Top tips to help a horse shed its winter coat May 13 2018
Top tips to help a horse shed its winter coat
Nature protects our horses from the elements, usually with a coat to match the climate. But you may want to hurry the shedding process along, for your horse's comfort and your own. Fortunately, with the currying and shedding equipment available today plus a simple bath, you can take your horse from woolly mammoth to sharply turned-out spring mount in no time at all.
While your horse will begin to shed as the weather warms, sudden cold snaps can surprise anyone so keep those rugs handy. The British weather likes to keep us horsey owners on our toes! Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow.....
- Shedding blades and currycombs will take off dead winter hair, but be gentle with them especially around or over sensitive body parts.
- Rugging your horse as spring approaches can jump-start the shedding process.
- Provide your horse with as much time out in the field as possible. They will find great places to roll and scratch themselves, and can shed out a good deal of their coat this way without requiring any effort on your part. Winner all round!
A Little Elbow Grease
No matter what kind of winter your horse experiences, you're probably going to want to help the shedding process, especially as you increase their exercise as the daffodils begin to show themselves. That long hair will cause your horse to sweat easily, and if the weather is still chilly, they won’t dry quickly. The simplest - and many feel the best - way to help a horse shed is hard work with a currycomb. A good currycomb, usually made of rubber or plastic, is essential (for me you can’t beat the basic curry comb. Click here to see my absolute favourite), you can invest in grooming stones (which are pretty good and removing stable stains too!) and even an animal vacuum if you want to get super fancy with currycomb attachments (Dyson do an attachment for their models that are designed for grooming your dog but with a well behaved horse I’d give it a try!). Most people are familiar with the traditional black rubber currycomb that has small ridges in concentric circles, though newer styles feature round currycombs with individual rubber spikes and ergonomic handles. Whatever style you choose, the principle remains the same: Use the currycomb in a circular motion to loosen dead hair. Follow that by using a good dandy brush and body brush. We recommend the Hills Body Brush, you'll find much of your horse's coat will come off in just a few sessions.
Shedding blades also help. These metal devices have teeth on one side-some looped with a handle for use with one hand, others as a long, straight metal piece with handles on each end so that you can use both hands and cover more of the horse's body quicker.
Just remember not to use a shedding blade on the bony parts of the horse, don't use it at the point of the shoulder, the point of the hip, on the knees, the hocks, or the face.
In fact, you probably don't even want to use a currycomb in those areas. Keep a couple of brushes of varying stiffness handy, saving the softest one for the horse's face. You might even prefer a small towel or face cloth for the face and head. Today the range of disposable, pre-moistened grooming wipes on the market is pretty extensive. Wipes are great to use on the more delicate areas or for a quick fix. I really like the Supreme body wipes, they are infused with tea tree oil which acts as an antiseptic so perfect for the horses face when the pesky flies start to pester as the weather warms up. Click here to see our range of grooming equipment
Rub a dub dub...hitting the tub
A good bath can also speed the shedding process, but be mindful of the weather if you don’t have access to heat lamps for drying your horse. It may be best to bathe a horse with warm water. Click here to see our range of shampoos, a personal favourite is the Carr Day and Martin Gallop extra strength for the first shampoo of the New Year to remove the reminisce of winter. Some products available are designed for cleaning without water, such as a green spot remover. Click here to view our stain removers or Shapleys Easy Out. This is a fabulous product to have in the cupboard for those last minute cleanups. No water needed! I always like to towel dry my horses after a bath so I always have my Easidri pet and equestrian towel nearby. My horse like to have a good nibble on the towel so this one is great as its super tough while acting like a sponge making the job super quick! I leave my horses to dry in a mesh cooler and even a fleece until their thoroughly dry. Click here to view our coolers.
Continuing to rug your horse as spring approaches can jump-start the shedding process but be careful not to over rug as the last thing you want is a sweaty horse under too many rugs.