Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Reader Question on Winter Coats and Shedding

Received this e-mail from Linda in California: "I come to your website quite a bit for information. I bought my first horse last year and am still learning. My question now is if it is normal for a horse to still have a lot of winter hair or should I be trimming the hair off her?"

Linda, where I'm at in West Texas, the temperatures ranges are currently high 30's to high 80's and it is normal to horses to still have much of their winter coats of hair. You didn't mention where in California you are at. If you are experiencing colder than normal temps or the temperatures having been really high, then your horse's retention of her winter coat is normal.

You should not have to do anything other than groom your horse with a shedding blade or curry brush to remove excess hair. A spring bath for your horse will also loosen up some of the excess hair and make it easy to brush it out. From left to right in the picture is: a Metal Curry Brush, fixed shedding blade and spring shedding blade. They all are handy but generally people prefer one over the other. I use the fixed blade in the center. It has a flat side and a side with teeth. This is pretty much all I use to shed my horses with. The flat side of the blade also allows me to wick water or sweat off of them.

Shedding will not be done in one session. It will take several sessions through the spring until all the winter coat is gone. The good thing about this is it requires you to spend time with your horse and not putting any pressure on your horse other than standing there is good for both of you.....and horses generally like to be groomed. Several of my horses back up to me when I'm picking manure, so I can scratch their butts with the manure rake.

Glad to hear you're still learning. Hope you never stop. My goal is to someday be a good Horseman,...may take me to 80 years old to get there, but if I don't worry about the outcome and just concentrate on learning and doing then the outcome will take care of itself.

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