Horse feed supplements are undeniably important in keeping equines strong and healthy. These supplements restore the nutrient imbalance in a horse’s body, repair hoof structure, heal injuries, and boost the immune system of horses against diseases. Because of these many advantages that horse feed supplements provide, the majority of equine owners would really consider adding them on their horses’ meal plans.
Part of keeping a horse healthy is also making sure that its hair and coat is as shiny and supple. As a matter of fact, the coat of the horse has a lot of things to tell about its current health condition, so apart from buying feed supplements such as digestion supplements, calming supplements, and hooves supplements, it is also essential that equine owners consider adding a supplement that will help improve or maintain the color and richness of their horses’ coat. In case you are not quite familiar with coat supplements for horses, then here’s a list of everything that you need to know, including the importance and functions of the horse’s skin:
The Horse’s Skin
Before you choose what coat supplement to buy your horses, it is significant that you also know about the different parts and functions of the horse’s skin. Basically, a horse’s skin is composed of two layers: the epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis is the tough outer covering of the skin while the dermis is the deeper layer of skin. The skin is actually not just the largest but also among the most important parts of a horse’s body; it makes up at least 24% of the horse’s total weight. A horse’s skin does not only protect the body but it also helps horses sense their environment and become sensitive to pain, temperature, and touch. It also serves as a barrier against injuries and diseases and chemicals, and helps maintain the moisture of the horse’s body. Therefore, the horse’s skin is definitely more than just an outer covering.
Hair Growth Cycle on Horses
The hair cycle of horses is very similar to human’s eyebrows—it does not grow in a continuous manner. The first stage of a horse’s hair growth cycle is the anagen; it is when the hair is produced and grows alongside with old hair. The second stage is the telogen, also known as the resting phase wherein the follicle becomes dormant and the hair has already died but hasn’t been shed yet. The third phase is the catagen, the intermediate phase between the first and the second phase. Basically, the shedding of the horse’s hair is influenced by the temperature and the amount of daylight that it reserves.
Causes of Dry and Dull Horse Coat
By simply looking at the horse, it is already too easy to know whether its coat and hair are in good condition or not; the harder part however is determining the causes or the reasons for the dryness and dullness of the horse’s coat. There are actually a lot of reason horse’s coat go dry and dull; it could be because of hormonal imbalances, poor nutrition, or allergy. It could also be because of the parasites inside the horse’s body.
Hay Analysis before Adding Supplements
Since you do not know the reason why your horse’s coat isn’t looking good, you have to seek help from the experts first before considering adding coat supplements to your horse’s meal plan. In order not to end up buying the wrong horse coat supplements, nutritionists and experts suggest that you need to have your forages (hay or alfalfa) and even your pasture analyzed. Hay analysis will help you pinpoint the lacking nutrients in your horse’s body.
Horse Coat Supplements – Active Ingredients to Look For
When it comes to buying coat supplements, you need to be sure that they contain these active ingredients: biotin (vitamin B7), zinc, copper, and methionine. Fatty acids including omega-3 have already been proven to be effective in improving the coat of the horse. In case you do not want to buy commercialized coat supplements for your horses, you also have the option of just adding soy or corn oil to their daily diet.
Horse Hoof Supplements vs. Coat Supplements
Since both horse hoof supplements and coat supplements contain the same active ingredients and nutrients, the majority of equine owners have come to realize that one doesn’t necessarily need to buy these supplements separately. So, in case your horse’s hoof is in terrible condition and it’s also shedding hair, you can buy just one of these two and it will act as a 2-in-1 supplement. And because there are more hoof supplements in the market, it would be better to buy this rather than the coat supplement.