From Endurance to Dressage
I have used this title before, I am sure, but if the shoe fits ...
Last summer, the gnats attacked Izzy with a vengeance. He ultimately rubbed out his entire mane, all the hair at the top of his tail, and the hair off his withers and shoulders. I tried no less than a dozen products including all manner of wipes, sprays, muds, salves, and oils. None of it worked. I finally took him to the vet where he was prescribed a hefty dose of steroids - injectable, topical and oral. By winter, his hair was growing back and he felt much better.
In mid-March, as prescribed by my vet, I started the prednisolone again - 20 tables every other day. My vet's recommendation was to try each dose for two weeks. I could then reduce it by 2 tablets every two weeks until I found the lowest dose that kept Izzy from reacting to the gnats. Until about two weeks ago, he was on 16 tablets every other day, and his mane and coat looked fabulous. It was so nice that at our last show someone asked if she could take a picture of his mane.
About ten days ago, I showed up to the barn and saw some messy mane, a clear sign that Izzy had been rubbing. I bumped his dose back up to 18 tablets. A few days after that, I came out to the barn to see a hunk of his mane rubbed out.
I immediately called my vet to see what was the maximum dose of prednisolone tablets that I could safely give and for how long. According to my vet, prednisolone is a corticosteroid that works on the immune system to help relieve swelling, redness, itching, and allergic reactions. It is a short acting corticosteroid which is good in some respects - it's not as likely to cause problems like some steroids, but on the other hand, it only stays in the system for about twelve hours. By giving it every other day, it gives Izzy's body a break from the steroid.
Since Izzy is such a large animal, he can tolerate a higher dose than a small horse like Speedy. Even so, there's only so much you can give safely. For now, we're bumping him up to 20 tablets every day for two weeks to see if we can calm down the allergic reaction. Then I'll go back to every other day, but in all likelihood, I won't be able to get down to a lower dose like I had hoped. What's so frustrating is that it has been really cool here, especially in the mornings, which means the gnats aren't even at full strength yet.
For Izzy's sake, I hope this high dose eases his itchiness. If he would only wear a fly mask and fly sheet, it would help a whole lot, but he won't. If anyone has a miracle gnat repellant, I'd love to hear about it.
I guess the good thing about no mane is that I won't have to braid. I'd rather braid.
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%