Spring is here and, if you decided not to clip and blanket your horse this winter, you are now looking at a mess no horse owner relishes: shedding out your horse’s furry coat! Don’t worry there are a few things that you can do to help your horse shed out from a hairy beast into a sleek show horse.
First of all, remember that spring grooming is very important to your horse’s health. A good year-round grooming regime removes dirt and mud, where bacteria, insects, and pathogens can hide. Grooming helps to distribute natural skin oils and increase circulation. It also allows you to spot injuries, insect bites, and external parasites that you need to take care of.
You can certainly take the traditional approach with elbow grease and a good set of grooming tools. Rubber curries work the best for loosening the hair on the body, neck, and hindquarters. You should use very soft curries on the face, legs, and shoulders. Then, grab a body brush with medium stiffness and sweep away last year’s fluff. Repeat this every day and your horse will have a beautiful sleek coat in a few short weeks.
There are a few other tools that you may wish to add to your grooming tote this year as well. Metal curries and shedding blades are good tools to use for horses with heavy coats covered in mud and dirt but be careful not to use them on the sensitive, bony parts of the body. Grooming vacuums are popular and work very well. They are fairly expensive and might require some training to get your horse used to the sound. Grooming blocks are an economical tool that will leave your horse’s coat slicker and shinier than grooming with a curry. Use clippers to remove the longer hair from under the chin and on the legs for an even cleaner look.
Exercise is a great way to speed up the shedding process as well. It stimulates circulation and coat health. It’s also a great opportunity to give your horse a bath, weather permitting of course. Use a conditioning shampoo to prevent the hair from drying out.
You can also help your horse shed his coat from the inside out. Be sure your deworming program is up to date and on schedule. Parasites can affect hair coat and quality. One of the most important ways you can influence your horse’s coat health is with proper nutrition. As your horse begins to shed out their coat, it is the ideal time to include an all-in-one supplement trace mineral, omega 3 and omega 6, amino acid, and vitamin supplement to promote a healthy summer coat. These tips will help keep your horse beautiful and in top condition no matter the season.
Shedding season is certainly a messy time around the barn. Use an old shirt while you are grooming to protect your nice riding clothes from all the hair. And be sure to wait to put on lip balm until AFTER you are finished grooming. Hair will stick to that like glue!
Spring is an exciting time at any barn. With these tips your horse will have a healthy, shiny coat just in time for you to hit the spring show circuit or the riding trail. Happy grooming!