Saturday, January 9, 2010

Story time

This is the tale of the bald butted horse. These are the pictures of Tess' bald butt. Or at least some of them. And yes it is still tough not having that big, goofy girl around anymore. I miss her and still have my moments. This one is at eye level for me, so it may give you some idea of her height.

The picture above is from the end of last summer. I was bringing her back into shape and trying to get both of us ready for an upcoming schooling show the middle of September. This was to be our first time back in the ring since the pregnancy. The girls were closing in on their first birthday and it was time.

Not so much to criticize there. She had rubbed her tail and entire butt bald and raw to the point of having spots under her dock that bled, after she rubbed for all she was worth on the fence. This is why the top of her tail is all pretty short. I had trimmed it to even it all out as far as the rubbed spots went- almost all the way down to the end of her dock. Everything was coming back and the hair was filling in. No more raw spots and it was looking pretty good considering.

Until the weekend of Labor Day...

We went to Tucson to visit family over the long weekend. We get back and I go out to see the horses and find this->

Beautiful! The show was in two weeks. The thought of me taking her looking like this? Toast. While the hair loss does not affect her movement, it just looks sooooo incredibly unprofessional to take a horse to a show with a literally Bald Butt! Whooosh! Down the drain went that idea. ARRRRGH!

So back to square one again, trying to find the cause of her bald butt. Besides the rubbing... I know that's what took the hair off and left the raw spots. But WHY was she rubbing? I know rubbing and scratching dry skin is one way of sorta relieving the itchiness, but what's the cause of it? She was wormed- rotational on the wormers and up to date. WTH!

At least this time she hadn't rubbed it out as badly. And trust me, this time around was pretty mild. There was just no hair and a lot of dry skin. So I was currying her before and after each ride to stimulate the oils in her skin. I was rinsing her and washing with baby shampoo- not like there's a shortage around here or anything- since it's known for being gentle on sensitive skin. Afterwards I followed it with either aloe vera or baby lotion. I gotta say I am not a fan of the Huggies brand Shea Butter scented, so that all ended up outside and was put to use.

You can see what her tail was beginning to look like again. Ruling out worming, using the lotion and currying to ease the itchy dry skin- she loved having lotion slathered on the underside of her tail- and trying to figure out how to ease this condition was interesting to say the least.

With mares, it is sometimes an issue of the gunk that gets up in between their legs and teats. Sweat + dust = grimy black stinky gunk that around here we call "boob cheese". Stallions and geldings can not only develop the beans in their sheath, but also the caked on grime between the sheath and their legs. This can be the beginnings of their tail gone wrong.

But she was clean all along and only after the hair was gone did I find one night, what felt like grains of sand all over the inside of her legs and around her teats. This was after she had been rinsed. Another WTH! moment. I had found it rubbing her belly- one of her favorite things in life. Back to the wash rack and whipped out the shampoo to scrub it all off...

No sign of any weird fungus, no sign of any stings or bug bites, no high or unruly amounts of 'boob cheese', up to date on the worming schedule- so what was going on??? Inquiring minds want to know! Now!!!

Believe it or not, while treating her one night I noticed something a little strange. It seemed to be sorta small and not anything that would be extremely noticeable, but there it was. And let me just say, oh the things we do for our horses... She had what looked like the leftovers of a small pin-worm that had gotten stuck on it's dead way out. So picture what you will in your mind, but the next day there was a trip to the feed store and a 'Power Pack' was purchased.


  1. From what I've read, Ivermectin is just about the only rotation left that parasites have not developed a resistance for. I saw something the other day that suggested feeding a clove of garlic as a remedy for tail rubbing due to parasites (I haven't tried it though). My girls always tell me when it's that time again by rump rubbing, and it's often earlier than the standard time frame, so I figure it's probably not a good idea to hide the signs. Have you tried Shapleys MTG? It's disgustingly greasy stuff, but pretty much works miracles on tails and coats (I put mine in a catsup bottle (the picnic kind) to cut down on the mess :o)

  2. Tails! My favorite topic!

    I would sob hysterically if my gelding did that to his tail! I am one of those people obsessed with tails. His is long, thick, and gorgeous (although he has a crappy, thin, mane-go figure).

    I know a lot of people use garlic, but others believe it is poisonous (I assume it's related to onion).

    My gelding does have a dandruff problem, which I seem to have under control with Healthy HairCare Moisurizer (and flax added to his diet). This stuff rocks! It's much better for de-tangling than Cowboy Magic. You mix it with water, so it sprays on evenly and a bottle will last forever. We have not seen the sun in weeks, so his tail has not been washed, and I just spray this stuff on over the dirt and mud, and I am able to brush it out every day no problem.

  3. Poor Tess, and poor you! that must have been so frustrating. Pinworms is what I thought of first , but with a reg worming program, I wondered how. Stubborn little critters huh?I had product made with mineral oil Lavender and ? (have to look it up. Worked great to sooth itchy horses.(still gotta find the problem . But the sometimes wont quit once its resolved just out of habit . this stuff softened the skin and the lavender soothed

  4. "Boob cheese"? Oh I am going to puke, how gross LOL

    I have a mare who rubs her tail and belly. I have tried, without hyperbole, everything. I've made things. I've bought things. Cheap things. Expensive things. Wormer and flaxseed and all the remedies. No relief.

    Her daughter does it too.

    I suspect it can be an addiction issue just like cribbing or weaving.

  5. CNJ,

    Wow, I know you said it was bad, but I have never seen anything that bad. Whinnie rubs, but it is only the top portion of the tail itself and only during the summer.

  6. WOW is right! Guess something really chapped her ass! :-P Poor Tess' tail - and poor you! Glad you finally figured out the pinworms.

    My Vandy mare would rub her tail in the summer - she'd get that nasty chunky yellow fungus/dandruff right up at the skin, and you had to keep it CLEAN and Listerined! Otherwise, her tail was loooong, slightly wavy, with deep purple highlights. I had to keep it thinned a bit or it just looked ridiculously bushy.

    All I did was keep it clean at the dock, brush/comb regularly, listerine when it was itchy, and condition to detangle (not up at the dock.) THe Arab people sulked.

  7. Just wait 'til you get older.
    Horses are not the only ones to sprout cheese.

    nothing more useful than that to say:)
    Heck, use 'em for crayons!
    The little black waxy thingies..

    never mind.
    I need another nap.
    The skin is an amazing organ.

  8. the day my gelding rubbed his tail raw i cried..i regularly clean his sheath - 4 x a year and if I am late he starts rubbing...I like to use only natural tail and coat products, since I find lot's of available horse grooming (and even some people) products quite irritating - which then exacerbates the itch...

  9. We started feeding a mineral supplement several years ago that contains Diatamatious Earth. Although I don't trust it completely as a "natural" dewormer, it sure has helped make the chemical dewormers more effective, eliminated the tail rubbing and reduced the fly population around the barn.

  10. Aaargh! My gelding itches his mane and tail off. I've tried everything...

  11. Jen, I've never even heard of Shapleys MTG? Any word on where to buy or more info? I would certainly be interested in finding out more.

    CCC- honestly I wanted to use the pictures you sent, but for the untechno geeks like me, I couldn't figure out how to save them.

    These pictures show the second go round of all of this. Round one? Hairloss extended further down and wider out across both sides. Under her tail it looked as if she had rope burns or something. Raw spots which oozed and sometimes bled couldn't be anything but sensitive and tender- yet she rubbed more and more. Ivermectin Gold did it that time.

    This one? The Power Pack gets everything. And although I pulled the one remnant of the worm from her backside, none were to be seen in her manure afterwards. WTH? Now That's annoying! I wanted to SEE results...

    Yep, us horse people is a mighty strange bunch at times... I am only sorta glad, my horse was and is not the only one who rubs, just maybe she took it to a whole new level.

    RIP Tess.

  12. What about Gold Bond Ointment that I see advertised? It's supposed to work on Athlete's Foot.... Jock Itch... Tetter....

    WTF is TETTER!!!??!?!


    Tess sounds like she was a real character. Maybe she had a minor itch that turned into a major compulsion...

  13. I had something to say. But then, I was done in by "boob cheese."
    Launched me into a volley of valley girl speak which may take the rest of the day to recover from.
    And then, GL implied..I can't even go there.
    I thought I was bad when I said orangutan butt.
    At least I know how to spell "oragutan" now. Weird word that.

  14. "what felt like grains of sand all over the inside of her legs and around her teats."

    I wonder about allergies, myself. And evolving fungus-oid type deals.
    And resistance.

    Hah, 14th..

    Poor mare, gah, that must have been brutal to deal with.

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  16. Sorry "dicky" but your crap won't be tolerated here. Go spew your porn somewhere else. And give yourself a kiss and a reacharound while you're at it so you can claim that you were 'good', at least once.

  17. CP- We all get to the point of trying anything and everything that seems logical in hopes it will work. Sensitive skin, few or no chemicals, anitseptics, astringents, soothing qualities- long lists of things we all seek or hope for, from the products we use, but there is always a root cause of the issue and until it is found and dealt with, we are just treating the symptoms until we can cure the disease, so to speak.

    GL- allergies were a thought too, but the 'grainy' things were sorta stuck to her legs which made me think "insect bites!"... but she had been sprayed and rubbed with repellant and was wearing a mesh sheet which was also soaked in hopes it would hold out longer. That didn't help, so I had to keep thinking on it...

    Since the grainy stuff was only on the insides of her hind legs, that ruled out insect bites. They bite any and all exposed areas. Never known a mosquito to be particular as to where they bite or reserved to a favorite body part.

    Just like in her final days, there were an array of factors that were considered from a number of varying angles, by several different people. What about this? No, can't be that, because of this, this and that. Well how about that then? Reasons A, B and C blow that theory. Crap!

    It's strange how the simple things get our brains rolling with a number of things that by all means, could or likely should explain everything and then for some reason, none of it does. Sometimes it's enough to make any of us second guess the things we actually know.

  18. Where I live we have "biting gnats" -- little tiny buggies that crawl down to bare skin to bit. They prefer the crest, the dock, ears, umbilical area, and any other area where there is little hair, or where the hair stands up so they can crawl down into it to bite (and each horse seems to have its own vulnerable spots). The bites itch (I know, they bite people too, and the bites often blister and ooze). I spray each horse's vulnerable areas daily. If I miss more than a day or two, they rub more than usual. My horses manes and tails are never really show-ready....