Sweet itch, allergies, whatever it is – owning a horse with itchy skin is an emotional journey to say the least. From sheer frustration at the inability to find a miracle cure to the upset at seeing your four legged friend tearing their skin apart; it’s heartbreaking.
I’ve experienced this with Steve (or Steven when he’s really pissing me off!). Steve is best described as the dream horse I never knew I wanted. He’s a little pocket rocket in the form of a Welsh D (Trevallion blood lines) x Thoroughbred. He was NOT on my wish list and most certainly not on my to do list. I wasn’t looking for another horse but my then 6 month old foal Danny was in the field with my 12 year old Clydesdale X and Welsh A pony, neither of whom wanted to frolic of any kind. I felt sorry for Danny and did the only logical thing to do, especially when there happens to be a spare stable on your yard, and that was go in search of a “temporary” companion. I use the term temporary loosely for the simple fact that a year and a half down the line and Steve is quite obviously still here and looks to be going nowhere soon…
Steve was a totally blind purchase from a stud in Wales and completely wow’d me when he came trotting off the lorry, full of beans after a mammoth journey from Tregaron. After a little persuasion, he finally realised that us humans were fab things and made himself firmly at home – sometimes a little too much but we won’t go there. His first spring/summer as a 1 year old were when his problems began. As you can see from the image above, his itching was a little more than the usual. The hair was ripped from his skin and his skin left red raw. Over the course of the summer, despite eliminating certain food groups, products and more, this cycle would continue over and over again until winter arrived. Steve was beside himself until the cooler days when it just disappeared. Vets decided the infamous sweet itch was the culprit and we were to manage it year in, year out forever more.
As any owner of a horse with sweet itch will know, it’s not something to take lightly. It’s a hideous allergy that doesn’t just look horrible but can quit literally change a horses personality. So you can imagine my desperation when I spotted The Little Feed Company‘s post on Instagram in search of itchy horses. They were trialling a new supplement aimed at healing the horse from within. I messaged them instantly and after sending images across, Steve was placed on the trial. Forward to a few weeks later and two bags (a months supply) of Skin Saver arrived at my door. I was sceptical to say the least but desperate to try anything considering the onset of his itching had begun already (we were in March – just). Life being the way that it is, nothing’s simple and putting the supplement in his feed was just far to easy as Steve decided that in actual fact, he didn’t want to eat it. Over the course of the next few weeks, his itching, as predicted increased and we were met with this summers first scab (pictured above). After speaking with the lovely Hermione from The Little Feed Company, I introduced it once again to his feed, this time in much smaller doses than first recommended. This time, the super fussy itchy one actually began to eat it and eat it he did. It took just a few days for him to accept it at the full dose rate.
The scab continued to worsen for the first week or so of him being on it and as I usually am, just five minutes into a diet, deemed it no good. However, as my father would say, “O ye, of little faith” because just two weeks later and his serious itching had stopped. The scab stopped spreading and stopped looking so angry. Over the course of the next two weeks, I found the scab and site of the wound began to shrink too. It began healing and now, in the middle of summer (almost July) and as you can see from the pictures below, his chest is super shiny and super clear. He still itches every so often but then again, I love a back scratch every now and then so I don’t see it an issue.
I wouldn’t say we’re completely in the clear as his tail still looks like a hot mess but that may just be him! Who knows with this guy, he loves to throw a curve ball all the live long day but hey, we have no more scabbed chest, no more incessant itching that destroys fence posts and stable walls and what’s more, I now have a very handsome and super calm two year old who looks and feels great. If your horse or pony is suffering at the hands of sweet itch or any other allergy, I highly recommend. In fact, I cannot sing its praises highly enough, so much so, I’ll be investing in the 5kg tub next!
Thank you to The Little Feed Company for allowing Steve onto the trial! We couldn’t be happier! Now just to get over his latest adventure of puncturing his leg….blimming horses, who’d have them?