Horse Guard's Guide to Spring Shedding
The grass is greening up, birds are chirping, the days are lengthening, and itch-inducing pieces of hair are everywhere. Spring, a very magical time that also brings on shedding season. Check out these tips to help you survive the shedding season and get your horse's coat looking happy and healthy!
The best way to help your horse quickly shed its winter fuzz is to put in the work with proper tools. Giving your horse an all-over grooming with a rubber curry comb or shedding tool, like the Striphair helps to loosen the hair and make it easier to shed. This will also increase natural oils in your horse’s coat to help emphasize that HG shine! While this method takes the most effort, after a long winter your horse will surely enjoy the spa day! Avoid wearing fleece or you may end up wearing your horse’s winter coat!
Time it right!
Get out and enjoy the weather with a nice ride while also helping your horse shed out! By working your horse, you are stimulating the skin and coat which in turn helps loosen hair! Plus, after a workout, you will have an easier time currying the loose hair off compared to if you just groomed your horse before you worked them.
Expedite the Process
Skip shedding season altogether by clipping your horse. This is best for the horse’s going straight into show season and need to be easier to clean. However, if you still get cold spring weather you may need to blanket since your horse will no longer be able to warm themselves efficiently.
Oil on a cloth
Grooming oil, such as Shapelys or a similar brand, can help pull dead hair off, dirt, and debris while leaving your horse shiny. While not the quickest method, it can be helpful for anyone planning to show this time of year!
Bathing your horse will help loosen the hair and remove any dead skin. Make sure you pick a day with sunshine and warm temperatures so your horse can dry. Be careful not to over-bathe your horse as you will deplete their natural oils which will make their coat dull and dry. This is a great time to condition and detangle their mane and tail and check out any new growth!
Did you know you can help your horse speed up the process of shedding its coat by providing more turnout? The amount of daylight triggers horses to shed their coats, so if your horse gets more time in the sunshine than being in his stall, his body will expedite the loose follicles. All that rolling around in the dirt and grass will help shake off some of the lose hairs! Some barns can also use artificial light to trigger horse’s shedding.
The best way to ensure a smooth shedding season is by ensuring your horse is getting all the nutrients they need! A healthy skin and coat come from the inside out! Feeding a vitamin-mineral supplement, like Horse Guard, will provide your horse with the vitamins and minerals that keep coats healthy. You can also double up on ensuring a healthy coat by feeding a supplement directly targeting your horse's coat, like Hoof & Hair Guard or Flow. The healthier your horse’s coat, the easier it will shed out!
If your horse isn’t shedding out…
If your horse isn’t shedding, this could be a sign of Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (Cushing’s) which is an endocrine disorder that affects older horses. Horses with Cushing’s often have trouble shedding or won’t shed their winter coats at all, or patchy irregular coats. Bloodwork from your veterinarian can help determine if this is the case.
While shedding season isn’t always our favorite time of year with our horses, Spring is a great time to check in and access their condition. A horse’s coat is a great indication of their overall health. The combination of our tips and a nutrient sufficient diet should ensure a smooth transition into spring and help make your horse look and feel happy and healthy.