Shedding winter coats is a pain and can seem to last forever, but the payoff of a slick, sleek summer coat is well worth the time and effort it takes to remove all the dead winter hair. There are some things that can hasten the shedding process, like keeping horses in work. Horses that are exercised regularly shed out more quickly, most likely because of the additional blood flow to the skin exercise causes.
If a horse doesn't shed well, it could be indicative of a health issue, including Cushing's Disease or parasite loads. Horses that have worm infestations may have coats that turn a straw or rust color; this indicator is often seen in foals and older horses.
The following are important for equine nutrition:
- Fat. To get a sleek, shiny coat, moist skin and good immune defense, more fat is needed than what is in many commercial grains. Supplementation of 4 to 6 ounces of fat a day can keep coats healthy.
- Vitamin A. Found in hay and grass, vitamin A supplementation may be necessary if horses are grazing on pastures before the grass has come in or if they are eating hay that was baled more than a year before.
- Biotin. If a horse's coat is dry and flaky, adding biotin to his diet can alleviate this as well as improve hoof quality.
- Protein and amino acids. Winter hair may stick around if the horse is not receiving enough protein or specific amino acids. Poor quality hay will not have enough of either of these, so supplementation may be necessary.
Read more at EquiMed.
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