Bareback riding, grooming, and showing are just three ways to enjoy a horse. But while they all share similarities, they can also pose some unique challenges. Horse hair is one of them -- and if you have never dealt with horse hair in your life then you are absolutely going to love this article.
If you have a horse with a long, very thick coat that is straggly, it's not much fun. Hair and scurf gets everywhere and you can't ignore that moulting mess under this rug. Horses change coat twice per year, in spring and autumn and it's a particular problem at this time of the year when they are growing a shorter summer coat at the same time as the longer, old winter coat is falling out - the hairier the horse, the worse the moulting.
The short answer is don't panic. There are many ways to deal with moulting horses and there is no need to put up with a horse that looks like he has been dragged through a hedge backwards. Here are some tips on how to deal with the problem:
If your horse has a dense coat that is prone to matting, then brushing this regularly will help prevent moulting problems. If you have time and inclination, then regular grooming with a curry comb or body brush will make a huge difference. It's also important to keep long-haired horses on hoof supplement during the autumn/winter months as this helps stimulate new growth and keeps the coat healthy.
Ensure good nutrition
Horses need an adequate supply of protein, fat and minerals such as zinc and copper in order to maintain healthy skin and hair growth. These nutrients can be found in good quality hay or pasture, along with supplements such as mineral blocks and loose minerals which provide additional trace elements such as cobalt, manganese and selenium (which are essential for skin health). I
Hair can be difficult to remove.
Dirty, matted, half-grown-out coats can harbour bacteria and parasite, especially when the temperature starts to rise. Even if they're kept clean, a thin, uneven selection of long hair overlaying patched of short, new coat does not look pretty.
Your horse can also get uncomfortably hot and sweaty if he makes any kind of effort on a warmish day with the remains of his winter coat still hanging on.Then he could come back from exercise wet, not dry off properly and get uncomfortably cold when the sun goes in.
So what to do?
In the spring and early summer, long-haired horses need a thorough grooming session at least once a week. The longer the coat, the more often it needs a good brush but you can't take shortcuts with your grooming regime.
So what is horsehair? It's actually not that different from human hair — it's long and curly, with lots of layers. The difference is that human hair grows from the scalp whereas horsehair grows from their skin — so it's always growing. It can be very fine or very coarse depending on the breed of horse, but either way it's likely to shed when brushed regularly or trimmed with clippers.
Grooming gloves do a great job in removing dead unwanted coat. They provide an added bonus that you can get them into awkward areas, because they are so flexible. These are brilliant for removing dried-on mud and washing horses, too.
The Clipit De-Shedding Gloves takes out moulting hair and scurf, to leave the coat shiny. In fact, all grooming does is - it stimulates the skin, which contains the hair folliciles and sebum glands that secrete oils, so the horse produces his own coat conditioner!
Horse hair can be one of those things that you just have to learn to live with. But if you are looking for ways to cut down on the amount of falling hair around your yard then here are some extra tips:
Bathing of course is a great way to get horses clean and to wash away unwanted hair. Always watch the weather forecast, and plan your horse's bath time, making sure you have clean, dry towels to hand and a cooler rug - not your best one, it will get covered in hair! Wash with warm water if you can. It cleans more efficiently and is kinder to your horse, too.
If you need to bathe more than once a month, then it may be worth investing in a portable shower. These are very good for getting down the legs and under the saddle area. They can also be attached to a hosepipe (if possible), which makes them much easier to use.
There are lots of different types of shampoo on the market but if you're just starting out it's probably best to stick with something simple like an oatmeal based product. This will help protect your horses skin while still removing dirt and grease effectively. The most popular product for 2023 to bathe your horse with is a soap bar!
With shea butter, Clipit SkinSense Shampoo Bar comes in a handy soap tin, so you can keep it clean at all times. Enriched with peppermint and organic sage it can soothe dry, sensitive and flaky skin and reduce itching. Gives dull coats a healthy shine and helps prevent excessive moulting.
But don't forget that some horses hate having their faces washed so make sure you pay particular attention there!
Helpful Tip: Cover up with a Clipit Suit when grooming - durable, lightweight and totally hair resistant
One of the biggest problems we face at this time of year is cause by rugs and, specifically neck covers. Does your horse's mane have an embarrassing gap, or is it thin all the way up thanks to nose-to-tail winter clothing? It needs some TLC too.
If it is possible, leave thin areas of mane to grow back, only grooming them gently with a soft brush so you don't remove any more hair. If you can't bear to wait for it to fill in naturally, then try our top tips for dealing with your horse's bare patches:
Trim it short: If there are any remaining patches of healthy, thick hair, trim them short all over so that it blends into the rest of the mane better. A good pair of clippers will do this job really well and quickly. Just be careful not to trim too much off or you'll end up with a bald patch!
In this guide we'll take you through the process of clipping your horse's coat. We'll also look at the different types of clips, what they're used for and when they're most appropriate.
What is clipping?
Clipping is the process of removing a horse's winter coat to expose their summer coat. It's usually done in spring and autumn, but can be done any time of year when the weather warms up or cools down enough to warrant it.
Clipping allows you to see your horse's muscle definition, which can make them look more athletic and well-groomed on the show ground or competition arena. It also helps with shedding, since horses rub out their winter coats against fences and other objects as they groom themselves (this is called "shedding" and it's normal). If you clip your horse in spring or autumn then this won't happen so much because there will be less hair on him!
But you need to be careful, especially if you want to show a horse with a fine, slow-growing coat. In winter, you can clip regularly as the coat grows back quickly - it doesn't even matter if you get a few tramlines, as they disappear in a week or so.
For 16 Essential Clips on How To Clip Your Horse, click here
Wishing you a happy, hair-free life! Job done then.