Get Your Horses Shine On
 By Saferaphus   •   7th Oct 2016   •   814 views   •   0 comments

Who doesnít admire a shining coat on a horse? But horses need a little help to keep their coats and manes in top notch condition. Without a few fundamentals and a bit of extra help, the hair can look dry and dull. Hereís how to keep a horseís coat looking its best.

A horseís health shines through its coat. Good pasture or hay are often enough to provide the best nutrition for most horses. Many people like to add a little extra something to add shine to their horseís coat. One of the most popular additions is oil. There are lots of different choices and they are usually offered on top of concentrates such as oats or sweet feed. Bran, sunflower, flax, corn, soy and even fish oils are popular choices. Essential fatty acids in the oils help the horse produce the oil that makes the coat shine. Care has to be taken when feeding oils that the ratio of types of fats is balanced. The easiest way to get a healthy ration is to buy a mix made for horses, rather than trying to balance oils bought from the grocery store.

Related: Tips for a Long Flowing Mane
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Some people swear by adding paprika to their horseís feed to enhance the color. Itís thought to prevent blacks from fading and keep chestnuts fiery red. Although the spice itself is red, the color might not be the important element. Rather, paprika contains copper, which can be deficient in many pastures and hays, and this can result in dry looking coats. Paprika contains elements that can show up positive in drug tests,can irritate ulcers and cause mineral imbalances so itís probably wiser to feed a good mineral supplement. Zinc is another important mineral for coat health and color, so any supplements should contain a good balance of this mineral too.

We often hear about biotin supplements being used for hoof health. But, healthy hair requires biotin as well. Biotin helps build the proteins that make strong hair and hooves. If your horse has punky hooves and a coat you canít make like flat, biotin may help.

A good grooming removes dirt and brings skin oils out to the hairs in the coat and mane. Grooming sprays can help add sparkle. A bath can remove deep down dirt and bad stains, but donít overdo baths since they can dry both skin and hair.

Sun Protection
You might notice that your horseís hair is richly colored and silky smooth in the spring after its winter coat is shed but becomes bleached out and coarse as the summer wears on. This is because the hair becomes sun bleached. Many show horses are kept in during the day and turned out only at night. An alternative is to keep a sun sheet on the horse during the sunniest hours. The horse has to be kept covered head to tail, though, to prevent it from being bleached in patches just like you get a farmerís tan in a tank top. Some grooming products have sunscreen, but these have to be applied generously and reapplied often. For horses with sensitive skin, these sprays can be irritating.

If you really want to revive the color of your horseís sunbleached coat there are dyes made specifically for horses. Using chemicals, henna, or dyes made for humans can be very irritating for a horseís skin. Whatever you use on your horseís coat, make sure itís made for horses.
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