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speed up the shedding of that winter coat

When the days get longer, the horse’s pituitary gland recognises this change in daylight hours and produces hormones that cause a horse to shed its winter coat.

It is that time of year again where, for many of us, horse hair covers our hair, clothes, horse rugs, brushes and fences while our horses lose their winter coats.

The shedding of the winter coat is triggered by the length of daylight.

When the days get longer, the horse’s pituitary gland recognises this change in daylight hours and produces hormones that cause a horse to shed its winter coat.

There are several ways of helping speed up this process and grow a new healthy summer coat.


Horses being exercised will lose their winter coat more quickly. The production of sweat and the increase of blood to the skin stimulates the hair follicles and expediates the shedding process.

Exercise also increases the flow of Sebum, the oily secretion of the sebaceous glands that goes directly into the hair follicle. This increase of Sebum makes shedding easier and gives the new coat a lovely shine.

If you follow exercise with a good grooming, you will find the hair comes out in bucket loads!


Fats and Oils.

Sebum requires good levels of fats and oils which are present in fresh spring grass. Hay has half (or less) the amount of fat than fresh grass so if your horse’s diet is predominantly hay, you may need to add a good quality oil such as flaxseed oil.

Vitamin A.

Vitamin A is critical to maintain the health of your horse’s skin cells, including the sebaceous glands, and is often low in hay and chaff over 6 months old.


Biotin is required for the health of all skin and connective tissues. A supplement of 20mg per day can be very helpful during the loss of the winter coat and the growth of the new summer coat.

Amino Acids.

As hair is over 90% protein, the new summer coat is dependent on good levels of protein and amino acids.

Spring grass is high in protein but if the diet is low in the essential amino acids needed to make protein there will be poor hair growth.

Methionine and lysine are needed to produce all proteins in the body, including keratin. Methionine is a sulfur containing amino acid critical for skin and connective tissue health and supplementation may be helpful during shedding for the growth of the new summer coat.

Copper and Zinc.

Copper and zinc are trace minerals that play a major role to the health of the skin and coat, and are commonly deficient in the equine diet.

Copper and zinc are needed for the normal production of skin and coat pigments which protects coats from rapid fading. Zinc is also critical for the cell division and multiplication required to produce a new coat.

Supplementation of approximately 500mg of Zinc and 125mg of Copper can assist with shedding.

Because hair and hoof are both made of the same type of tissue, many of the nutrients needed to assist in the health of your horses coat will be found in a quality hoof supplement such as The Aussie Farrier Hoof Growth supplement.


There are health issue that can prevent a horse from losing its winter coat. These include PPID, Cushings Disease, thyroid malfunction and malnutrition.

As always, contact your Veterinarian is you suspect your horse may be suffering from any ill health.