How can I help my horse's dull coat and dry skin that he gets in winter, or summer, for that matter?
Well, there are lots of reasons why this happens, and lots of solutions for dry skin and a dull coat. Let's tackle reasons first.
- Mud, rain, weather, wind, rolling, dry air. The elements create layers of dirt and gunk on your horse that will make him appear dull and dry.
- Nutrition plays a role. Diets missing key nutrients, especially Omega Fatty Acids, will often be dry and brittle looking.
- Are you up to date on health issues (teeth, worming, etc?). Horses with worm infestations are depleted of nutrients and carry a physical blockage (the worms themselves) to good health. Teeth in need of care are unable to properly chew and start the digestion process. Bring your Veterinarian out for a visit to do a fecal egg count and also check on those chompers.
- Did you clip your horse? Clipped hairs are not tapered at the ends like regular hairs, so a clipped coat won't be as smooth. Using conditioners, Light Oils, and other grooming products in addition to elbow grease will help.
- Blankets or fly sheets - While certainly necessary in some circumstances, blankets flatten hairs and can create rub marks. This can contribute to a duller appearance!
What can you do? Well, this is a situtation to tackle from the inside and the outside.
Comet's fuzzy winter hairs makes him a bit dull looking.
Let's chat about the inside things we can do to shine up your horse's hair coat!
- You may consider adding some supplements into his diet, or even adjusting his rations and hay intake. Our great friends at Kentucky Performance Products shared their knowledge, and this is what they say:
"Certain nutrients, such as omega fatty acids; the trace minerals zinc, copper and iodine; the essential amino acids lysine and methionine (found in high quality proteins) and the B vitamin biotin, must be present in the correct amounts in a horse’s diet or skin, hooves, and hair will suffer. Getting the right balance is key, more is not always better. Take selenium for instance. This trace mineral must be properly balanced in the diet, too much selenium can cause toxicity which leads to hair loss in the mane and tail, among other symptoms."
Chat with your Veterinarian or Equine Nutritionist to find what is right for your horse in terms of supplements. (Definitely find one with great Omega 3's.)
OK - let's tackle the outside of the horse. This is where you and your elbow grease come in.
- Mud and other dusty dirty winter (or summer) things dull a coat super fast. If you have a vacuum, this is a great tool to use. I like to use it after a very deep curry, seems to get more dirt out that way.
- Find a nice grooming spray that you like. Often, they work really well if you spritz your rag or brush and then apply. I like this method in winter, otherwise the longer hairs tend to soak in the spray and you end up with oily dots. You will keep your brushes nice, and your horse gets some sheen added.
- Make and use a wisp. This is totally "old school", but what a party trick! These wisps are also "shine makers". You can find directions to make one here.
That should take care it!! Work from the inside out to give your horse the nutrition to make his own oils, and then work from the outside in to massage those oils out!