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Anhidrosis -- deal-breaker?

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  • Anhidrosis -- deal-breaker?

    I have an opportunity to buy an excellent horse who fits me to a T. He's perfect in every way, except he doesn't sweat. He's got all the outward signs of anhidrosis: flaky skin, bald spots, huffing and puffing, etc, and naturally we're on the Gulf coast where there's no hope of a reprieve in heat and humidity pretty much until November.

    Having come from the north, I have zero experience with this condition, so I've been thumbing through the internet looking it up. I'm beginning to get the idea that it's a pretty frustrating disease. I'm wondering if those of you who have had anhidrotic horses would recommend to steer clear of this purchase? In other words, knowing what you know now about the logistics of managing the condition, would you knowingly buy an anhidrotic horse?
    Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life

  • #2
    I like your user name!

    I had one board with me. He could not tolerate sunny days in the eighties. That meant he needed to be periodically hosed off and watched carefully. I ended up asking his owners to move him to another barn b/c I was not set up for a high-maintenance horse. He really needed to be at a big barn with grooms on staff (I'm a one-person private barn). That way, he could be in under a fan during the day, and hosed off when needed.

    Nothing his owners did -- one a/c, beer etc. worked.

    Even though my experience is pretty limited, I would never buy such a horse. If it can be managed, I almost think this horse should be free, or very very cheap. But perhaps those who've ridden anhydrotic horses successfully for years will chime in.
    Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/


    • #3
      I cannot imagine having an anhydrotic horse on the gulf coast. It gets hot here in April and doesn't really cool down until the end of October. Unless there is a hurricane there is really no break from the heat. I have an older horse that no longer tolerates the heat well. He still sweats but will get dehydrated. I have stopped riding him for the summer and won't start up again until the weather cools off. He is on night time turn out and spends the days under a fan. I deal with it because he is a good guy and deserves a good retirement. I would not buy a new horse knowing there was a problem with the heat.


      • #4
        If he is that severe, I'd probably pass. Its bloody hot on the coast (as it is here!) I have one that is prone to not sweating but he is relatively well managed and can work mostly through the summer with the proper care and concern. My other horse is actually starting to have some issues with the heat, but most of the horses we have at the barn are now showing signs of stress and heat exhaustion because we have just not had a break. Even the best sweaters are struggling these days.

        The only way I would try to make it work is if it is manageable, you have the ability to care for him all summer long, and you are happy with riding VERY early in the am and sometimes not at all.


        • #5
          What's your intended use?

          If you're expecting him to be a high-level performer in any discipline throughout a hot Southern summer, I'd pass. There really is NO schooling for 45 minutes and waiting for three hours at the in-gate in the blazing sun with these horses.

          If OTOH your competition schedule can be managed so that he gets a nice long vaycay during July, August and September, with night turnout, baths, and stalls with fans lovingly provided, it might be worth it.
          "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


          • #6
            Don't do it!!!!!

            Unless you want to spend your entire summer and half of the fall worrying about your horse constantly, day in and day out, losing sleep at night over it, spending big bucks on all types of supplements and cooling systems that don't work, and knowing you won't get more than a 20 minute ride at best during the hot months; usually at 6'oclock in the morning.


            • #7
              It really depends on how well the horse copes and how much time you are willing to spend on management... I am leasing a non-sweater right now. Assuming nothing else pops up, I plan to buy him. I also live in the gulf south.

              I ride early or late, hose him off before I ride and wet him frequently during the ride. He stands in front of the fan in his stall during the day and I hose him off in the evening, which seems to be the worst time for him. I wouldn't feel comfortable showing him right now, but it's so hot that I really don't mind that anyway.

              The bottom line is that I really like the horse and am willing to make some concessions. I also haven't given up on fixing it. I didn't know he had this issue (and given my luck he probably didn't before he came to me) so I didn't start him on One AC in the spring. I did give it to him for a while after he stopped sweating, but it almost seemed to make it worse. I am ordering the equiwinner patches in about five minutes. Fingers crossed!


              • #8
                What Meadow said. However, if you show up north or out west all summer, the horse will be fine. I have learned not to worry and ride at 6 am.


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by Meadow36 View Post
                  Don't do it!!!!!

                  Unless you want to spend your entire summer and half of the fall worrying about your horse constantly, day in and day out, losing sleep at night over it, spending big bucks on all types of supplements and cooling systems that don't work, and knowing you won't get more than a 20 minute ride at best during the hot months; usually at 6'oclock in the morning.
                  Yep, this is pretty much the scenario playing out in my subconscious mind. I suppose I really deep-down know I should be giving this guy a miss, but he has cast a spell on me, forcing me to depend on total strangers from the Internet to do my thinking for me. Thanks, all y'all, for shining a beacon of reason through the mists of horse-trading uncertainty!
                  Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life


                  • #10
                    No...whether you ride or not, it's not fair to keep a horse with that condition in a very humid climate.


                    • #11
                      As the long-time owner of a non-sweater who has tried every remedy known to man (and woman) and who is now considering hoodoo, I wouldn't advise it. I love my horse but geeze! I do ride during the summer but its an ordeal of hosing and scraping and worrying. And god forbid the power goes out and his fan goes off, because he could freakin' die! I live in fear of that...

                      I spend more time worry about the darned horse than I do my kids, and that says a lot because one of them is a teenager! If I could avoid the problem, I would. I didn't know going in that my horse didn't sweat (although it's common in his breed) but if I had, I might have thought twice. Or three times. Of course then he might have ended up with someone who DIDN'T worry about what would happen if the power went out...


                      • #12
                        My 24 yr old broodmare, after having 9 foals stopped sweating 2 years ago. She is under control now because she lives in the stall under fans during the day. Two years ago when this started, I had to add the misters to her stall.

                        My purebred welsh mare stopped sweating after her last foal was born. The foal is about 2 1/2 months old. This has been a nightmare to deal with. She can go out at night with the foal and for about 2 hrs in the early am after breakfast. She has to have misters in the stall some days so she does not huff and puff like a little freight-train. NOT FUN!'

                        So, my advice............if you live in the hot humid south (FL) like I do I would say NO!! And its a shame that I have to say that about what sounds like a lovely horse.
                        hunter/jumper ponies


                        • #13
                          I'm glad to see that I wasn't the only worry wort! I had an anhydrotic horse and lived in FL for a few years with him. I felt absolutely terrible when I would visit him at 11pm at night in August and see him panting away. There was nothing I could do for him except not look. Hosing with water was only temporary relief. The well water never really did get cold enough to lower his body temp much. And if I rode him in a lesson in the evening, sometimes he would get incredibly hot to the touch before showing any signs that he was uncomfortable - making me feel terribly guilty.

                          Even when I moved up to MD, most summers weren't bad, but we'd have stretches of brutal 90's and 100's and he'd pant so hard he'd get a nose bleed.

                          Worrying sucked and didn't help him one bit. He lived with it his entire life, so he just dealt with it - and enjoyed the Guinness beer I gave him


                          • #14
                            I wouldn't do it, as someone else mentioned, in fairness to the horse. Hopefully he'll go somewhere cooler.

                            I had one anhidrotic horse that I sold to to someone in New Mexico and he did great there. It's not just the heat in the Gulf South, it's the humidity too.

                            I feel your pain..I have an OTTB that I got a couple of years ago for DD but she lost interest. I've been working with him a bit this summer and he's stopped sweating. He's not bad enough that he huffs all day though. But...I'm thinking about giving him away to a cooler home, not sure I want to go much further with training if he's not suited for living here.


                            • #15
                              I wouldn't take a horse for free if it was anhidrotic.
                              "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                              ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


                              • #16
                                My horse has anhidrosis. I live right on the Gulf Coast where Texas and Louisiana meet so it is hot and humid as all get out. I bought Red in Jan. of 09. He stopped sweating around June 20th last year. I nearly had a cow. I had just bought another horse and put Red in pasture board. Back into a stall he went with a fan. He was panting and his hair looked ratty. I put him on One AC, Vit. E, electolytes, Guiness Beer, etc. He started sweating somewhat in July and I kept hosing him off and keeping him comfortable. I was able to ride some in August and in September he was fine.

                                I started him on One AC in March, put him back into a stall in June with a fan. Barn is very cool cinderblocks and has a nice breeze, thank God. I pulled him off the One AC as it was doing nothing this year. I was giving him Guiness and Shiner Boc beers for lunch with his little snack of Safe Choice. He is sweating some. I tried the Equiwinner - I had so hoped it would work for me. I tried the recipe that I got off of here and had some luck with that - and he is now on a supplement my vet had. Red is sweating enough that he is comfortable. I rode in a park in Spring, Texas yesterday and he sweated enough that he was very forward yesterday and having a great time.

                                It would depend on the horse as to whether you buy him or not and what you plan on doing with him. I wish I didn't have to worry about Red so much but I have rode him plenty this summer - we trail ride. I have rode in parks that had water and Red has been able to keep cool by riding him in the water, pouring water on him, etc. He was sweating to beat the band in the trailer yesterday on the way home and I was thrilled.

                                I adore my horse - he is literally a doll. Sweet natured, easy going and gentle as he can be and he is worth all the effort I put into him. There are some things money can't buy - and his disposition is just worth all of the $$ he costs me in the summer! Only you can decide how much is too much or how bad the horse has it. I am lucky, I can ride in a covered arena and take lessons once a week. I am trying to keep Red in shape so we can ride! Good luck and let us know what you decide.
                                Logging Miles with the Biscuit 530.5 Miles for 2011 visit my trail riding blog at www.dashingbigred.blogspot.com


                                • Original Poster

                                  What Dalpal says -- that it is unfair to keep an anhidrotic horse in a humid climate -- really resonates with me.

                                  My prospect has a great disposition, work ethic, looks -- the whole combo platter -- making him super tempting. For me. But when I stop to consider it from his point of view, it's suddenly obvious that I'm contemplating what amounts to a kind of abuse. I'd essentially be asking him to suffer at least 4-5 months out of the year for my own amusement. And that's just sadistic. I'm experiencing retroactive guilt just thinking about the tryout rides I've had on him.

                                  Of course, even if I don't buy him I'll be plagued by the relative certainty that the person who does end up with him won't have the good sense to keep him in Canada. He really is a nice horse, alas.

                                  Thanks, everyone, for your input. This forum is a great resource.
                                  Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life


                                  • #18
                                    Nope. Sold mine to a trusted friend in Ohio so he can freeze his ass off all winter. Seems to have 'fixed' him, but he'll live out his days up there. NOTHING cured his case here in AL, and we tried for years.


                                    • #19
                                      Guinnes worked wonders with my horse Teddy

                                      Please watch my YouTube video:

                                      Erin Martin
                                      LightHorse Farm


                                      • #20
                                        I have an anhydrotic horse in N. Texas. I love him to death, we've come very far together. I would never have been able to afford a horse of his caliber but he has anhydrosis. It requires a lot of management, worrying and OCD about temperatures for about 4 months out of the year, lots of trial and error with supplements. Lots of skipping of horse shows and clinics. And then being aggressive about keeping him fit when he is rideable.
                                        I would probably never do it again and I seriously love this horse like he were my child and because of that it is very hard to watch him suffer during the summers.
                                        "I'm holding out for the $100,000 Crossrail Classic in 2012." --mem
                                        "With all due respect.. may I suggest you take up Croquet?" --belambi
                                        Proud Member of the Opinionated Redhead Club!