Put the dapples back in your horse’s coat!
It’s more than skin deep.
Did you know your horse’s skin is the largest organ in his/her body? The skin serves multiple purposes. For instance, it forms a protective barrier against infection and harmful substances; it allows a horse to feel hot and cold temperatures and regulate its body temperature; and it contains specialized sensory cells that let your horse respond to a touch as light as a fly. Your horse’s coat, mane, tail, and sweat and oil glands are all part of his skin! Dry, flaky, cracked skin can lead to a multitude of health problems.
From the feed bucket to the brush box
A wide variety of nutrients affect the quality of your horse’s skin and hair coat. Vitamins and minerals, essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein), and fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 all play a role. While good grooming brings out the luster, healthy skin and hair start on the inside.
When hay and grain just aren’t enough
Depending on your horse’s activity level and age, he or she may not be getting enough of the right kind of nutrients in a daily diet. Horses with increased nutritional requirements, horses on mostly hay diets, those that are eating less than the recommended amount of commercial feed or horses eating plain grains can have deficiencies that result in dry skin and drab hair coats.
Horses and ponies that may benefit from additional nutrients:
- Horses on restricted diets (low in fortified grains)
- Horses without access to fresh green grass
- Broodmares and foals
- Growing horses
- Performance horses
- Senior horses