6 ways to keep your horse's coat from getting dull, faded, and bleached out this summer
I’m a sucker for a horse with a slick fancy summer coat. There’s that perfect window when they’ve shedded out all their winter hair and their rich dark summer coat has grown in. Simply stunning.
Then the sun, bugs, skin conditions, heat, sweat, and allergies take over and before you know it you’re left with a dull, faded worn-out coat.
Over the years I’ve tested out lots of tactics to maximize and maintain this sleek look throughout the season. For some horses, it’s pretty easy to just keep them groomed up well and let their coat speak for itself all summer. On other horses, you can work put in as much elbow grease as you want they just need support from a different angle to avoid looking like that grade school picture of you with bleached out hair from that summer you discovered “Sun-in”.
The Best Ways To Keep Your Horse's Coat Dark, Rich, and Snazzy All Summer Long
1. Start from the inside out - Supplements that may help
Feeding a well-balanced blend of omega oils can help your horse’s entire system including improving digestion, mobility, and coat condition. I’m not a fan of feeding fish oils to horses so I avoid many of the omega equine products but I’ve found Seabuck Equine to be an even more effective alternative.
Bleached ends in the mane and tail and easy sun fading are a sure sign of needing more zinc in your horse’s diet.
Copper levels have an impact on the amount of pigment your horse’s hair has so making sure they are getting enough in their diet can insure rich dark coats, to begin with.
Biotin can help hair grow quickly and can improve the quality of new hair growth which is great for those areas that have been rubbed from itchy bug bites. These handy treats have biotin, copper, and zinc in them.
As a major antioxidant astaxanthin works wonders on a number of important functions in the body so not only will it help out with healthier skin and hair but when taken internally astaxanthin can help the skin boost its UV-blocking properties, which helps to protect itself against sun-related damage.
2. Avoid overbathing and products that strip the hair
Bathing too often can dry out your horse’s coat. Using pH balanced products will also help avoid stripping the color from your horse and keep their skin healthier.
3. Opt for a color-protecting shampoo
I’ve found Eqyss Premier to be very good as keeping the rich color and getting out stains without removing natural oils. Skip anything containing harsh detergent, alcohol, and synthetic ingredients.
4. Choose The Right Fly Sheet
The sun and the bugs can do a number on your horse’s fancy summer coat. Choosing fly sheets with UV protection will prevent your horse from getting bitten up by the bugs and put a halt to color bleaching. Just be sure to get a sheet with a neck rug otherwise they may end up with a rich dark coat on their body and faded hair on their neck.
5. Consider Alternating Turnout Times
Alternating turnout times so horses are out during the early morning or evening hours and in shaded areas during the sunniest part of the day can help out a ton. I don’t recommend swapping turnout entirely to horses being inside all day and outside all night as that can affect their vitamin D levels (remember some sunshine every day is essential for keeping their systems healthy and balanced).
6. Consider using topical coat enhancers
Spray sun protection works wonders to protect light-skinned horses from sunburn and is much easier to apply to large areas than sunblock lotions. I’ve found this one to give great coverage with quick mess-free application.