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NewGFMom

Celiac Horseback Riding?

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Hi Everybody,

Haven't posted in a while. Looks like child #2 may be celiac as well and I'm really sad. She loves food and it was fun while it lasted...

She's been interested in horses lately and I want to take her for riding lessons this summer. Just a little worried about the enviornment in a barn if the horses are eating wheat based products and slobbering over her. We work so hard to have our house gluten free to avoid CC. But a barn is a whole 'nuther ball o' wax. She's not quite 4 and her hands are in her mouth from time to time.

Any celiac riders out there? What precautions do you take, if any?

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could you call ahead and ask what they feed the horses?

I can't imagine how difficult this would be with children. I'm an adult and can't get my husband to understand why I want to change the dog's food! He thinks I'm over-reacting. But she slobbers all over me. Gotta love Saint Bernards. ;)

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There's wheat in most horse feed. Barley too. It's kind of a given... What do you do??

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There's wheat in most horse feed. Barley too. It's kind of a given... What do you do??

EDIT::::

Ok really new to this I was under the impression gluten / wheat is only a problem when you eat it?

I horse ride ....will I have to stop???

This is all so very very overwhelming and scary!!!

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I've been riding horses all my life and work with them daily, never had a problem. If the horses are fed grain there is most likely gluten in it, but the only way that should be a problem is if the horse goobers on her and then she somehow gets it in her mouth...just get her to wash should her horse goober all over her..wear gloves when cleaning water and feed buckets, as well as if she has to feed. If she is just taking lessons and isn't involved in the care side of things it shuoldn't be a problem at all.

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I've been riding my whole life too, and teaching lessons since forever. Inevitably, some idiot ten year olds will decide they want to see what horse feed tastes like. Make sure she knows horse feed has gluten in it so she knows why she has to wash up regularly and can't participate in the group horse-feed-tasting challenge. :)

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Do the usual routine. When you're done at the barn, put the clothes you had on in the laundry, and wash your hands. You may want to hop in the shower, if you're ultra sensitive. In fact, you can carry a grooming bucket with you in the car with a brush, curry, hoof pick, and a baby shampoo pump dispenser, and use a hose to wash your hands before leaving the barn and getting into the car. On a hot day, I'll turn the hose on my hair to rinse it- it feels good when the temperature is over a 100 degrees.

I have allergies to some hay and have had horses for 25 years. I took all my own horses off of ALL wheat products several years ago- I have 2 which have developed a barley and soy allergy, plus they tend to share food with the dogs and that meant the one dog kept getting it, which was worse. The side effect was that this made my one horse much, much calmer to be off of it. A real plus.

I've had to feed foals milk replacer that wasn't gluten free. Just keep up the usual hand washing routine and you'll be fine.

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My daughter has been taking lessons for a little while now. She is not involved in the feeding process but she does give horse treats at the end of her lesson. We don't necessarily make sure they are gluten free but they could be by choosing carrots, apples, or peppermints (which we do sometimes). She knows not to stick her hands in her mouth but you could use riding gloves if you think this may be a problem - that would "remind" her. We wash up and change clothes immediately when we get home. Shoes stay out in the garage. We would be doing this anyway . . . horse barns aren't the cleanest places in the world and my daughter doesn't necessarily watch where she's walking :P

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Thanks everybody. I'm pretty sure we can work around it. But I just wanted some affirmation that it's not that big of a deal.

-Margaret

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It's definitely doable. The hardest time I had was with grooming because of all the dust/dirt. I just kept my mouth closed and wore gloves. When I was done grooming and riding, I took the gloves off. I never had a problem. Just make sure she understands it's really important not to put her hands in her mouth and to wash them after.

Riding is FUN!

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Usually the wheat mash is a treat or used as a supplement and most people add water to it so it's not really flying around dry all over the place. You can see if it got on the ground near where you are grooming the horse and wash it away from the mats beforehand.

I wouldn't let that stop her from riding.

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I breed, raise, train and show horses and I've never had a problem dealing with any of the feeds, etc. that I'm constantly in contact with. I've even used barley straw to bed down some of the broodmares in the past (currently using oat straw)and even with all of that dust flying around...nada.

Oats and corn are probably the most prevalent ingredients in the majority of horse feeds. Bran mashes are still used, although infrequently, mostly in Hunter/Jumper barns but have pretty much become an "old-timers feed". They can be time consuming to make as they have to be properly steamed before feeding, so most of today's modern, time-pressed horseman don't feed them. It's just so much easier to pop a "horse cookie" or sugar cube out of a box, a peppermint Starlight candy out of it's plastic wrapper or a carrot from a bag.

I feed pelleted feeds for several reasons: 1.) the softer pellets are easier for horses, young or old, to chew. 2.) pelleted feeds don't mold in hot weather and freeze into blocks in cold weather the way molasses/sweet/textured (or whatever your region calls them) feeds. 3.) pelleted feeds have very little dust to fly around. 4.) you get a consistent nutrient content from bag to bag with pellets. 5.) I use an alfalfa-based, high oil feed for excellent nutrition, strong feet, good weight gain & growth, glossy coats...and less exposure on my part to any gluten-containing grains.

Since it sounds as though you'll be dealing with a boarding/lesson stable and won't have control over these sorts of things, I would have to agree with the others. There's probably no reason to curtail your child's horse activities due to gluten fears. As a student, she's probably not going to be helping with feeding or handling grain rations and I'm certain that if you discuss the issue with the instructor, they'd do what they can to prevent problems. Remember, students are their paycheck so reputable instructors will do what they can to accommodate & keep people coming back...as long as the requests are approached with respect. You also need to be aware that the instructor is probably new to this, as well, so they'll need some latitude on your part for some initial slip-ups. You'll gain extra points with the instructor, too, if you realize their job is to teach, not babysit, and stick around during barn time to be your child's reminder to keep her hands from her mouth and to wash up as needed.

Also, a barn is an inherently dirty place, so you'd have to talk with your child about keeping her hands out of her mouth, anyway. To make certain you're doing everything you can, buy her a small grooming tote at a local tack shop and the two of you can make a mother-daughter project out of making her a "Barn Survival Kit". Tucked inside can be things like a pack of celiac disease-friendly baby wipes, gel hand cleanser, a bottle of water, a few gluten-free snacks she can munch if she gets hungry and any other items you think might be helpful in case she gets soiled. If you want to go a bit larger, you can even put a change of clothes in there should she get something on her. In order to make the bag "special" and fun, instead of just one more celiac disease-induced restriction, you could get her to customize it by decorating it with puff-paints, sequins, rhinestones, jewels or whatever or by simply helping her to stencil the names of her favorite lesson horses on it. It wouldn't surprise me if the other girls in the barn would soon be showing up with their own Barn Survival Kits and your daughter could take pride in setting a trend!

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