I’m sure your horses are shedding like crazy right now.
But what interests me about shedding… is the rate of shed. Every horse is different and I wonder why.
To me, the rate of shed, the quality of the hairs that shed and the quality of the coat underneath are all important to understand your horse’s health.
WHAT THEY SAY…
What I’ve heard from my vets over the years is:
it depends upon where they were born
it depends upon what they eat
it depends upon their health
All probably true. But, I think ‘health’ is the main factor.
FOR EXAMPLE, BG and FINN
BG and Finn are 100% siblings. They were both born in Texas, on the same farm. So, you might think that their shedding pattern would be similar.
BG is shedding out beautifully, her coat underneath is flawless and shiny… Finn, not so much.
Neither are particularly pillars of health right now… I’ve had to restrict their diet to figure out why BG continues to have hives – so they are not allowed on the grass as often as the others. BG has hives (not a healthy thing) and Finn is fat. But, their new coats are very shiny and healthy.
My guess is that Finn, advancing in age, is becoming Insulin Resistant.
BG, I have no idea why she has hives. It has been 9 months now. I keep trying things… but the hives have not effected her shedding.
WRIGLEY and MO
Wrigley is young and healthy. He was born in Grass Valley, CA. However, his diet is also restricted because he is in with BG and Finn.
I’d say Wrigley was shedding out normally and his new coat is shiny, but his winter hairs are stiff. I need to build another paddock so he can be fed alone. Being low man, he gets the least… yet he needs the most. I’ll put that on the list…
Mo was born in the desert of Nevada. I think he is 8. He always has a rough, thick coat. Even after it sheds, it still looks thick and rough. He eats really well and has ample natural forage because he is out with the ladies who lunch on the green grass almost daily.
I have no idea why his coat is so rough.
THE LADIES WHO LUNCH – MISSY MISS AND ANNIE
Annie, Missy Miss and Mo have access to the huge green pasture more than the rest of the herd. So, they have the most diversity in their diet and they travel the farthest in a day. It shows. (However, they are also the youngest… so that has to be factored in.)
Annie is 6 and Missy Miss is 7. Both young ladies. Annie was born in Nevada. Missy Miss was born in the Southern CA desert.
These girls hardly have a winter coat. I think they are mostly shed out already. Their underneath coats are perfect.
These ladies eat well, they are young and were born in a hot climate. If these truisms are true, they fit the mold.
GWEN, DODGER AND NORMA
This is the elder group. Norma is 25 with a liver issue… Dodger is 36 (at least) and Gwen is 23 with slight Cushings.
These guys only get to go out on the green grass twice a week at night. I do this because the sugars in the grass are least strong at night.
All of them have health issues. All of them are on meds and special feeds.
Gwen was born in Oregon. Norma Jean was born in Oregon. Dodger I don’t know, but I rescued him in Oregon.
Gwen usually sheds pretty well but the Cushings hangs on a bit. Dodger grows so much Shetland hair – and he is elderly – but he sheds very well. Norma hangs onto her coat. But I will say, she is shedding sooner than normally – so I think her new meds are helping!
Once they do shed, all three have very bright and shiny summer coats.
I do watch shedding and adjust feed accordingly. I know that Finn needs to be watched for IR. BG is fine (except for the hives). Wrigley needs more groceries over next winter. Annie is fine. Missy Miss is fine. Mo is Mo (I need to have him longer to understand his coat better.) Norma Jean is actually doing better because she is shedding earlier. Gwen is fine. And finally, Dodger…still waiting to see his summer coat, but his attitude is GREAT.