Hi!! So first off, I’m so sorry, I was gone for like, FOREVER there. 😢 honestly I’m not sure what happened… I’ve just been busy I guess. Also it’s been SUPER hot here the last week or so and it makes me not feel like doing anything…🤪
Anyways. today I fought I’d list some of the things I find really help the horses I know with sweat itch. (And yes I realize that I’m a bit behind on this as we are already well into bug season… but whatever) my sisters horse Oliver has sweat itch… last summer was his first summer with us, and we tried many many different techniques to try and soothe his itching… some worked some didn’t but it still got pretty bad…😔 this year though, he is doing a lot better! I think it’s us knowing exactly what works, and starting before we even notice him itching.
These are what works for Oliver. They (of course) might not work for every horse, but if your like we were last year (frantically trying anything and everything) it might be worth a try😉
- A good quality flysheet with a full hood and a belly band. (Also a big tail flap is a +) This is super big. The belly band really makes a big difference. The fly sheet is great to keep the bugs off, but really it also protects them from rubbing/biting themselves so bad… it’s too hot for ollie to wear his 24/7 but at night/evenings he wears it:)
- A fly spray that is high in permethrin made a world of a difference for ollie. the best stuff we could find is this stuff:It’s (unfortunately 😭) wayyyyyy more $$$$ than our previous flyspray, but it does work really well. I think it is definitely worth it. The fly spray that we were using was only 0.05% permethrin… and the ultra shield EX is 0.50%!! A HUGE difference! I really lather it on when I apply it… everywhere!! (Except the face obviously) it says “17-day protection” but… we put it on about once a week, and that seems to work well🙂
- For the face these little fly spray bingo dabber like things are super handy😉again, look for a high permethrin % the ultra sheild ex has a 0.50% (same as the spray) and the Farnam stuff has a 0.40% so they are both pretty good!
- For the mane and tail rubs we have found this witch hazel/aloe Vera combo to really quite down the rubbing!!It’s not specifically meant for horses, but it seems to work great! Oliver has a lot more mane and tail this year! He gets it on about every second day, applied to the base of his mane and tail. Also it’s a nice easy to apply liquid😊
- Comfort me!!! From ecolicous equestrian. I love love love this stuff. It’s all natural, and really soothing. It works miracles on bald patches… such as rubs and also you know those baldish patches that some horses get around their eyes? Either due to rubbing or allergies or something? Well Ollie (as well as my Rasty and Merlin) all get a little balder around the eyes in the summer… this stuff literally clears that all up! (Plus it smells absolutely amazing!)
- Fiske’s hoof and hide balm is great for really dry skin… although it doesn’t do much to help with the itching, it really helps moisturize! And often if they have been itching their skin will be raw/dry…☹️
- NEEM OIL!!!!!!! Is an absolute MIRACLE but also the worst thing ever. I’ll explain. It works wonders for keeping the bugs away. Honestly better than anything else we’ve tried. But it smells super strongly like rotten garlic… so yeah. It’s absolutely DISGUSTING. But if you have a horse who is really bothered by the bugs I’d highly suggest trying it out! Just make sure to WEAR GLOVES! It won’t harm you to get it on yourself… but you literally won’t be able to get the (horrible) smell off your hands for days! We buy ours in a huge container from amazon. You can mix the neem oil with vitamin e cream so it was easier to apply if you want (it’s like a thick liquid-y-ish consistency so if you mix it with the vitamin e it’s more of a thin cream) Oliver gets it on his tummy, and we’ve tried it on the mane… I would not recommend putting it on the neck… it sloshed down his neck and then when he was ridden rubbed all on the reins and they got super slippery and stinky😖 but it’s seriously wonderful stuff! Make sure to buy pure neem though… we always buy organic too🙃 one thing to watch out for, it’s very concentrated and strong so Merlin (who is a super sensitive guy) will react to the neem oil if it gets to concentrated and built up on him… so just be sure to rub it in really well if your horse can be sensitive to stuff like that:) Ollie has never had any problems with it though😃
- feeding ground flax seed and/or coconut oil! Oliver gets both in his grain. 1/2 cup of flax a day and about 1/4 cup coconut oil. they work really well for a healthy, smooth and shiny coat (so it’s good regardless of sweat itch!) and that just seems to help his itching if he has a healthier coat:) be both of these are quite fattening for horses so if your horse is an easy keeper you might need to feed small amounts…
- feeding apple cider vinegar. I’ve heard that apple cider vinegar causes thiamine (vitamin B1) to be extracted through the skin and that repels insects… and apple cider vinegar is also beneficial in loads of other ways! There’s a interesting article Here about the benefits of ACV for horses. It also talks some more about the science behind why feeding ACV repels the bugs, if anyone is interested:)
so those are what what works best for ollie! If anyone has some tips for managing their sweat itch horses I’d love to hear them:) thanks for reading!!🐴🐴