Spring is just about here! How I can tell you might be wondering? My horses are like caterpillars transforming into beautiful butterflies. Their heavy winter coats are loosening, and the slick summer coat is trying to come out. YAY! I have come up with my top 10 tips to getting your horse to shed that heavy winter coat. By the time you get done reading this, you will have a complete plan to get your horse sleek and ready for the show ring this summer.
My horses are not clipped over the winter. I let them turn into furry monsters because I don’t ride as much during the winter. It gets very cold where I live, and I don’t like putting blankets on them unless I feel it is necessary. So from October through March they resemble stuffed animals more than they do beautiful show ponies.
But as the days get longer, they start to transform. Frisby will look like he has makeup on his face as the darker summer coat comes through. His head seems to be the last place to shed out.
Top 10 Tips To Shedding Out Your Horse This Spring
But in the process, I have to deal with the long hair covering everything…my saddle pads, their blankets, my gloves, and well, pretty much everything else. I try to keep a positive attitude that this inconvenience will be worth it, so I have some tips and tricks to share with you on how I get my horses to “seem” to shed out faster in the spring.
1. Add a Supplement
I use a coat supplement for my boys. I use Omega Fields Omega Horseshine. It is good for their coats, skin, and hooves. It is not too expensive either. I buy it directly from the company for about $56.00 every 2 months. And they offer auto ship, so I don’t have to remember to re-order it when I start to run low. I have been really happy with this supplement. And I would say it works just as well as the more expensive brands of coat supplements you can buy.
You can also use canola oil top dressed over their feed, as well as fish oil. But when you figure cost per serving, the Horseshine is the least expensive.
2. Elbow Grease
Nothing beats good ole’ fashioned work, and grooming. So really get in there and brush your horse. If you can work up a sweat while you are currying and brushing, you’re doing it right.
3. Curry Comb
I prefer the rubber curry combs with a fabric hand strap. They conform better to my hand, and allow me to really dedicate the time I need to in order to get the most out of my grooming time. They are very inexpensive at about $4.25 and will last at least one season. It is time to switch it out when the nubs get rounded out.
Be careful not to get too excited when using your curry over bony prominences!
4. Homemade Shedding Tool
This is my most favorite tool to use and get instant gratification of seeing the hair come off. I made this using a scrap piece of wood and a hacksaw blade. Are you cringing at the fact that I use a hacksaw blade on my horse’s coat? Don’t worry, it works great, and doesn’t hurt the horse! I made a video showing you how you can make one for yourself, or you can buy one over at Riding Warehouse for about $16.00 if you don’t want to make one. Here is the video I made, showing you how you can make your own fancy shedding tool for about $2.00
5. Hands on Grooming Gloves
I LOVE these gloves! They are the best to use over legs, and bony areas. The hair comes off easy, and fast. I think my horses enjoy them too. Frisby will use my hand like a rubbing post on his head once I put these on. And the hair that comes off is incredible. If you haven’t invested in these yet, you should, your horse will thank you.
6. Break Out the Clippers
I’m not saying to body clip your horse, but clippers are helpful on areas like his jaw, and legs as well as clipping a bridle path. I bought a nice pair of clippers that are rechargeable from Riding Warehouse for around $60.00. I prefer the rechargeable ones because they are cordless, and these are quiet.
Using clippers is also a great opportunity to desensitize your horse to noises around his face, ears, legs, etc. By using clippers, you give yourself an opportunity for a training session with your horse to establish trust. Just take your time with this, so you don’t end up making your horse a freak when it comes time to clip!
7. A Vacuum
At one time, I turned up my nose to this idea. I thought vacuums were only for the super-rich who had nothing better to do than pamper and groom their ponies. But I was wrong! Having a vacuum is a great tool when it comes to getting the deep dirt, hair and dander off your horse. And you don’t have to buy the $300.00 horse vacuums either. I bought a small shop vac that is meant to detail your car. And it cost me $40.00 from Home Depot. I love this little vacuum!
It does take some time to desensitize your horse too it, but I think they like it too. Once they figure out the vacuum is not going to eat them, they stand very well for it and seem to enjoy it. And the tools that come with this little shop vac work great on my horses too.
8. Let the Sunshine In
It isn’t the cold that triggers your horse to grow a winter coat. It’s the amount of daylight over the course of a day. So to trick your horses mind into thinking summer is here, leave the lights on in your barn for a few extra hours every night. If you don’t have lights or even electricity in your barn (I didn’t) add some lighting. I used 2 strands of Christmas lights.
9. Exercise Your Horse
This is not only good for your horse’s coat, but it’s good for his circulation too. It gets the blood flowing! So exercise your horse. Lunge him, ride him, or just take him for a walk. And once you have completed your work out, get grooming. You will see his coat and excess hair comes off easier.
10. Give Him a Bath
I don’t recommend this when it’s cold. But when the weather is getting warmer, give your horse a bath using a good shampoo. I have been very happy with Lucky Braids. I also use this time to do a mane and tail treatment with Mane-ly long hair leave in conditioner. It is not cheap. $32.00 is the cost for this product, but it really does work. And you don’t use very much of the conditioner when you are using it as a leave in conditioner. So even though the initial cost is expensive, over the course of the product it is very cost effective for creating longer manes and tails that remain tangle free.
If you are bathing your horse in the springtime when there can be a chill in the air, be sure to dry him well, and add a light sheet or cooler to keep him warm until he is completely dry.
If you put the 10 ideas above to use for the next few weeks, your horse will be sleek and show ring ready quickly. The best way that I have found to get my horses to shed quicker is to just get out there and groom them. Yes it takes time, and work. But in just 2 to 3 weeks, my boys look beautiful, and I have a head start on the upcoming show season.
And if you notice I have several references and links to Riding Warehouse throughout this article. I am an affiliate for them (because I love them) and if you choose to make a purchase from them, this link shows them that I have referred you, and I do get a small commission from your shopping. This is one way I earn a little income from my website.