For the past few years it seems that "fire season" comes earlier, stays longer and is getting worse every year. I am often asked "what do I do to keep my horses from developing upper respiratory problems when the AQI (air quality index) is so high?"
First and foremost is I do not exercise my herd when the AQI is above 100 and I will hold off on any activity if the AQI has remained high for multiple days in a row. I will give them about 5-7 days of breathing clean air before asking them to exert themselves.
Below is a link to a great article written by UC Davis regarding guidelines for horses exposed to wildfire smoke.
I use two specific natural products that are designed to support a healthy respiratory system. One is called Freeway, which is a blend of herbs and made by Hilton Herbs. I prefer the dry herb formula over the liquid formula, because all of my horses will willingly eat them from my hand or in their daily supplements.
I first discovered Hilton Herbs about 12 years ago when my horse; Gino developed seasonal heaves. I would use essential oils on him but he quickly grew tired of me apply them between his nostrils every day.
He is a horse who suffers from severe PTSD and I did not want to under mind the trust that I had created with him. So I set out to find another option and that's when I discovered Hilton Herbs.
I have used many of their products over the years and they are all wonderful and truly help in my efforts of keeping my horses happy and healthy.
During fire season when the smoke gets bad enough to raise the AQI to above 100, I put all 12 of my horses on Freeway and will continue to give it to them daily until until the smoke subsides.
Now this past month we have had smoke almost every day and at time the AQI has remained in the 100s to 300s for days in a row. At time like this, I will continue to give them their daily herbs until the smoke subsides and than for an additional week beyond.
The other thing I will do for Gino and any of the other horses that begin to have a cough or nasal discharge is I will add Revive Breathe Easy essential oil to the regimen.
The way that I do this is I will go to the pet store and purchase some rope dog toys that have a tennis ball connected to them. Then I will apply about 10 drops of the Breathe Easy to the tennis ball and hang it from the ceiling inside their shelters. So every time they are in there they are getting some aroma therapy to help support their respiratory system.
I hope that this is helpful for any of you that are experiencing challenges with your horses or just want to be able to be proactive during the fire season in your area.
Please remember this is not medical advice, nor is it intended to replace any advice your veterinarian has given you for your horses medical conditions and needs.
This is simply one horsewoman sharing what I have found to be helpful in supporting my horses through the fire and smoke season.
Here are the links to the two product that I have shared with you:
Hilton Herbs Freeway
Breathe Easy EO, Rivive Essential Oils
Knowledge is Power Educational Articles
Guidelines for horses exposed to wildfire smoke
Protecting Horses from Wild Fire Air Pollution