Reducing horse allergens
If you are the type of person that loves being around horses but are also allergic it's very important to be aware that horses are one of the most allergenic animals. Almost everything associated with horses can cause allergies such as their hair, sweat, manure; the grains and hay they eat; the mold that grows on damp stables, barns and hay; and even the saddles, harnesses and bridles they use. Because of this factor, the best advice for allergic people is to avoid doing the grooming on their horses themselves. Have someone that is not allergic do these types of jobs. Avoid spending time in the barns and stables and ask someone else to tack down the horse for you. Clean off the tacks after you have ridden the horse and most importantly wash yourself off completely after riding the horse and change your clothes completely immediately afterwards. It's also very important to not take any riding clothing such as boots etc inside your home.
Minimizing horse allergens: If you are sensitive to allergens, the ideal is to avoid altogether grooming and cleaning your horse and the barn or stable. However, if this is not possible, you will need to take the necessary precautions to save yourself from problems. The best way to reduce allergens is by maintaining everything as clean as possible; this means both the horse and barn. When cleaning, make sure to wear rubber gloves, a facemask, and goggles. This will help to avoid you coming into contact with dust and dander. This attire should be worn before grooming, tacking, or cleaning the barn or stable. You should also put on your helmet or a scarf on your head before cleaning and riding to prevent the allergens from accumulating on your hair and then getting into your home.
Horses shed their winter coats in spring, so it is a good idea to brush the horse everyday. The best place to brush your horse is outside in open air, not inside the barn or stable. Use a stiff bristle brush or a rubber currycomb to brush your horse's hair. Groom by starting at the top of the horse's neck and work your way down to the body. Brush with circular movements so as to loosen all the dead hair, dander, dust, and dirt, etc. To clean the horse's feet, pick up each foot and use a hoof pick to get rid of any mud, then use a stiff bristle brush to clean the soles and to get rid of anything that might have gotten caught in them. There are also special vacuum cleaners for horses. These are very convenient especially for people who are trying to avoid coming into contact with allergens because they help to avoid the dust and dander from becoming airborne. Start out by first brushing the horse with a currycomb to loosen all the dead hair and dander from it's coat and then simply turn on the vacuum and hold the nozzle close to the horse's body to lift the dander and dust. Another option is to use a stiff bristle brush brushing in the direction of the hair to remove and loosen all the dirt and use a medium bristle brush to smooth down the hair. (Don't use these brushes on the horse's face though). Use a man and tail comb to brush the mane and tail (the best ones are those with wide teeth to avoid breaking the hair). There are also detangling products that are helpful to help brush out the mane and these can be used once or twice a week. Wipe off the coat with a towel when done to bring out the shine in the hair.
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