From Endurance to Dressage
It's tough to be so well loved, especially when it's by a gnat. Or midges. Or no-see-ums. Officially they're called Ceratopogonidae, and they think Izzy is a buffet of yumminess. Poor Guy. According to Wikipedia, there are more than 5,000 species of the little buggers, and they cover the planet from south of the arctic to north of Antarctica. Their bites are painful and can cause intensely itchy lesions. Izzy will vouch for that last bit.
Last summer, Izzy rubbed out a bit of his tail and nearly all of his mane. I knew he was itchy, but with fly spray and frequent showers, he made it through the buggy season with his skin pretty well intact. This year, he's been a hot mess. I've tried no less than a dozen products, many of which claim to be cure-alls for Seasonal Recurrent Dermatitis (SSRD), colloquially known as both summer itch and sweet itch. In short, the itchiness is a medical condition in horses caused by an allergic response to the bites of midges. Or as I like to call them, little bastards.
When I took Izzy to see Dr. Tolley for his fall vaccinations, we formulated a plan to deal with the itchy skin medically instead of just topically. I've already mentioned this, but Dr. Tolley gave Izzy a shot of dexamethasone, a steroid that treats inflammation. I also took home a jar of Triamcinolone acetonide, another corticosteroid used topically to treat various skin conditions. On Monday, I drove back out to pick up a bottle of prednisolone tablets, a corticosteroid that decreases inflammatory or immune responses.
None of these drugs are particularly cheap, especially the prednisolone. In fact when I calculated the cost of Izzy's new allergy pills, I gulped in dismay. A bottle of 500 pills costs $115 which sounds really cheap until you consider how many pills a day he'll be getting. Here's Dr. Tolley's plan beginning on Monday going through December 1:
Next spring is when I'll start to feel the pinch. By then, we hope to start him on 16 pills every other day from April 1 though December 1. That works out to approximately 240 a pills a month ($55) for eight months ($441). I need a new envelope.
The good news is that one of the steroids Dr. Tolley gave is working. Or more likely, some combination of two of them is giving Izzy some relief. Last night, all of his itchy spots were smooth with no raw skin showing. His forehead looked nearly healed, and his shoulders had new hair coming in. I wish I had thought to take a picture because he's nearly black now. His yellow coat has quickly been replaced by his black winter coat. That, too, usually fades by February, but for the month of November, he's normally quite dark.
I know he will feel so much better after just a few more days, and the cool weekend that's in store will help even more. I wish they made a Zyrtec or Claritin for horses where one pill a night did the trick. Fortunately, the pills dissolve completely in his beat pulp, and he wolfs them down without batting an eye.
Now I need to start shopping the online pharmacies to see if I can knock a few dollars off each bottle. Every little bit helps.
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%: