It’s most likely to flare up when you’re just starting your
ride, or giving your horse a rest between exercises. You're working to get your horse
relaxed and moving forward.
Suddenly, he stops. He pulls the reins out of your hands and
desperately rubs his face on his cannon bone. I hate to tell you, but these are the symptoms of SIS, or Sudden Itch Syndrome.
So, knowing how bad an itch can be, you let your horse
scratch. He stops. Now you proceed with what you were trying to do. Your horse
may move forward for a few steps, and then, when you aren’t paying attention
(or even if you are), that itch is back! Your horse suddenly stops and really,
really scratches hard this time.
Is it the leg that itches? The face? The noseband? The lazy
Most likely, it’s the lazy bone. You can tell because it’s
just so darn itchy, no matter how much it’s scratched. And no sooner does it
receive a good scratching than your horse needs to stop and scratch again.
If your horse has SIS, you’ll have to figure out just how
much scratching is allowed. I give my mare one good lazy-bone scratching at the
beginning of our ride, and one at the end.
You’ll have to make your own decisions about what’s best for you and your horse. But you have to do something, because Sudden Itch Syndrome only gets worse over time.