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Summer rash – a scratching horse
I would like to react to the article called "Help, my horse has got a rash", which was published in the June issue of the magazine “Jezdectví” (equitation) and the problem of a summer rash, or scratching horses, was not dealt with in detail. Since I have been dealing with breeding and raising of horses, I come across with these unfortunate horses suffering from this unpleasant problem. I am afraid that breeders will agree with me that a horse like this is sometimes born. So what to do with such a horse? Dear breeders and horse owners, I would like to share my personal experience with you about causes and symptoms as well as solving and partial healing of this, as we could say, disease.
In February this year I came to a conclusion and conviction which had been voiced the previous year by a friend of mine, a sportsman and a jockey, Mr. Rostislav Hlaušek. It sounds incredible, but the main cause of scratching horses, at a certain degree of genetic conditions, is an allergic reaction to eating grass in any form, grazing as well. I assume that the green stuff makes up at least 60% of this allergic reaction of the body, the remaining 40% is caused by insects and pollens. This theory was proved by a mare who suffered from a summer rash, which had been in our stable for a few years, so I could observe the symptoms in different year periods and times, and I came to this finding:

It is February, the month of freezing and snowing, no insects, no pollens and the temperatures vary from -20°C to +5°C. A group of mares, including the one I observe, are pastured every day for at least 2 hours on grazing covered with snow. The mare observed has beautiful mane and the root of the tail is overgrown. In the middle of the month, the temperature goes up to +1 to 5°C for 7 days. The snow partly melts and the mares begin to eat and collect old grass that turn out for a while after the snow melted. An immediate allergic reaction of the body to eating “the green stuff” follows and the mare observed scratches her mane and the root of the tail every until the temperature goes down to the freezing point and the grazing is covered with snow. I keep observing the mare and since then I have not fed her with old grass, grass or anything green again. Now, it is June and the mare has her mane and tail as dense as never before in this period even though she scratches herself a bit. With an occasional care, the mare suffers less, by 60%.

Recommended care for horses with a summer rash:

  • no intake of green feed or grazing
  • individual stabling, not in the outside stables
  • from February to September we give the horse 0.5 decilitre of sunflower oil every day
  • according to the needs (immediately, even after a little scratch) shampoo the mane, or the skin where the mane grows from, properly and carefully and the skin of the whole tail where the hair grows from with a shampoo for these horses
  • with horses that suffer severely, after they are washed, these spots have to be, before they dry, greased with a baby oil or with a balm for these horses
  • with horses that suffer severely, permanent (or according to the needs) care with an insect repellent is necessary
  • from February until September or October, protection with homeopathic remedies by Boiron in dilution of 9, 15 and 30 CH: GRAPHITES, APIS MELIFIKA and POUMON HISTAMIN, take once or twice a day (according to the needs) 1 ball from each kind, let it dilute in the drinking trough.

With this treatment, I am 100% successful, and both horses are satisfied with a beautiful mane and tail all summer long. Rosťa, thank you and I wish you all satisfied horses without allergic reactions.

In Nový Jičín, June 3, 2009 Jana Lošáková.