How do I keep my horse's black coat from looking like the cover of a hair band tribute album?
Many horses of all colors, and especially black horses, will show some signs of sun bleaching. The most common areas for this are where the sweat accumulates - such as the saddle area and around the face in an oh, so flattering outline of the bridle. The degree of bleaching is determined first by genetics. Then you can add in a multitude of other factors, such as diet, mineral supplementation, and exposure to the sun.
Here are a few tips to preventing sun bleaching as best you can.
First things first, check with your Equine Nutritionist and/or Veterinarian to be sure your horse’s diet is well balanced, especially with minerals linked to hair coat, like Copper. Here's what our friends at Kentucky Performance Products can tell us about hair coat and how it relates to diet:
"Even horses consuming enough energy to maintain appropriate weight can be missing the vitamins, minerals, fats, and proteins needed to support a shiny hair coat and healthy mane and tail. 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.
Once you have a balanced diet, you can focus on some of the daily preventative measures.
-When you horse is sweaty, rinse the sweat and if possible, allow to totally dry before exposure to the sun.
-I also love the very thin and very inexpensive fly sheets!! They are light, airy, repel flies, and help prevent bleaching! A fly mask will help also with the bridle areas.
-Shapley's makes a super nifty EquiTone shampoo for dark bay and black horses. (YIPPEE!!)
-If you can, do your turnouts at night.
-You can use some “sunscreen products”. There are great, all natural products out there that can help you!