As summer is coming, or so I keep telling myself, so is the sun. While I love riding out in the summer, I do not love the bleaching that the summer sun does to my horses’ coats. The black one gets red frosted tips like he’s living in the early 2000s, the bay turns a strange golden baked potato color, and the grey I am always concerned for melanoma – at least he looks pretty. While a UV fly sheet I have found essential to keep the grey and the bay protected, I still find the black horse ends up with those bleached ends. Which makes me wonder, is the UV fly sheet doing enough to prevent my horses’ skin? Especially the grey. While of course it is important to have a foundation in a good diet, there are a few more tricks that can be put into play. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I discovered UV coat spray, or sunscreen for horses, and that has been lifechanging.
While I would consider the diet to be the basic foundation of a good coat, there are always things you can do to supplement it. Omega 3s, and a good vitamin are fantastic to ensure your horse is feeling good and has enough oil in their coat to look shiny. A second consideration is of course grooming. A soft rubber curry is your best friend, stimulates the skin and pores to create a healthy glow. Of course, like us, horses can get too oily. If this is the case then of course you want to give them a good bath. While it is tempting if you own a grey to over bath, don’t do it. Stripping the coat of their natural oils will do you more harm than good in the long run. Plus, purple shampoo is expensive! This is where coat sprays come into play. After you wash with a shampoo, and preferably a conditioner, make sure to thoroughly spray your horse with a coat spray.
Coat sprays come in many forms, but I will focus on three kinds. One is a leave in conditioning spray. This is your daily spray that keeps the coat healthy and well moisturized in order to maintain a lovely, natural glow. The second is your top coat or show spray. Be careful with these as they’re super slick, but can give you that last minute show shine. A little bit of baby oil on the nose and eyes can also be a beautiful effect. Thirdly, to be used once a week or so is a UV coat spray. These are fabulous to protect all of your hard work from sun damage. While keeping them inside during the day obviously protects them from the sun, I have personally found my black horse will fade just from the brief evening sun, morning sun, and hour or so I ride him midday.
Of course, there are many ways that one can have a beautiful coat. This doesn’t even begin to cover taking care of horses with skin problems or sensitive skin! But this is the personal method I have come up with to keep my show horses looking their best. Personally, a fabulous coat is a thing of pride and a labor of love. While I have shared one way of doing it I’m curious how other people tackle their coat care routines. This is obviously a summer method, and unless you live somewhere tropical in the winter there are other problems to be tackled on the opposite end of the year, but for now I’d love to hear how others tackle a bad summer bleach. Unless you like the early 2000s frosted tips look, to each their own.