Riding with Allergies - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-25-2015, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Alberta
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Riding with Allergies

Recently my boyfriend surprised me with the most romantic thing a man can do for his horse-crazy gal: he signed up for riding lessons.

Oh. My. Gosh.

Okay, now that I've had my time to fangirl, I begin wondering why exactly he wants to take lessons. He is moderately interested in riding (just doesn't know if he will be interested in the long term, but he says he won't know until he tries!) and loves coming out to the barn with me -- except for one dreaded issue....

He has allergies. And they're bad.

Whether it is to horses, hay, dirt, or whatever else could be lurking at the farm, he is usually a snotty mess by half an hour in. Sneezing, runny nose, red eyes... He's got it all except for rashes! He's a really optmistic person, and reassures me that exposure is how he got over his allergies to cats. I think he forgets though that that process took over 10 years!

He wants to do this, but I am worried his allergies are going to ruin this experience for him. His lessons are an hour long!

Do any of you have, or have had, moderately severe allergies to horses/related farm stuff? Do you still ride? What helps, if anything, both while riding and afterwards? I have no allergies myself so am no help to him, but I want to help him make this experience as awesome for him as possible. I will always own horses, so as long as he is with me he is going to be around them anyway.

I'm sure he would appreciate any light at the end of a long tunnel.
BreezylBeezyl is offline  
post #2 of 9 Old 02-25-2015, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Oregon
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my allergies send me to the ER 2-4 times a year. I am not allergic to horses, but grass gets me and molds send me into anaphylactic shock. I take my Claritin, carry an epi-pen, and enjoy my ride. There are days that I do have to pass but they are rare. I hope he can find a medication that works for him.

good luck
sorral3 is offline  
post #3 of 9 Old 02-25-2015, 07:33 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Kansas, USA
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I'm always sniffling and blowing my nose a dozen times after a riding lesson. I've been taking an allergy pill the morning of my lesson and it seems to work. Have him take an allergy pill at least an hour before the lesson, so it has time to kick in and start working.

Keep going, keep moving forward. You'll get it together someday.
Roman is offline  
post #4 of 9 Old 02-26-2015, 03:13 PM
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Snohomish, WA
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Congratulations on having one of the best boyfriends ever! ;)

I am allergic to horses (and dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, and probably everything with fur!) and it can trigger my asthma. I have a horse and live with four cats, so my body doesn't call the shots. ;)

I used to take Allegra when I rode occasionally, and it helped immensely with all of the symptoms. It was also important to avoid touching my eyes and to keep tissue handy at all times. I would shower/change as soon as I got home so I wouldn't keep being exposed to the allergens once I left. (If there's a particular allergy med that works well for him, or maybe something his doctor can prescribe, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have that on hand.)

Over time, I ran out of Allegra and it got worse for a while, but as the months went on, I became less and less reactive. I can now go see my horse, groom him, play with him, have him slobber all over me, and usually have nothing more to show for it than a little bit of a runny nose. With a new horse I'm more likely to have a reaction, but overall I have maybe 10% of the reaction I used to have.

The exposure thing worked the same way with my cats; upon introducing a new one into my household I was miserable for 6-8 weeks, then my body learned to deal with it.

In addition to all that, he can try riding outdoors instead of an enclosed space, not standing downwind while grooming, etc. to help limit his exposure to the really bad triggers. I'd definitely have plenty of tissue on hand, and if he ever has a chance of an anaphylactic reaction, be sure to have an Epi-Pen on hand!

I hope your boyfriend has a similar experience and enjoys riding. Good luck and have fun!
boosteddreams is offline  
post #5 of 9 Old 02-26-2015, 05:39 PM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Eastern Montana
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I have spent a good portion of my life with relatively severe allergies to all things outdoor and horse related. However, years of desensitization and taking routine allergy medicine such as allegra and claritin have made a huge difference. A big part of it is state of mind...I just decided that I wasn't going to react and that I was going to participate regardless. Some of allergies are psychosomatic and if you decide you are going to react you will. Also, you can have the reverse effect and keep them at bay to some extent as well...just by mindset. Either way, drug him up and the two of you have fun together! Horses are very emotional animals and can strengthen the bond of any relationship!!!!

Les Voorhis
Cowboy, Nature and Wildlife Photographer
LesandLily is offline  
post #6 of 9 Old 02-26-2015, 05:45 PM
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Idaho
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Loratadine. Allerclear. Kirkland brand as its cheaper It takes a few days to build up in ones system.

Ranitidine. Acid Reducer. Kirkland brand

The 2 of those together work well for our allergies
ChitChatChet is offline  
post #7 of 9 Old 02-27-2015, 12:05 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Southern Indiana
Posts: 8,787
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Allergy and allergy induced asthma sufferer here. Allergy meds and my trusty inhaler are my friends, spring shedding not so much. LOL It will help him to take his lessons in either the summer or winter.

R.I.P. JC 5/19/85 - 12/9/14. You made my life better.
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post #8 of 9 Old 02-27-2015, 12:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Kentucky
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Face masks are awesome especially come spring. I'm not ashamed of grooming in goggles or a mask.

Long sleeves. Even in summer, bring a lightweight long sleeve over shirt.

Wash hands and face often. Baby wipes are good to have handy.

Non drowsy allergy meds.
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post #9 of 9 Old 02-27-2015, 03:51 AM
Join Date: Mar 2012
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I used to wear a face mask when I went to lessons, and if I touched my face at all, I'd be dizzy, sneezing, wheezing, with puffy red eyes and a runny nose. It was horrible. I'd be jacked up on nasal sprays, anti-histamines, and the mask, and I'd still have a reaction every single time I'd be out there. Eventually, I complained enough to my mom (a nurse who wouldn't take us to the doctor unless we were dying XD) and she took me to see an allergist. Turns out, I'm basically allergic to outside. Trees, grass, pollen, dust, a lot of other fun things, and horses. The allergist told us that many people who come in thinking that they are allergic to horses are actually just allergic to their environment. Well, I just got the luck of the draw, I suppose.

I now take an anti-histamine and I get an allergy shot every two weeks. I've gone into anaphylactic shock twice, which isn't so bad compared to other people, but still kind of scary.

The allergy shots have been amazing. I used to have to come in twice a week, but now I've progressed to every other week. I can miss a day or two of the anti-histamine (Zyrtec) and still be okay. I also only need to use the nasal spray (Phlonase/Flonase, not sure on the spelling) every once in a while. The summer is still rough, and I still get reactions sometimes, but they are not nearly as horrible as before.

All that to say, pills and nasal sprays may not be enough for your boyfriend to feel comfortable outside with the horses. Granted, he may not need shots as badly because he might decide he doesn't want to continue with the lessons at some point, but his quality of life would still improve dramatically either way.

But if he isn't currently taking anything, he may not need shots at all. I would suggest having him talk to his doctor about trying some anti-histamines and possible a steroid nasal spray to help with inhalants. I used to take benadryl after every lesson, long before I started getting the shots, and I would make sure to shower as soon as I got home and change into something clean. Doing those things helped tremendously.

It's a good thing to not jump on the shots right away, partly because he may not need them, but also because they are expensive, even with good insurance. However, if he does end up requiring shots to make a noticeable improvement in his allergies, I can offer comfort as far as the shots themselves are concerned. The needle doesn't hurt, at ALL. The serum is what hurts, but it really just stings for a moment and then itches a little afterward. They inject the shot into the subcutaneous fat tissue. Sometimes I end up with a less experienced nurse/shot-giver-person (I'm not sure if they are nurses, since it isn't a hospital but an allergy clinic. I don't know what they are called there, or if there is a difference at all) and it hurts a little more, or they take a lot longer, but it's still not that bad. I'm definitely over my fear of needles. :)

This kind of turned into a ramble, but I hope I was able to give some useful information! I also hope that you and your boyfriend are able to find a solution to his allergies!
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