Has your horse suffered with “Sweet Itch” ?Read on and be prepared for the summer.
Written by Mags Roxburgh at Stable Environment Limited
“The Natural Choice for Animal Skin Care”
Has your horse rubbed its mane and tail away last summer? Do they suffer with dry itchy skin?
Sweet Itch horses shed their skin much faster than normal horses do, creating a thick white build of dandruff in the mane and tail area. The hair traps it, creating a nice warm breeding ground for some species of biting insects. The first sign of sunshine, even in early spring, can allow them to develop, causing irritation to your horse. Before you know it, their mane and tail has been rubbed away.
Prevent this from happening by following these simple steps throughout the winter months ready for the summer.
- Brush your horse regularly, paying particular attention to the roots of the mane and tail. To prevent breakage and encourage healthy skin, spray with “3in1 Tangle Free Mane & Tail Coat Shine” It contains Lemongrass pure essential oil and natural conditioners which helps leave hair manageable, glossy and tangle free whilst reducing the build up of dust in the coat.
- Using a fine toothcomb, a professional hairdressing-cutting comb is perfect because the two sets of teeth make a big difference for detangling with one end and combing fine flakes away with the other. If you can get one made of “Vulcanized Rubber” all the better as they are durable, easy to work with and can help prevent the hair from splitting and tearing. They also reduce static. Always comb from tips firstly working up to the roots. Pre-spray the mane and tail root area as this will help you to ease the thick white dandruff away easily with the comb.
- Once a week throughout December, January, February, March and April spray or sponge your horse all over with “The Ultimate 2 in 1 Fly Repellent & Skin Tonic” paying particular attention to their ears, roots of the mane and tail, and under the dock of the tail, a place where insects aim for! Our specially blended product contains Neem Oil, on contact with the eggs will prevent them from developing. It deters mosquitoes and over 500 other biting blood sucking species coming near your horse. If they are sprayed directly with the spray it interrupts their reproductive system (the female biting insect needs to suck blood to enable it to breed) they will go off and die. You can see them hover about 2-4 foot away from a horse that has been properly covered with this spray!
- If you do wash your Sweet Itch horse, our “Shower n’ Shine shampoo or Equine Intimate Body Wash” is ideal. They do not contain salts, (used for thickening) thus preventing stinging sensitive broken skin. They do not contain any added foam boosters making it easier to rinse off. Pure Lavender and Tea Tree essential oils are in both these products and they help soothe the skin.
- The first opportunity you get (when conditions are warm enough), give your horse a good all over bath. When rinsed and towel dried, sponge their wet body all over with our fly spray, ( I keep mine in an oval ice cream container with the sponge left in, for ease of use) sponging helps to get the product onto their skin rather than just the hair. Next, brush them all over with a fine haired body brush, really working the product into the skin. Do not rinse off.
- Once a day (or twice a day if their surroundings are near water or woodlands) throughout the summer and autumn sponge your horse all over with our fly spray. Sponging I find gives you peace of mind that they are properly covered.
- 6 out of 10 Sweet Itch horses I have surveyed have a tickly cough when starting to work. I liken it to humans having asthma and eczema, very common to have together. To alleviate this problem a spray with our “5 in 1 Fresh H-Air” product onto their chest 5 minutes before working them, helps to open their airways and elevate the problem effectively.
- “5 in 1 Fresh H-Air” acts as a natural air freshener for your horse. I spray this liberally around the stable and onto bedding almost every day. I also spray “The 2 in 1 Ultimate Fly Repellent & Skin Tonic” onto any new bedding as this helps to stop biting insects using it as a breeding ground.
I personally developed all our products with animals and the environment in mind. The “Sweet Itch” method set out above I developed for a rescue pony we have called Harry. Our vet said he was the worst case she had ever seen! When he came to me he had a hole I could fit four fingers in between his front legs, his eyes were swollen like tennis balls, his whole body was one weeping mass of cuts lumps and bumps. Some of the lumps took 8 months to come out from below the surface, he looked horrendous and he must have felt awful.
My qualifications as a Trichologist, (the study of human scalp and skin disorders) Advanced Aromatherapy and hairdressing helped me immensely in researching and developing not only the products but different methods of application best suited to horses. Harry has NEVER needed a flysheet since we applied the products mentioned above. Now, eight years on, he has not had one bite! Sometimes over the past four summers, I have not applied the fly spray to see what happens. When I check him over he has been covered in mosquitoes (especially his fluffy ears), but he has not reacted to them or rubbed himself on the walls or fencing. I think he has finally built up immunity to them.
I have wanted to write this article for a long time and hope it will help many others horses in the future. Many satisfied customers have posted messages on Face Book, emailed and phoned, happy not to be buying umpteen flysheets a year! Some have spent thousands of pounds on steroids and potions to no avail. I am just happy that our little Shetland Harry has been a good tester for developing our fly spray. ‘Hirds’, the biggest vets in West Yorkshire, use our products in their horse hospital, and played a key part in my development of them.
Please note; “Sweet Itch” clients can phone or email directly and we can put together a special package for you at a reduced price. Phone 01422 310483 or email firstname.lastname@example.org