How can I help my horse shed his winter coat? He is a wooly mammoth, and it seems to be taking forever!
There are a few things that you can do to help your horse out as he makes the transition from hairy beast into sleek show pony. These tips also apply to the end of summer shedding that comes along with shorter days and the growth of a new winter coat!
- Use the world famous elbow grease curry comb action. You may need to do this, flick off the hairs, then curry again. Some folks like to use a metal curry comb or a shedding blade, and those can be fine in some cases, and they can cause breakage in some cases. I would also suggest not using them over any part of your horse's hips, spine, shoulders, legs, etc where the skin covers bone.
- Invest in grooming gloves, like the ones from Hands On. Great to use all year long, you can spend half the time by using both hands to groom your hores.
These nubby gloves work wonders for the shedding horse - and they keep your hands clean.
- Make sure your deworming program is up to date. Pararsites affect hair coat and quality. You can now pair a fecal egg count program with targeted dewormers for a more specific worm treatment plan.
- Since the amount of daylight triggers shedding, make outside time available if possible for as long as possible.
Shedding blades can be good, or they can break and damage the hair. Lots of options for every type of horse winter coat!
- Consider adding canola oil to your horse's diet. Dr. Clair from Equine Summit Nutrition reminds us that other oils can be too high in Omega 6, which promote inflammation. Canola is a good choice.
- Use a grooming oil on a washcloth or rag to wipe over your shedding horse. This adds shine and picks up hair from your horse without letting the wind catch it.
- Use clippers to trim those wacky hairs around joints, ears, chins, and fetlocks. For more on clipping the edges to make your horse look civilized, read this. And yes, you can, body clip a shedding horse. It seems weird, but it works for some horses to make them more comfortable as the days get longer!
- Exercise your horse! This will stimulate circulation and coat health. You will also find that you will need to brush off some hair from your tack, I use a stiff nylon grooming brush.
- Marry your vacuum. This will help.
- You may consider using an old shirt to cover your clothes as the shedding process peaks, there is typically a ton of hair to remove. And for pete's sake, don't wear lipstick. Hair loves to glue to that!!
You can clip the shedding horse!
What types of shedding tips do you have?