Some of you, especially those in SE QLD may be experiencing a very distressing time for horse and owner at the moment with Queensland Itch setting in severely over the Summer months. It is terrible to watch your horse itching 24x7. After many many years of equine experience and years in the saddlery business sharing thoughts and ideas with fellow horse people, we can be sure there are three things you need to put in place to help get Queensland Itch under control.
1) Prevent Bites - cover up. Even though its Summer and your horse may be on the warm side, an itchy horse must be rugged 24x7 to provide a layer of protection against the midges and insects. Ensure you choose a ripstop fabric and not mesh as the insects can still bite through the holes in the mesh. Its also very important you choose a ripstop fabric with a high percentage of cotton such as the Eurohunter Crossover Combo, Wild Horse or Koolmaster Hood and Ears Combo. Avoid all rugs with a high percentage of polyester as your horse will easily overheat. In a cotton based rug, your horse may sweat but the fabric will still breath and allow cooling and sun protection along with the barrier against insects. The Wild Horse Rugs also contain natural pyrethrin's which help repel the insects.
2) Feed - treat from the inside out. There are feed additives which make the horses blood less palatable to the midges and insects. We recommend QI Ease, it is easily added to feed once a day. You also need to make sure your horses are not being feed any high sugar feeds as this can also make the situation worse from the inside out.
3) Sooth and repel. Once your horse reacts the itchy spots become inflamed and sore. We recommend using natural based products to sooth and help heal the sores. Products such as Pony Coat and Calafae Oil are proving popular and our customers are getting great results. The oil helps soften the scabs and make the horse more comfortable and less likely to itch. It also helps repel insects with its natural insect repellants and also heal the skin and regrow hair.
I hope this article helps lots of people with this very stressful condition which is so prevalent in our area.