Top Tips for Dealing with Shedding
The weather is improving, spring flowers are in bloom and all is right with the world! Except at the yard where you are lost in a sea of horsehair! Equine shedding is a sure sign of spring and is a necessary and natural process. But it can be very messy!
Shedding isn’t triggered by the temperature but rather by an increase in the hours of daylight. A horses’ coat will begin to loosen and shed early in the year but it is in spring that you will really notice the results. The rate at which horses shed does vary but the shedding pattern of each individual horse tends to remain consistent from year to year.
When Should You Be Concerned?
Shedding (moulting) is completely normal but it is important to recognise your horse’s usual shedding pattern. If your horse is not shedding in the same way as he usually does, this could be a cause for concern. Horses which hold on to their coats longer than usual may be exhibiting the signs of , particularly if they are elderly. Animals with Cushings tend to lose the long hairs under their bellies and chins last. If this pattern develops in your horse, get them checked by your vet.
You can help your horse to shed its coat more quickly by employing some old-fashioned elbow grease! Horses can overheat when exercising if their winter coat lingers for too long. Horses which sweat excessively lose fluids and vital electrolytes. The right grooming routine enables you to control the mess, the timing of the mess and the duration of the shedding. But you will need to engage in lengthy grooming sessions in order to manage the situation.
To groom your horse, use a rubber curry comb to loosen any dead hair. Then use a body brush to remove the hair. A shedding blade can help to address the longer hair along your horse’s back and flanks. Repeated vigorous grooming sessions will completely remove the winter coat. But take care when brushing sensitive areas. Keep monitoring your horse’s electrolyte levels until the winter coat has been completely shed and provide a supplement if required.
You can speed up the process further by oiling your horse. Cover their coat in baby oil and leave the oil to soak in overnight. Then give your horse a warm-water shampoo. The oil will have encouraged the dead hair to slide from the hair follicles.
The fastest way to remove your horse’s winter coat is with full-body clippers and precision trimmers. Most of the winter coat can be removed in just a few hours. Follow the procedure with regular baths, brushing and combing and your horse will benefit from a beautiful coat and will be ready for intensive activity. In the spring, when temperatures drop at night, rug your clipped horse as they will lack the insulation that they need to keep warm.
The spring shedding process can be long and messy but you are able to speed things up a bit so that life is more comfortable for your horse and tidier for you!