COVER DISCOMFORT I have an interesting problem for your experts! When I have a cover on my pony, he acts as though he is very uncomfortable, and doesn’t walk straight. If he walks under a tree, or next to a gate for instance, he does everything possible t
Vet Dave replies:
Although there is absolutely no data on this subject with regards to horses, this clinical picture sounds remarkably like some of the children that my partner treats in her occupational therapy practice. These children will present often only wanting to wear one set of clothes, and would rather go naked than wear a different outfit – the one set being seen as safe and not evoking any undesirable stimuli. They are hypersensitive to touch and what a neurotypic person would consider as light pressure, these individuals find uncomfortable and sometimes even painful – so much so that it can evoke a fight or flight response.
In essence, the receptors in their skin are over interpreting the signals they are receiving.
As with many of these neurological conditions there is a sliding scale on which an individual can be, rather than just an on or off type condition.
The plus side is that treatment of these individuals is relatively simple and cheap, though requiring a regular and consistent time input from the carer into a daily routine. This involves regular (daily and sometimes multiple times a day) episodes of heavy work and regular light brushing of the skin to desensitise the receptors to touch.
For a horse, I would advise regular grooming sessions starting with a light brushing and working your way up through the session to firmer brushing to