Well, to be more exact, bumps on the horse! A few days back Dharla came down with a really bad case of hives. When I went out to feed in the morning she had a couple of suspicious lumps on her neck and flanks. Having seen this before (with our other Arabs), I went over Dharla with a fine tooth comb. We’ve usually sees this happen in response to a tick bite or some other type of insect problem. However, we’ve always wondered if perhaps the hives could have been caused by something the horse ate? Given we’ve just started letting the horses have short, carefully timed grazing visits in our pasture, I had my suspicions that it might be related to that.
When I went out to feed the horses lunch Dharla was covered with lumps and bumps of all sizes. It was really quite alarming and I had to fight the urge to panic. Dharla didn’t seem the least bit bothered by her condition, so I took my cues from her. She was greatly interested in her hay and she wasn’t itchy or showing any signs of respiratory distress. I stood nearby and observed her for quite some time until I was certain she wasn’t in any sort of trouble, then I went and got my camera. While Beanie got hives on several different occasions, he never had them like this! Some of her bumps were twice the size of my palm, especially between her hind legs and in her lower chest area. Fortunately, her head seemed the least affected by the swelling. I think that would have pushed me over the edge.
By dinner time 3/4 of the bumps had vanished and/or were greatly reduced in size. I breathed a sigh of relief. The next day Dharla still had some areas of her body that had big patches of pea-size bumps, but nothing like the day before. I actually rode her that day, but we just did a leisurely walk down the Airline Trail. I was prepared to turn back at any point if the bumps grew at all in response to our exercise, but they didn’t. Today Dharla is almost 100% fine. I doubt we’ll ever know what caused her hives, but I did let her go down back and have a little more grass yesterday afternoon. So far, she’s good!