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Question for parents with child/children who are allergic to horses

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  • Question for parents with child/children who are allergic to horses

    Elder child, age 9, is interested in learning the basics of riding, but is seriously sensitive to animals. He is the sort of kid who cannot go to the circus, because the animals in the ring set off coughing, sneezing and leave him miserable.

    "Riding" for him would be learning to sit and steer so we can go on holidays and he can ride for a day or so with us. Because he is so allergic, when we have discussed horses in the past, he has been adamant he is not interested in learning to ride.

    However, we went to an Argentine estancia for Christmas and he met a boy his own age who did get to ride every day, and he's changed his mind. He's not interested in riding daily, or showing, but just being able to do some sort of family group activity that involves horses (yeah! ).

    Of course, we have talked to our doctor. His recommendation is to try the over the counter antihistamines now available (Allegra is what I happen to have on hand). Benadryl has proven to be not terribly effective in managing the symptoms in the past.

    I'm interested in hearing what people who have first hand experience in this area have to say; that is, parents, or trainers who have children who are allergic. Specifically, what kind of success have you had managing symptoms with antihistamines or other sorts of medication? Success or failure, I'd like to hear some real life examples.

    My game plan is to try a schedule of lessons locally for the spring as a test. I'd like to be as prepared as possible and if possible, have multiple things I can try.

    Many thanks,
    Chronicles of the $700 Pony
    The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony
    www.blithetraveler.com <-- My Blog

  • #2
    I'm very interested in any responses. I've know one girl, 9 years old who is dead keen on riding. Not quite as bad as your boy, but she ends up looking like him in some of the photos on your blog. Try as he might, her father can't seem to drag her away from the ponies. She would love to ride with me if she didn't end up unable to see and weezing so she can't do anything.

    I also met another young girl today who said to me that she would really like to ride, but she's also allergic - she got itchy eyes and runny nose, just from being near me after I'd been working with the horses!

    Both these kids are farm kids. Exposed to other animals, dirt and horses since birth. They would love to hear of any good ideas and things that will work on an ongoing basis, for everyday.


    • #3
      My son was very allergic -- running eyes, sneezing etc, it was pretty dramatic. We used Benadryl or Zyrtec (prescription, he had other allergies too). I gave him a teaspoon full before we went to the barn. I did that for a year or two, and one day forgot to give him the medication. He went to the barn and was just fine! So from that time on, I stopped the medication. That was about 10 years ago, he's now 17.
      Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/


      • #4
        My son will be 12 this summer and is allergic to everything outside especially horses He is a rider...he doesn't usually get medicated. Usually what we do is - I groom especially shedding season - He does know how to groom, and will groom. Gloves and long sleeve shirts are the kid's friends. Wash hands right away, do not touch the face till all horsey clothes have been removed. and hands and face washed. Also a medical mask work.


        • #5
          Both my son and I are mildly allergic, i.e., not as bad you're describing, although my son when much younger (until 2nd grade or so) did have relatively mild asthma as well.

          OTC antihistimines are definitely worth trying. Make sure you given them enough time in advance to take hole before you go out to the barn (1 to 2 hours before going). It's also worth trying a couple of different ones if the first doesn't seem to work, since individuals react differently to each (as you've found). While he's at the barn make sure he keeps his hands away from his eyes and nose.

          Then, when he comes home, he goes straight into the shower and the clothes go straight into the wash.

          FWIW I'm allergic to cats, and do the same thing before and after visiting friends who own cats: antihistamine before and wash everything after. No touching the face while at the friend's place. It works fine.

          Good luck.
          "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by phoebetrainer View Post
            She would love to ride with me if she didn't end up unable to see and wheezing so she can't do anything.

            I also met another young girl today who said to me that she would really like to ride, but she's also allergic - she got itchy eyes and runny nose, just from being near me after I'd been working with the horses!
            PT, have the parents tried any medications to date?
            Chronicles of the $700 Pony
            The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony
            www.blithetraveler.com <-- My Blog


            • #7
              This cute little 8 year old girl from down the road kept coming to my farm to see my horses. Only problem was she was horribly allergic to them, her eyes would turn blood red and she'd sneeze and start to wheeze (she has asthma). But she was absolutely determined to learn to ride, and did everything she could to be at my barn.

              With her foster mother's permission, I put her in a paper face mask, protective goggles, and gloves and she helped me groom. She also learned to ride a bit.

              We had to be SUPER careful and keep her inhaler nearby. After the barn, she'd go home and wash up and change her clothes. Over time and with more and more exposure, she seemed to develop tolerance to the horses. With time we lost the gloves, then the goggles, then the mask.

              My husband and I wound up adopting her, and today she's a healthy 17 year old horse girl who is a C2 in Pony Club. Yeah, she has pretty much gotten over the horse allergy!

              Her one trigger is that she has to be careful if shedding out a horse or being around a lot of horse hair flying. She keeps an inhaler (she has fairly severe asthma) handy. But all in all I'd consider her no longer allergic to horses.


              • #8
                I'm allergic to corn pollen, hay, horses, dogs, and cats. Oh, and Russian Olive trees and mold. LOL

                ANYWAY...my "allergy therapy" was being constantly exposed. I was just fine with cats til I took a few years away and now I have to have drugs on board.

                I think that the allergy shots can do a great deal of good. Doctors say that I basically did my own "allergy shots" by being exposed continuously and getting over some of it. But that was years ago.
                A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                • #9
                  My brother is seriously allergic to horses. He used to be able to be around them casually, but it got to the point where he couldn't even be around my horse clothing. After having to go to the emergency room after a trail ride, he now has to carry an epi-pen if he thinks he's going to be somewhere there will be horses. He really likes them, but cannot be around them with any degree of safety.
                  According to the Mayan calendar, the world will not end this week. Please plan your life accordingly.


                  • #10
                    My sister and I are both allergic to horses. I am mildly allergic but she gets very miserable when around horses (she doesn't ride but likes to come out to the barn). We have both found a homeopathic allergy spray to be helpful (under the tongue, as much as needed). It got rid of my stuffy nose altogether, and made my sister able to actually groom my horse with only mild sniffles. Could be a placebo effect, who knows, but we were happy with it and an $18 bottle lasted me several months. YMMV.