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Why Jim wears a onesie

Those that have visited us will notice that one of our horses seems to wears an all over body rug in summer. We affectionately term it his onesie, but what is it, and why is he wearing it?

Jim has a health condition known as "sweet itch". It is caused by an allergy to midge bites and results in him getting very itchy, causing him to rub his mane, tail and back when he is particularly bad.

The rug, made from a specially designed fabric, acts as a cover so the midges are much less able to get access to skin and bite him. This reduces the allergic load on his system and therefore how itchy he gets.

Clients that get to work with Jim are often invited to remove this cover for grooming. It requires skill and dexterity to do, as well as a strong trust-based relationship.

The same is true for reapplying the rug. To put the rug on and off requires a movement akin to putting on a t-shirt. Clients have to think through how best to get the rug over his head quickly so his sight isn't impeded and he feels safe and stay calm.

Jim is very gracious about his onesie. We get the feeling he understands it helps him, even if it isn't the nicest experience wearing one.

One day we hope that we can conquer his allergies so a rug isn't required. Until then, we find it also has a helpful duel purpose of making it much easier to tell which pony is Squirrel and which pony is Jim!!

Jim and Squirrel nose to nose, but can you tell who's who?

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