A HORSE stabled in Flackwell Heath suffers from an almost unheard of allergy to grass.

Pandora, a five-year-old thoroughbred, is now only allowed out when she is covered from head to hoof in high-tech fibres to protect her, as one blade touching her will trigger a reaction.

Her owner, Emily Pearce, 24, has invested hundreds of pounds in the protection, which includes a mask which completely covers the horses face.

She said: “It costs a lot of money to get things like this sorted out. I wasn't sure what was out there that could help her, and I was worried about what sort of future she would have.

“There is no treatment, so the only thing we can do is to put these rugs on her, but other than that there's not a lot we can do it's really frustrating.

“I can now only ride her in the early morning or late evenings in he summer, as the grass pollen irritates her and makes her really bad.”

The problem first came to light when Pandora started to develop a large itchy lump under her belly last summer.

At first Miss Pearce, a veterinary nurse from Henley, treated her with a steroid injection, but when that did not work Pandora was subjected to a host of allergy tests, which diagnosed the almost unheard of problem.

Miss Pearce added: “It was really shocked when we found out as I have been around horses all my life and never seen anything like this.

“The vet we took her to, who is an allergy specialist for equines, said he has only seen two other horses with a grass allergy and neither of them were as severe as this.”

Now Pandora gets 12 antihistamines a day in her food, which is a blend of sugar beet chaff and soya oil.