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3 tips for a brighter, shinier coat

Omega-3 fatty acids promote a healthy, shiny coat.

Omega-3 fatty acids promote a healthy, shiny coat.

Do you struggle to keep your horse's coat beautiful and healthy? It's incredibly frustrating, especially if the competitions' horses seem to have naturally shiny coats. You should take heart, however, because what appears to be the blessing of great genetics is often the result of proper diet and care.

In fact, fostering a lustrous coat is much easier than it seems. Here are three tips to achieve that lovely shine:

1. Groom frequently

Getting the right grooming schedule is tricky if you don't know what you're doing. Do too much too frequently, and your horse's coat will never get that shine you want.

"Brush your horse with a curry comb every day."

To groom your horse properly, brush it with a curry comb every day. Horse Channel recommended a rubber comb that gets down to the skin. The goal here isn't to detangle like it is with human hair. Rather, you want to stimulate the skin to encourage blood flow. This causes the area to produce healthy oils. Additionally, the curry comb will pick up those oils and distribute them from the root of the hairs to the ends, adding shine. The curry comb will also remove dead skin and hairs trapped within the coat.

Wash your horse sparingly – the water and shampoo strip the natural oils, drying the skin and dulling the coat. If you must wash frequently – for example, during a warm summer where your horse will sweat a lot – use a shampoo specifically designed for horses. Finish Line's First Aid helps promote softness and shine, while Herbal Shampoo is mild enough for sensitive skin. Once you're done bathing, follow up with essential oils to promote healthy skin. Finish Line's Blaster Horse Spray has seven such oils and has a pleasant lemon-rosemary scent.

2. Provide a nutrient-rich diet

"The right blend of feed and supplements can boost your horse's appearance."

As with any aspect of horse health, the diet serves as the foundation. Most award-winning riders credit the right blend of feed, nutrients and supplements for their horse's look and performance.

For a healthy coat, your animal needs vitamins A, D and E, noted Susan L. White of University of Georgia's Department of Large Animal Medicine during a conversation with TheHorse.com. The latter two in particular are fat-soluble, meaning your horse needs healthy fats to properly absorb them. You'll therefore want to add omega-3 fatty acids like fish oil or flaxseed to your horse's diet. These acids are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-6 acids like corn oil, on the other hand, are thought to increase inflammation.

To make sure your horse is getting the right nutrients, add Feet First, Coat 2nd to its diet. This supplement contains flaxseed, wheat germ oil, vitamin A, vitamin E and other nutrients to support a healthy skin and coat.

3. Protect from UV rays

Fibers change colors when left in the sun, and your horse's coat is no exception. The ultraviolet rays break down the chemical bonds that cause vibrant color, resulted in a faded look. If possible, use a turnout schedule where your horse is outside at night and inside during the day, especially during the hours when the sun is at its peak. If your horse must be outside in the daylight, Horse Channel recommended a fly sheet with UV protection.

If you get in the habit of grooming every day, providing a nutrient-rich diet and keeping your horse sheltered from the sun, its coat will become glossy and radiant in no time.

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