I’ve been riding Dressy for for maybe the last ten days off an on. Because I’m feeling very paranoid, we’ve been taking it easy and doing a lot of slow rambles with frequent grazing breaks. And she’s been feeling wonderful. She’s perky and cheerful, and her heart rates have been quite low. So I was getting pretty confident about her return to good health. However, I hadn’t actually worked her hard enough to break a sweat, and hadn’t ridden her in the heat.
Yesterday we went out and I had Dressy trot some hills. Nothing crazy. Just a bit of harder work here and there. She was quite well behaved, despite an inept golfer from next door who shot his ball into the tree above our heads as we passed by, resulting in a supersonic right turn and bolt. Can’t say I blamed the mare, since I almost spooked myself off her when that ball cracked into the tree.
But after a while, Dressy really lost steam and I suddenly realized with some horror that, again (or maybe “still”) Dressy was not sweating. Argh. Anhidrosis. It was quite hot out, and she was panting and hot. But not a drop of sweat. I walked her back to the barn and pulled her tack. Sure enough, she was dry even under the saddle. This is exactly what happened the day her heart went into atrial fibrillation. Though I was obviously a lot more vigilant and caught it sooner this time. I checked her heart, but it was fine. She was just really hot and panting like a dog.
There are a whole lot of things that people have tried for anhidrosis in horses. ‘One AC’ is a supplement that works for some horses. Extra electrolytes works for some (Dressy already gets those). Acupuncture. Equiwinner patches. Moving the horse to a colder climate. Misting fans. Air conditioning. And Guinness… the beer from Ireland.
Since it’s the weekend, and I already have a huge pile of vet bills from last month. I really did not want to call my vet. I just got her cooled down and turned her back out to hang around in the run in shelter. This morning, when I got home from work I checked up on her. It is HOT out today and very humid. She was standing in the shelter, completely dry. But panting and hot to the touch. Her heart still sounded normal thank goodness. So at least she hasn’t reverted to A-Fib.
The only immediate treatment I could figure out was the Guinness… I went directly to the beer store and bought a case for her. She thought it smelled odd, but after I poured it over her TriMax and roughage chunks, she nibbled it a bit and considered. Then gobbled it all up. Apparently Dressy likes Guinness.
I went in and had some lunch and a cup of tea. Then went back out to the barn and put her on the cross ties to sponge her off. And had a look at her. Holy cow! She was popping patches of sweat behind her elbows, on her chest, and on her neck. Hallelujah! That’s actually the first sweat I’ve seen on her since the end of April.
I really was not expecting the Guinness to work. I just did it because I needed to feel like I was doing SOMETHING. And I sure did not expect it to work in an hour. I was really thinking that slight improvement over a few days was the best I could expect.
We will have to see how she does in the next little while. I have no idea if people keep horses on the Guinness or if you just use it to get the sweating started again. Hopefully I won’t have to give it to her all the time, because Guinness is not cheap. She has expensive tastes, that mare.
She probably ought to belong to Chrystal. The two of them could hang out after rides sharing a beer…