Every horse should be kept in a species-appropriate way: lots of fresh air, sufficient exercise, with other horses in the company, medical care, and food that is appropriate to the type. The attitude of eczema, however, is a bit more extensive. Summer eczemas, for example, need a different grazing rhythm as well as a diet tailored to the disease. In order to positively influence the course and severity of eczema, some additional factors are required.
Regulate the Time in the Pasture
For a sweet itch, everyday life is not really easy and pleasant if it is not kept accordingly. What does that mean in detail? Grazing in particular should be carefully planned in order to expose eczema to as little mosquito contact as possible. It should be noted that there are different times when the mosquitoes are less active. This includes the time from late morning to midday, especially in the summer months. As a rule of thumb, you can generally use the time from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. as an almost mosquito-free time.
Even when it rains or storms, there are fewer mosquitos around. However, this state of affairs can also change. Over time, the sunrise or sunset will eventually shift and you will have to adjust your times of day individually. There is an erroneous rumor that it is better to keep horses in the meadow at night in order to better protect them. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes are not only on the move at dawn but also at dusk and at night.
An eczema blanket can help. This protects your horse from mosquito bites, provided it fits exactly. No mosquito or other insect should be able to crawl under the covers. So you could put your horse out in the pasture or on the paddock at other times. Many horse owners also spray their horses with mosquito spray. If you don’t have a blanket, you can just spray your horse with mosquito repellent. Remember, however, that rain, sweating, or simply after a certain period of time, the insect repellent is no longer available. So you have to weigh up what is more comfortable for your horse and offers long-lasting protection.
Pasture Maintenance – a Decisive Factor
Another important point in keeping a sweet itch is pasture care. Your pasture should be very well maintained and regularly peeled off. Because horse manure attracts mosquitoes and other insects. So it makes sense not to have a dung heap directly on or in the pasture.
Your pasture should also be dry, preferably without puddles or streams. Mosquitoes love stagnant water in which they can multiply unhindered. Therefore it is always very rich in mosquitoes, especially near lakes, streams, or at the edges of forests.
Sensible fencing is also part of pasture maintenance. It should ensure security against unwanted breakouts and ideally not offer any chafing opportunities. Especially when you have a nice wooden fence without electricity around your paddock, the temptation to scrub is very great, whether on the wooden slats or on the fence posts. When it’s excruciatingly itchy, horses can get very inventive. The same applies to devices, water barrels, or other objects that are parked in the pasture. So look for a suitable solution to minimize these chafing opportunities.
Make the Stable Mosquito-proof
Ideally, your horse has a stable or shelter that is dry and cool. These conditions are not very attractive for mosquitoes. Of course, there shouldn’t be any manure or puddles here either. There are now many ways to make the entrance area insect-proof. Slats made of PVC, which are available in different widths and lengths, have proven their worth. Usually, they are cut to fit the respective passage and attached to a rail above the entrance. Electric insect killers are also available from specialist retailers in various versions. These are attached to a corner in the stable that the horses cannot reach under any circumstances.
The Right Feeding for Summer Eczema
Horses are busy moving and eating for most of the day, roughly 16 hours. The horses rest for the remaining 8 hours. Nowadays, however, this is no longer the case everywhere. Instead, we feed our horses at regular times. The feed intake itself is more of a short-term process.
It is important to keep your horse busy for as long as possible by consuming feed. This also includes sufficient roughage in the form of high-quality hay. Even if there should be enough feed available, your horse must of course not get too much energy. This can lead to obesity and illness. There must also be no deficit in terms of the amount of hay fed. This can lead to health problems and behavioral problems.
In the summer months, the grazing season depends on the amount of feed and its quality. A great advantage of grazing is that it encourages natural eating behavior. However, not every willow presents the same picture. There are great differences in the variety of grasses and herbs, in the fructan content, in the appearance of the sward, or in the composition of the soil. Each pasture can be seen for itself and is not always sufficient for a sufficient supply of nutrients or energy. However, this must be individually tailored to the respective horse.
Such a pasture is usually not enough for warm-blooded animals. Ponies or cold-blooded breeds tend to need poor meadows. For them, lush, fructan-rich meadows without herbs are rather counterproductive.
You will notice how extensive the topic of feeding is for horses, especially sweet itch, and how important it is to take individual needs into account. Factors such as current feed, grazing, amount of hay, state of health and any other illnesses, feeding status, or husbandry are part of an exact determination of the suitable feed requirement. A horse nutritionist, veterinarian, or animal healer can provide you with professional support in this task.