The weather is getting warmer, the rugs are off - let the shedding season commence. A horse will naturally shed its winter coat come spring, and although this is a natural occurrence, there are a few tips and tricks that can speed up the process.
Why do horses shed their coats?
Firstly, it is important to understand how shedding works... Many people believe the winter shed happens when the temperature rises and the weather gets warmer...This is true in part, however there is more to this theory than simply the weather. The shedding of a coat is actually determined by the amount of daylight hours the horse receives. Therefore, when the days become shorter in autumn, you notice your horse's hair becoming thicker. On the other hand, when the days become longer, and increase in daylight, your horse's winter coat will start to shed. The science behind this is incredibly interesting, and it is related to a hormone balance - the glands recognise the change in daylight hours and compensate by producing or shedding hair.
As mentioned previously, although shedding is a natural occurrence, there are a few options to make your life a little easier, and less hairy...
Fed up of collecting enough hair to knit a jumper every time you enter your horse's stall? This may seem like an obvious answer, but vigorous grooming sessions can really speed up the shedding process. In this case, a light groom will simply not cut it! We recommend some elbow grease and a trusty curry comb.
There are many grooming products on the market such as grooming gloves and shedding blades that can make this job a lot easier.
Take a look at our grooming products today!
Grab your sunglasses as increased daylight speeds up the shedding process. By simply increasing your horse's time outside, you can help them to shed their winter coat at an increased speed!
Letting your horse have increased grazing time, perhaps without a rug (weather permitting), is also a great way to help with shedding. Allowing your horse to have a good roll will also dislodge any loose hairs on their body - you'll just have a muddy horse instead of a hairy one...
Research has also indicated that more time spent in the saddle escalates the speed of coat shedding. Horses that are in regular work shed their hair at a greater speed, in comparison to ones that are not receiving regular exercise - this is generally due to the increased circulation and blood flow travelling to the skin during exercise.
If the weather is pleasant and the temperature fair, it can often help to bath your horse to alleviate and remove some of the dead hair in their coat. Of course, this should only be conducted if the weather is suitable. Bathing your horse when the weather is too cold can lead to a chill - make sure you adequately dry them off and pop a rug over their back if the weather is not gloriously hot.
What a horse consumes can also change their coat in numerous ways. A healthy diet with the right amount of nutrition can improve coat condition no end. Linseed oil is great for coat support and adding a high shine too.
Coat shedding will happen at different rates depending on the above factors. However, applying some of the tips and tricks mentioned above will certainly speed up the shedding process, and get their coats gleaming ready for summer!