Winter is the time to be proactive and start working on next year’s show season shine! There are a few different ways to work towards getting that show ring shine to your horse’s coat, mane and tail. Always begin with a good diet! This means ensuring an adequate amount of good quality hay is being fed, alongside feeding enough fats to help promote the healthy oils in the coat. Your horse’s coat will tell you a lot about the diet you are providing to them.
One of the most popular ways to get a good hair coat is from the inside out. Owners do this by adding supplements to their horse’s diet. Some common feed-thru supplements that also can be found around the house are:
- Canola Oil
- Corn Oil
- Safflower Oil
- Linseed Oil
- Soybean Oil
- Wheat Germ Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Flax Seed
- Rice Bran Oil
- Apple Cider Vinegar (also will help as a natural fly repellent)
*Most oils are supplemented at a ½ cup daily for a 1,000-pound horse. Also be mindful that adding oils to the horses diet, adds calories to your horses diet.
Another popular way to work towards a healthier coat is through spray-on coat conditioners. Such as the feed-thru supplements, these are household items.
- Listerine & Baby Oil (1:1 ratio in a spray bottle)
- Avocado & Rice Bran Oil (1:1 ration in a spray bottle)
Keep in mind that there are a plethora of mane/tail/coat supplements for your horse, which can be purchased in stores. I urge you to find what works for you and stick to it. Here are a list of supplements and products along with links to where they can be viewed and purchased:
- Healthy Hair Care Coat Conditioner (http://www.healthyhaircare.com/)
- Santa Fe Coat Conditioner (http://absorbine.com/products/grooming/santa-fe-coat-conditioner)
- Equine Omega Complete (http://www.o3animalhealth.com/)
- SmartPak Coat Supplements (https://www.smartpakequine.com/horse-skin-and-coat-supplements--7pc)
- Laser Sheen Spray and Supplement (http://www.farnamlasersheen.com/)
- Renew Gold (http://renewgold.com/)
- EquiFuse (http://equifuse.com/)
MANE & TAIL CARE
Walking through a barn you will see a variety in lengths and care of manes and tails. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep your horse’s mane and tail healthy and growing all winter long.
- If you are able to, shampooing and conditioning your horse’s mane and tail regularly (generally 2-4 times a month is sufficient), will help keep the hair clean and free of growth-inhibiting dirt.
- After washing the mane and tail, and prior to brushing, applying a detangling solution will help you work through any snags and help lessen the number of hairs lost in the brushing process. My favorite detangling product is Cowboy Magic Detangler and Shine (http://www.cowboymagic.com/cowboy-magic-detangler/)
- Oftentimes trainers and owners will braid long manes, and place tails in a tail bag for protection from the elements. A general rule of thumb is to re-braid manes and tails every 3-4 days to keep the hair clean and strong. The braids should be large enough (2-3 fingers wide) to not break off the hair towards the end, but small enough that the braid does not fall apart by the next day. When braiding tails, start the braid BELOW the tailbone. Very important to not tie the tail bag around the tail bone itself.
- Adding a feed-thru supplement, or coat conditioner applied to the mane/tail will keep the hair healthy and strong all winter long.
- For horses that have a tendency to rub out their manes and tails when stalled through the winter, applying Shapley’s MTG (https://www.smartpakequine.com/pt/pt/shapleys-original-mtg-6238), will help protect the hair shafts and keep the hair from becoming dry and brittle with regular application.
All the supplements, and conditioners will mean nothing without some old-fashioned elbow grease. A good-stiff currycomb, and a few minutes every day will help break the winter blues for both you and your horse.
If you have any tricks or supplements that have worked wonders for your horses coat, mane or tail, please feel free to leave it in the comments below!