Spring has sprung! And horse owners know this because this is the time when your horse sheds their winter coat. Essentially, the spring time for horse owners means two things, MUD and HAIR! In this article tips for shedding and dealing with all that hair is discussed.
One of the best ways to help shed out your horse is good old fashion elbow grease. Shedding can take time and the more you groom your horse the more hair you will remove. The curry comb is the simplest tool to have in your grooming bucket for the job. Simply curry your horse in a round motion over their body. Be careful in the areas where there is bone, such as the legs, head, back, shoulders, wither, and hip. Then use a hard bristle brush to clear away the hair that you have brought to the surface with your curry comb. Then repeat and repeat. In time your horse will return to a sleek and beautiful summer coat. Additional shedding tools that you can use are shedding blades or grooming blocks, though do not use this tool over the skin on bone areas, such as shoulders, legs, withers, hips, and spine.
The amount of daylight is what triggers your horse’s body to shed. So to increase the amount of shedding, make outside time available for your horse during daylight hours. If this is not an option placing a horse under lamps/lights will cause the same trigger.
Using a shop-vacuum can also be a great tool in aiding with a shedding horse. However, be sure to desensitize your horse to the vacuum before using.
Exercise! Working your horse will stimulate their circulatory system and improve their coat health. So get out there and RIDE!
Adding coat health supplements to your horse’s diet is a great way to improve the overall quality of your horse’s coat. These supplements improve the health and overall sleek look of the coat by adding essential nutrients into your horse’s diet. Another option is to add oil (flaxseed, corn, and canola) to your horse’s diet. This is an inexpensive way to provide essential healthy coat nutrients. A routine deworming schedule should also be followed.
Consider using clippers to help trim the hairs around tough areas, such as joints, chins, and fetlocks. Be careful to desensitize your horse to the clippers before using. If your horse does not like the clippers, there clipper blades available that you can simply run over your horse’s chin to remove extra hair.
Dress Appropriately! Do not wear nice clothes if you are shedding out your horse. Consider wearing an old shirt over your clothes that can catch the hair. Nylon based clothing is also a great idea, as hair is less likely to stick to the clothing. And a word of wisdom, DO NOT WEAR LIPSTICK or LIP BALM! Your horse’s hair is just going to stick to that, and who wants a mouth full of horse hair.
After all this grooming, you are now covered in horse hair. Simply follow these steps for removing the hair from your clothing. First try to shake out your clothes. This can get rid of a lot of the loose hairs clinging to the surface. You can try wetting your hand with a bit of water and dab it gently onto your clothing. This helps to remove a bit of the hair. Another great tool is roller tape or Cello-tape. This is a really inexpensive tool that works great! Gently dab the tape onto your clothes; this pulls away the hair. You may have to repeat a couple of times, but you will eventually get most of the hair off. What does not come off with a tape you can pick off with tweezers and/or a darning needle. Then give your clothes a good wash in a washing machine.
Now you are armed and ready to take on the horse hair of shedding season. For tips about dealing with spring time mud see articles; “It’s Spring Time: This Means Mud and Thrush”, “How to Give a Horse a Bath”, and “Muddy Pasture Solutions”.