It does seem a little counterintuitive that a mammal designed to permanently live outside and eat grass may, in fact, be allergic to grass, flower or tree pollens or a combination of all three but, it is true.
Management is absolutely critical to the welfare of these horses and here are some key pointers:-
- Stable confinement can make pollen issues worse particularly in modern stables which tend to lack adequate ventilation or American barns. Turn the horse out as much as possible but on hot humid days with static air flow and a high pollen count, keep him in
- Avoid any dust or irritation, again by keeping the horse at grass as much as you can. Feed hay that has been soaked, dampened or steamed
- Use a nose net whilst riding and some people smear Vaseline around the nostrils before doing so
- You won’t probably be able to identify the specific pollens which trigger your horse’s discomfort but monitor carefully what you find in the environment that seems to make it worse. The weather and location can have a big impact on a horse’s response to pollen. Keep a diary so you can look back and assess where your horse was, what he was doing and, what the weather was doing. There is a daily pollen forecast alongside the weather so it is easy to keep track of pollen levels in your geographical region
There are plenty of supplements which can help regulate the horse’s discomfort and calm inflammation. This is the biological key to dealing with pollen problems as the allergic reaction is caused by an excessive response of the immune system to the sudden stimulus of different trigger points.