Spring brings warmer weather, which is a welcome change from the cold and snowy winter. Unfortunately, Spring also brings shedding season. Our horse’s woolly, winter coats need to shed out to make room for a healthy, shiny summer coat. Shedding out a winter coat isn’t always an easy process but it’s always a messy one. We’ve picked out some helpful tools for shedding season and some tips to make your life easier too.
The same basic grooming tools you’d use all year long are the first options to use to shed out your horse. Curry combs loosen dirt and hair all year long. They are particularly useful during shedding season, especially the grooming mitts and gloves that work for the whole body including faces and hard to reach areas. Using brushes with stiffer bristle will make it easier to remove the hair and dirt you’ve already curried. Softer bristled, finishing brushes will help produce a shiny coat.
For horses with a heavy coat or those that aren’t shedding out their winter coat as easily, special shedding tools might be needed. Shedding blocks quickly and gently remove loose hair. They also can leave the coat shinier looking than before. Some shedding blocks will be made of a hard, rough material while others will have a blade. Shedding blades that double as sweat scrapers are a great multi-purpose grooming tool for spring and summer. Perhaps our favorite shedding tool is the HandsOn Grooming Gloves. You can use them for everyday grooming, but they are perfect to keep your hands clean while shedding your horse. Much like a curry comb, they can reach areas a shedding blade or block cannot. They are also gentler for contoured or sensitive areas of the horse.
Bathing as the weather allows can also speed up your horses shedding time. Drying your horse off with a towel will loosen the winter coat hair even more. Using a conditioning shampoo will help moisturize the summer coat growing under all the hair that needs to be shed out. Finishing a bath with a coat conditioner will further enhance the moisturizing to help calm dry winter skin. For horses with especially dry skin and coats, a hot oil treatment works wonders for deep moisturizing and loosening of the shedding hair.
For horses with dry, damaged, or dandruff-y skin and coats a coat supplement can help give them a better winter and summer coat, making shedding season an easier experience. Depending on your horse and feeding situation you may want to go for a granular supplement or an oil. Oils can be messy but for some picky eaters are a better option. Granular formulas may be easier if grain is made up in advance or for travelling to horseshows.
While shedding season may leave us and everything we touch covered in hair, it also gives way to warmer weather. It’s time to get out to the barn and take advantage of the better riding weather!