Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Itchy Itch Itch

So my current operating theory is that the mare is itchy.  Don't know why, don't know how, but my gut says that she is uncomfortable and it's my job to figure out why, why, why.

Current Hypothetical Contributors:

- She's shedding
- Her skin is dry
- Bugs
- Saddle fit
- Dirty pad

Theory #1: Shedding

Realistically, this is the first time I've seen her shed her summer coat, so it's possible that it's a big contributor.  BUT she wasn't shedding when she displayed this same behavior during the saddle fitting. So I'm doubtful that it is the primary issue at hand...

Theory #2: Dry Skin

This is my current winner. For one thing, her Super-Mom mentioned that she got a little itchy in the summer, and needed a betadine bath once a week-ish.  P is outside all day, hasn't been wearing a fly sheet, and has been sun bathing like a floridian retiree. Could be contributing.  Also, I think she's drinking tons of water, but without her beet pulp, she might be slightly less hydrated than we're used to. 
Only confusing aspects are again that she has done this only twice, with lots of sunshine and sweaty saddle pads in between. Why now??

Theory #3: Bugs

Fact - Pia is thin skinned and a priss about bugs.  She gets annoyed out in the grass paddock because more bugs bother her.  She grows huge welts in response to gnats and mosquitoes. But I know this, and the regimen of fly spray, bug check (in her smartpak) and the barn's fancy spray system keeps her exposure pretty low. 
 Like I said, I haven't had her fly sheet on, but she also hasn't been growing huge nasty welts recently.

Theory #4: Saddle Fit

P's dam would notoriously throw HUGE hissy fits if a saddle didn't perfectly fit her.  Snorting, bucking, rearing fits.  Not unlike Princess P...
Usually saddle fit would be a front runner for me, but again, she did this the first time when we saddled her up in the Prestige saddles, then this time with the BO's saddle that's she's been worked in ever since we changed barns.  Why now? Her topline hasn't changed significantly, which makes me suspicious of a fit issue that would have had to magically spring up in the last week.  confusing

Theory #5: Dirty Pad:

This might be a winner.  When we did our saddle fitting, her pad was gross (read: used for one week) and its probably back at that point about now. 
Is her own dried sweat THAT offensive?? Who knows, but it is the only thing that seems to be consistent between the saddle-fitting-tantrum and this most recent display. 

Great, all good leads, but none of them are that conclusive... So here's my plan of action:

Betadine the crap out of her.  Nice big bath with a Betadine soak, and finishing with a little bit of coat conditioner.
Cover her in her flysheet, and put her cotton sheet on at night (get used to it horse).
Wash the saddle pad (in hypoallergenic, super wussy detergent) and double/triple/quadruple check her saddle fit.

Super-Mom suggested that I rig her up in a surcingle with her pad to see if she objects to that (and therefore the pad), or if the pad without the saddle is not a problem.  This is great sleuthing, and hopefully will help rule out the fit issue.

Dear Mare,

I just want to riiiiiiiide yoooouuuuuu.  But I also want you happy and comfy. 


your mom

1 comment:

  1. I go with 3 - our bugs are extra bad this year. Be careful with the Betadine - it can be very irritating in itself. I'm a fan of frequent, deep groomings - helps to bring the oils out - making sure the horse is getting enough vitamin E - and rarely bathing - rinse offs are good but little or no shampoo. Good luck with that!


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