Here we catch up with sponsored riders Simon and Natalie Reynolds for some advice on how to care for and keep your horse’s coat looking healthy and shiny over winter.
Coat and skin condition starts with good nutrition and overall health. A nutritious balanced diet that provides all the protein, vitamin and minerals your horse needs will help them look great on the outside and feel great on the inside.
Fibre-Beet is a fibre conditioning feed that contains Speedi-Beet, alfalfa and oat fibre supplemented with biotin, sodium and calcium. This helps our horses maintain their weight and condition, especially over the winter months, and the added biotin benefits hooves and coat.
The addition of British Horse Feeds Cooked Linseed offers antioxidants and vitamins as well as high quality protein to support muscle activity and adds topline.
It provides high levels of omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 oils which are excellent for skin and condition. Cooked Linseed is also a good source of vitamin C which helps support coat condition too.
Once you have got the correct diet for your horse the rest is all about stable management and grooming.
Grooming & Rugging
Whether you clip your horse over winter or not you will still need to regularly brush your horse’s coat to keep it mud free. Brushing helps to stimulate blood flow which in turn delivers all the nutrients to the hair follicles, promoting new hair growth.
Most of our horses are clipped heading into winter and are rugged using a combination of thinner rugs as a layer effect, rather than one heavy winter rug. That way we can regulate their temperature more easily according to the weather conditions. We also use bibs under the rugs to prevent rubs around the chest area.
A thin turnout rug is used as a top layer in the stable, as this won’t absorb the wet from the stable and they are more hard wearing. The under rugs are also kept clean with regular washing with a non-bio washing powder. Thinner under rugs are much easier to wash and dry, than a bulky heavier top rug.
All our horses are regularly groomed before and after exercise and they enjoy a good groom when they come in from the fields.
Through winter we tend to avoid bathing them if we can to prevent them from catching a chill. If they do need to be washed off we use a hot towel to wipe them down and then rug them accordingly to help keep them warm whilst they dry.
To help prevent breakage to mane, we regularly wash them and apply conditioner and show sheen. Dirty and greasy manes can tug on the neck covers and cause hair loss. We also try and remove neck covers where possible to allow air flow to the mane and give it a rest from the weight of the rug.
Remember, if you are layering rugs make sure you don’t over rug your horse, it is better for them to be cooler than too hot as this can affect the growth of your horse’s coat. Also keep rugs as clean as possible to prevent any rubs that can damage the coat.