Spring is just around the corner – which usually means getting lost under a mountain of your horse’s loose hair. Make his coat transition a piece of cake with our top tips.
This time of year, you might find yourself wishing you’d just clipped your horse’s whole coat off. All it takes is a hint of warmer weather to fill the air with winter hairs – covering you, your clothes and your whole yard in the process.
Shedding season has its frustrations, but it’s important to remember that your horse’s coat plays a huge role in protecting his skin, keeping him warm and dry, and it can also give you a valuable insight into his wellbeing. A healthy horse has a beautiful, shiny coat because he has all the nutrients he requires to function – a dull, patchy or flaky coat might suggest he some kind of nutritional deficiency. Therefore, it pays to give the condition of his coat the attention it deserves and to do your bit to keep it looking and feeling its best. Here are five ways to help your horse shed his winter fluff and bring out the best in his summer coat.
1. Bath time
Bathing your horse is a great way to help him shed loose hair. However, if you’re worried about stripping the natural oils from his coat, try rubbing him over with a hot, damp cloth to dislodge some fluff and minimise any reducing of his waterproofing.
2. Go naked
When the weather’s warmed up, let your horse dislodge some of his winter hair himself by turning him out rugless. The shedding process can make horses feel itchy and although he might need a thorough groom after, he’ll appreciate the chance to have a roll and a scratch.
3. Supplement savvy
A shiny coat starts from within, and your horse requires protein, fats, minerals such as zinc and copper, and vitamins to grow healthy hair. Most of these can be found in general purpose feed supplements, while fats and proteins can be found in alfalfa or balancers. Oil is also a popular feed additive to promote coat health but it’s calorie-rich, so be mindful of how much you feed, especially if you’re watching your horse’s weight.
4. Worm-free zone
Internal parasites, such as worms, rob your horse of essential nutrients for optimum health, which can have a knock-on effect on his coat. Making sure he’s following a comprehensive worming plan will help mitigate this risk
5. Snug as a bug
Following a long grooming session or a full bath, your horse might appreciate a full-necked rain sheet to replace the waterproof coat oils lost in the process. Check out Bridleway’s rug range to find your horse’s perfect match.