Breathing – how often do you think about it? Maybe if a sigh startles me with its volume or I find myself short of breath, but otherwise, it’s never really on my mind. Now, that sentiment is different when it comes to my horse. I am an eventer, my “upper level” (hey, preliminary level counts!) horse often has a bit of a wheeze to his canters. I’ve been assured by trainers and vets that it’s nothing, but you can bet that I watch his breathing and fitness like a hawk. Because of this, lung health is very important to me as a horse mom.
There was a long stretch of time where I really wasn’t sure what I could to do help him aside from physically preparing him to compete the best I could. I’m not really sure what was my lightbulb moment or how it happened, but I discovered there was a way I could help him out a bit more. That was the start of us using Flair Strips during his weekly gallops and for cross country phase at events. Since that day, I’ve noticed that I’ve been riding a healthier, happier horse who cools down much easier after a strenuous workout.
What are Flair Strips you might ask? They’re adhesive strips that go on your horse’s nose and help open up his nasal air passages. This helps improve the airflow to your horse’s lungs, helping them not only during their workout, but also with the recovery after it. I’ll spare you the technicality of it, because I’m certainly no vet, but you can learn more about the science behind it by visiting their website.
These beautiful little strips come in individual packs and also in packs of six. The easiest colors to find are black and white, but they do have some other fun colors available such as pink and turquoise.
There is a “find” section on their website to locate retailers, or if you’re anything like me, a quick Google search will suffice in finding whichever color you’re looking for! I typically alternate between black and white, typically going with the sleek, minimalistic looking black on my cute bay geldings.
Now, when it comes to putting them on, it may take a little practice! The first time I put these on my horse Donnie he was extremely offended that I smacked (aka firmly placed) something on his nose. Following the first time, he’s grown very accustomed to wearing (and loving) his flair strips. Sometimes I think he’s intentionally quiet with his head when it’s time to put them on…though maybe that’s wishful thinking! As suggested by the instructions, I typically leave my Flair Strip on for about a half hour after their workout, to help them breathe easier during their recovery. When it’s time to take it off, I simply remove it like I would a Band Aid and toss it in the trash. Easy!
At this point, it’s hard to believe that I ever competed or galloped Donnie without them. Every year I notice his breathing more and more. Maybe I’m becoming wiser with age or we both are simply getting older and not as athletic. Either way, it is without a doubt that using Flair Strips to help open up his airways has made a radical difference in his breathing while being ridden and especially in his recovery post-ride. It’s kind of like coffee – you can’t really understand how you ever existed before using it. And just like coffee, it’s become a regular staple in my life. At this point, I’m pretty much buying them in bulk for the summer!