My horse is prone to hives during/after a massage. The therapist said it's due to the release of the toxins in his body, and it's fairly common in tense horses. I use it as a guage of how well the massage relaxed him - the more hives, the bigger the tip she gets.
Well tonight I tried a different kind of ride with my boy, and afterwards he broke out in hives! I'm wondering if the workout caused him to relax, thus causing the hives?
Normally when we work, we warm up with about 10 minutes of walking and easy jogging on light/medium contact. Once he's warm, contact increases and we do mostly collected trotting work (Saddle Seat collection), with very brief walks and some collected cantering. His total workout is about 30 minutes of mostly strong trotting, and he is hand walked from the ground afterwards, because the more he is ridden, the less he wants to walk.
Well, I've decided that not walking during his work isn't very beneficial to him. He never gets a chance to relax, catch his breath, stretch, etc, and he gets himself worked up to be a VERY strong ride - which is fun, but not always the ride I want. This is unfortunately typical of how ASBs are worked, and I wanted to try something different because he seems to reach a mental burnout stage about 25 minutes in and that's not good. (You COTH guys are really giving me some things to think about LOL!).
Tonight I warmed him up as usual, but then after about 3 minutes of good strong "show" trotting, I brought him down to a walk and went back to light contact on a fairly long rein. It took him a bit to figure out that he didn't need to worry about the lesser contact and just RELAX and WALK, but he did. It was a nice long-strided walk, not his usually choppy almostajogbutnotquiteawalk walk.
Anyways, I alternated his collected work with long periods of light contact walking, letting him stretch his neck down as low as he wanted. A few times he reached the ground (I know this because he had dirt on his muzzle when I got off). Then I'd pick up the contact again and ask him to do some more "hard" work, including trotting circles, cantering, hand galloping, collected walking, etc.
We worked for about 40 minutes total, alternating gaits, adding up to about 20 minutes total of the loose walking, and he was definitely not as sweaty and out of breath as he normally is after our 30 minute workout. He cooled out very quickly as well.
But the strangest thing I noticed was, after I untacked him, he broke out in hives across his neck and shoulders, the same as he does after a massage!!!
Do you think this is because he was allowed to relax and stretch during the work?
He only gets them when he's relaxed, so I doubt they are caused by stress. When he IS stressed he doesn't get them. And, he's never gotten them before from anything - allergic reaction, medication, stress, weather, bugs, nothing. He's not terribly thin skinned and he's not nervous. He's pretty "chill" about most things. The only time he gets tense is when he's working, and then it's well into the workout.
Hmmm... Sounds like you might want to have the Vet run some allergy tests to see if it's something that he's eating. I've known a few to have allergies to odd weeds which they can get occasionally when we let them graze, and believe it or not -- certain air-borne pollens.
Also had one that would react to the shavings everytime we got a new batch...
It's not an allergy. It ONLY occurs after a massage. If he had the hives any other time I would consider that but that is not what's happening. There is too much of a coincidence here to think it's an allergic reaction to anything. She does not use any equipment or oils.
No, he doesn't get sweaty during/after the massage.