company, so I am hopeful that it will be just as good of a product. Buggzo! comes highly reviewed, so it's worth a try. I am sure Izzy will eat it, but I hope Speedy will find it palatable as well. My boys live in large, side-by-side paddocks in the middle of the ranch. While there are horses in front of and behind them, they don't share a fence line, so I am hoping that the Buggzo! might create a small bubble around them with fewer gnats if both horses eat it. That's if it works at all.
This poor horse. I am throwing everything that I can at the itchiness: milled flaxseed, rice bran, fly spray, topical steroid (Triamcinolone), ingestible corticosteroid (prednisolone), and now a feed through product (Buggzo!).
Let's hope this works before the gnats really come to life.
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: