It is said that what’s on the outside is often a reflection of what is inside. With horses, the saying is quite true. A horse’s coat and mane are a reflection of the animal’s inner health and an indicator of proper diet and care. 

The proper diet will make a horse’s coat soft and shiny and the mane and tail long and smooth. A diet lacking in key vitamins and minerals will cause its coat to appear dull and its hair brittle and prone to tangles. 

So what key nutrients should you give your equine in order for him or her to grow a soft, flowing mane and a smooth, shiny coat? Here are a few examples and how they promote healthy hair growth:

Fats: Recent studies have shown that the addition of fatty acids, found in corn, soybean oil, or rice bran, have a great effect on both hair growth and overall durability. However, the overuse of some of these supplements has also been linked to a higher risk of developing allergies among equines. Some veterinarians recommend flaxseed as a safer alternative to corn or soybean oils.

Protein: Proteins are the building blocks of skin, muscle, and a healthy coat. They promote hair growth and hair durability, leading to a less brittle mane. A protein deficiency will manifest itself in many different areas such as strength, muscle tone and the quality of the skin and coat. A protein deficiency problem can be corrected simply through the use of a feed with higher protein content or through protein supplements.

Vitamins and key minerals: Overall vitamin health is essential to all aspects of equine health. For example, a lack of vitamin E can affect a horse’s metabolism which can lead to poor hair growth. This can be helped either through an overall vitamin supplement, mineral blocks, or even just change to a feed with a better vitamin and mineral quality.

It is important to understand how your equine’s diet and overall vitamin and mineral health affect the look and feel of the coat and the strength of the mane and tail. Any changes to the horse’s diet should be taken with the best of caution and only with the advice of your veterinarian and equine nutritionist. Horses have a very sensitive digestive system and disruptions in diet have been known to cause digestive problems. A simple blood test can determine the exact nature of any deficiency and determine the best course of action.



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