From Endurance to Dressage
My poor horse is having a devil of a time with sweet itch, and I just cannot get ahead of it. Matters are not helped by the fact that he REFUSES any kind of barrier to bugs. He will not keep a fly mask on longer than an hour, and since he has deliberately wrecked his winter blankets, I haven't bothered with a fly sheet, especially since what he really needs is the neck cover. He's just too destructive. Instead, I've tried to protect him from the insects with fly repellants, and then I use a variety of products to soothe his skin.
Even though this summer hasn't been nearly as hot as years past, the bugs are still tormenting him. The ranch owner has been doubling up on the Fly Predators this season, so the fly population is almost zero. The Fly Predators aren't eating what's eating Izzy though. In fact, I wonder if the lack of flies is what has allowed the little biting boogers to flourish.
I start each morning with fly spray which works on our flies as they drop dead as soon as they land on him. Earlier in the summer, I tried spraying the crest of his mane directly, but his skin flaked off and shed much like dandruff. And not just a little; it was gross. I stopped doing that.
Izzy has rubbed himself raw from underneath his tail clear up to his forehead. Fortunately, the only spot not affected is under his saddle pad. For his coat, the best product I've found is the Coat Defense Mud. A few days of that stuff and the red, oozy wounds dry up and are replaced with nice healthy skin.
This week, I've been trying some Zephyr's Garden Skin Rescue Emollient Salve, and it seems to be working better than the Coat Defense mud.My hope is that it will serve as both a barrier to the bugs as well as a salve to the wounds.
The one thing that I can't seem to affect at all is his mane. No matter what product I rub into and onto his crest, he gets no lasting relief. Each day, he rubs out just a little more. Besides the topicals, I've also tried to help his coat through diet. Last year he was on flaxseed oil, and this year I tried ground flax seed. I hate to think what his skin would be like without the flaxseed.
I just hope he can hold out a bit longer. August and September are usually brutally hot, and right now we are in the midst of a massive heat wave (our highs this week have been near 110 with lows in the 80s.) By the end of September, things will begin to cool off, at least in the mornings. Until then, all I can do is give him lots of cool showers, apply fly spray, and doctor his wounds daily.
Come on, winter, hurry the heck up!
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%: