Posted by Gabby Gufler, Thu, Jul 3, 2014
It’s finally summertime, which means your horse will be spending more time in the sun! Just like your skin, your horse’s coat (especially if it is a dark color) will need some protection from the sun’s harmful rays to hold its shine and tone. So, how do we get our horse to shine like the sun?
We all have to admit that we have spent at least some time on the Internet researching tips and tricks for keeping a horse’s coat rich in color throughout the heat of summer. But how do we know what really works? The best remedy is PREVENTION.
Did you know that your horse’s coat goes through two growth cycles each year? The first one takes place in the summer, while the other takes place in winter. These are the best times to start with a clean slate and try some new prevention methods.
- Diet. The first method for preventing sun-bleaching is to ensure that your horse is eating a well-balanced diet. Proteins, vitamins and minerals ALL contribute to the health of your horse’s hair. Did you know that both hair and hooves are composed mostly of protein? Consider supplementing your horse’s diet with a high-protein product such as Calf-Manna® to encourage the growth of strong hair follicles. Copper-deficient horses will also have coats that are dull, brittle and prone to fading. Manna Pro Sho-Glo® is an excellent source of copper, so it may be a good idea to begin feeding your horse 1–2 ounces a day before the months of summer arrive.
- Groom Your Horse Daily. This may be a no-brainer, but friction against a horse’s skin will bring its natural oils to the surface. Grooming your horse for at least five minutes a day can help bring out the natural shine in their coat.
- Fit Your Horse with a Nylon Sheet. Nylon sheets are a great tool to use right before a show. Sheets will help polish your horse’s coat as it moves against their skin. Be sure that both your horse and the sheet are clean! On a dirty, sweaty coat, sheets might cause unwanted skin conditions. Do not use this method in extremely hot weather.
- UV Protectants. External UV protectants for horses are a great way to help prevent sun-bleaching of your horse’s coat, mane and tail. Spraying a UV protectant such as Corona® Detangler & Shine on your horse’s hair every few days can help manage sun-bleaching, though it may not eliminate it entirely. UV sheets are another great tool that can decrease fading. A UV sheet with a neck cover in combination with a UV protectant spray will provide your horse with the best protection from the sun.
- Minimize Sun Exposure. This is the only method that can almost completely prevent the sun-bleaching of your horse’s coat. Consider stabling your horse during the hours when the sun is the hottest, and instead turn them out in the evening. If you will be choosing this method, it is best to start your nighttime turnout routine as they are finished or almost finished shedding their winter coat.
- Keep Your Horse’s Coat Sweat Free. The sun is not the only thing that can cause fading on your horse’s coat. Sweat bleaches hair. So, even if your horse is stabled during the hottest times of the day, their hair can still be prone to bleaching. Provide your horse with a fan while stabled and rinse your horse’s coat if they are excessively sweaty. Rinsing your horse after a workout is a very important task in the summer no matter what the color of your horse’s coat.
Remember that although it may take a little extra work, not all hope is lost when it comes to protecting your horse from sun-bleaching. Before you know it, your horse will be shining like the sun!
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