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Healthy Horse, Healthy Hair

Whoever said beauty is only skin deep obviously wasn’t speaking of horses. The glow from a healthy horse’s coat does, in fact, radiate from within. So, if your horse is looking less than lustrous, consider some beauty-enhancing management changes.
pretty horse with healthy coat

General health. If a depressed appetite or lethargic behavior accompanies a dull coat, it’s a good bet something other than a lack of grooming is bothering your horse. Consult with your veterinarian. Your horse may have parasites, allergies, an infection or other ills.

Diet. Balanced rations comprised of quality feeds and forage are the best shine enhancers for horses. A supplemental drizzle of oil (corn, linseed, soybean or canola) on the grain ration can help increase coat glossiness, as can biotin, a B-complex vitamin.

Balanced rations comprised of quality feeds and forage are the best shine enhancers for horses.

Grooming. Shampooing not only removes the grime from a horse’s coat, it also strips the natural oil, called sebum, that supplies the built-in shine. Hold off on repeated washings in the spring, and vigorously hand groom your horse each day to remove dirt and redistribute sebum.

Clipping. Body clipping also shortcuts the shine for a few weeks, as light doesn’t reflect off the blunt ends of cut hairs. Instead of clipping, speed shedding naturally using a currycomb and elbow grease.

Turnout. The fresh air and activity of outdoor living will not only improve your horse’s overall health and attitude, but perk up his coat as well. The sun and bugs may damage the hair somewhat, but rolls in the grass are nature’s best coat buffers.


Reprinted with permission from Horse Care Tips from A to Z (An Equus Reference Guide), the Farnam Peace of Mind Edition, page 16, ©2000 Primedia Enthusiast Publications, Inc. d/b/a Primedia Equine Group. ISBN 1-929164-03-3

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