Could It Really Have Been So Simple All Along? A Question for Horse People

We’re often neglectful of mentioning the 2 longest residents  of Run A Muck Ranch, aside from me and Crabby.

Charlie and I have been together for 19 years.  He was bred to be not ‘a’ but ‘the’ superior Arabian stud  of the world.  Unfortunately, where he was pretty, and conformationally perfect, Charlie’s brain wiring came out all wrong.  In the end, this horse, syndicated before his birth, for more than most of us make in several years, was given to me because we were the only humans Charlie trusted.  Many people working with Charlie, before he reached 2 years old,  ended up in the hospital. No one wanted to work with him.

Hal came to us 11 years ago.  I used to come from thoroughbred country, and to me, an ex-race horse was a ‘normal’ horse.  Except in the case of Hal.  He is overly sensitive, kind of like Willy. To upset Hal puts him into a colic.  Hay upsets his stomach, and for that reason, he’s on pellets only.   Our mission:  Make sure Hal stays emotionally level to keep him from colicing.

Honestly, with so many dogs, I don’t deserve the honor of keeping Hal and Charlie in my life.  That neither can fulfill their duty to serve humans means no one else would want them.  I’ve spoken to my vet several times about finding better homes for the boys.  Each time she has informed me that I am not as bad a mom as I think I am, and that anywhere else, especially Charlie, would be dead. So the boys remain, and I live in perpetual guilt that I am not a good mom to them.

As substandard a mom as I am, the boys’ well being is still my primary concern:

You would think, living on the desert, mosquitoes wouldn’t be an issue.  You would think wrong.   Post rains, we are inundated them.   I’m covered in bites, but I can go inside.  Hal and Charlie, they’re stuck outside.

 

Hal using Charlie as a scratching post.  The boys look a little rough as they spent most of the night pacing in an attempt to keep the mosquitoes off.
Hal using Charlie as a scratching post. The boys look a little rough as they spent most of the night pacing in an attempt to keep the mosquitoes off.

 

Hal is just too sweet. the bugs love him!
Hal is just too sweet. the bugs love him!

 

Hal, especially, reacts to bites.  They turn into massive welts and itch him so bad.  Despite gallons of chemicals put on him to repel mosquitoes, he still looks like he’s broken out in hives sometimes.   Charlie isn’t as sensitive, but sometimes you can just tell he’s had a hard night.

Crabby read something in one of his camping magazines that gave him pause:  It was written that mosquitoes and other bugs leave people alone when wind speeds are at 5 mph or higher.    Is that true?  And if so, would the same apply to the horses?

To test it, Crabby took the ceiling fans from the greenhouse and installed them above the horse stalls, pointing down, roughly to the center of the 12 x 12 stalls.

 

For those living in areas where barns are solid, trust me, I too was horrified over the concept of pipe stalls.  However, as hot as it gets here, the horses would cook in their stalls if not for the open air of the pipes.
For those living in areas where barns are solid, trust me, I too was horrified over the concept of pipe stalls. However, as hot as it gets here, the horses would cook in their stalls if not for the open air of the pipes.

 

 

The fan's installed were 2 18 inch, Quietaire Haf fans, made for greenhouses, one in each stall.
The fan’s installed were 2 18 inch, Quietaire Haf fans, made for greenhouses, one in each stall.

First impressions after use:

Not as much tail swishing (tails brushing bugs off).  This was both in the dark (mosquitoes) and in the morning (flies).  Yes, a few new mosquito bites, but exponentially fewer than usual, even with the use of chemical.    Equally important, Hal and Charlie are less agitated from fighting the bugs.

 

Handsome Hal, after a good night sleep.
Handsome Hal, after a good night sleep.

Is it possible that all those harsh chemicals I’ve used on the boys were never actually necessary, and that all we needed was forced air movement to keep the bugs away?

I’d like to hear from other horse people if they’ve tried anything like this before, and what the results were.

 

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13 thoughts on “Could It Really Have Been So Simple All Along? A Question for Horse People

  1. I grew up with horses. I broke and trained my share (ask my body). The fans work wonders, however, add some Avon Skin-So-Soft to that and those blood suckers won’t touch them. Mosquitos HATE oil, and SSS is oily and will make the boys shine brighter than they already do. And you are not a bad mother, shame on you for saying it. And your vet is right, everyone you have would’ve been dead by now had it not been for two caring, compassionate humans! You can order SSS online. It doesn’t take much. Just put a bit (quarter size) in your hands, rub them together and rub the horses. This will also keep away biting flies. And you can even put it on you and they’ll not bother you, imagine, smile!

    1. I found, back east, that SSS worked on flies, even the biting ones, but not so much on the mosquitoes. Unless you just jinxed us and caused biting flies our way, mosquitoes are what we mostly have to deal with!

      By proper Horse Mom standards, below average, though significantly better than actual bad horse mom (ahem… Chubby Charlie is not, as some believe, a pregnant mare).

    1. Oh no, us southerners us Skin-So-Soft for everything, laugh. We use it on our dogs but NOT felines (they lick too much!), cows (not lactating), and just about anything on 4 legs and definitely 2 legs! lol

  2. let me know if truly works. If I don’t spray Sir down daily he also gets welts and looks like he has hives

    Sent from my iPhone

    1. Feel free to creep over in the middle of the night and see the ‘lack of’ tail swishing. Just ignore the major renovations currently in progress in the barn..

      Remember, though, our stalls are significantly smaller than yours – Charlie and Hal can’t move away from the breeze, Sir can.

    1. It would be so great if this is yet another instance where we can by pass chemical/processed or anything else we as a species have done to muck up the world!

  3. Due to the wet damp late winter and early spring (thus far) the flies have been breeding in their thousands – well tens of thousands – and it has become something of a problem to keep them out of the house. Fortunately we don’t have problems with mossies, only flies by the millions. Yes we use a chemical based fly spray and I have taken to wearing a fly protection hat when I work out in the garden. It’s a worry – not as much a worry as yours with the horses – but still a worry because it’s only just the start of the dry, hot season.

    1. Though not as bad as yours, we’ve had a bad fly season here. Fortunately, it’s just about over.

      May your summer be mild and fire free!

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