Your horse works harder than you do—that’s a fact. While your four-legged pal won’t complain about all the activities they do every day, they depend on their riders, grooms, veterinarians, and caretakers to take care of them. Considering all their hard work, they deserve all the tender, loving care that you can give them.
You don’t need to have the most expensive horse to give them the mane and tail care they need. Taking care of an equine partner’s mane and tail requires much attention to detail and consideration of many factors, such as their diet, supplements, exercise level, daily activities, and the like. You should also remember that not all horses are genetically born to have a thick tail and mane, no matter what supplements, hair products, or tips and tricks you do. The secret to giving your equine pal the best-looking mane and tail is by working with what they have and giving them the best care you can give them.
Horse riding and equine care: a packaged deal
Imagine how your equine partner feels—staying in their stall, going out for a walk, doing activities with you, then you leave right after riding. Doesn’t that sound quite harsh?
Since you are a responsible and caring equestrian, you don’t simply use your equine—you should treat them as a very dear friend or part of your family, even! When you get into the world of horses, taking care of your four-legged pal ceases to be a chore and more of an act of love and service to them.
You are responsible for taking care of your horse
It takes a lot of time and effort to take care of an equine and, as a horse owner or rider, you know that because of the experience you’ve had with your riding pal. From brushing their mane to cleaning their face, any equestrian worth their salt has experienced grooming their riding partner.
While you might have a groomer to do the daily work of grooming your equine, doing it yourself sometimes goes beyond doing it for the experience. You deepen your knowledge over your riding partner, getting firsthand information about what they need. Daily care can greatly help prevent any health conditions from developing since you will notice it first,and this overall strengthens the bond between horse and rider. It shows your four-legged pal that they’re not just simply used for an activity or work, but you care about them so much to do it yourself.
Your horse’s hairy concerns: How to treat and types of products to use
When summer rolls around, you may have noticed that your equine’s hair isn’t as thick or as healthy as it normally is. According to the International Federation for Equestrian Sports or FEI, more hairy concerns happen during the summer because of the increase in your riding partner’s turnout time in warm weather. How do you spot the cause of these problems?
- Hair loss from rubbing
Keep a close watch on your horse while they’re grazing in the pasture or the stable—they may be rubbing off their hair. Rubbing can cause hair to wear off and fall, and this happens because your riding pal is bothered by dirt, fungus, or insects.
A good shampoo in the right areas will slough the dirt and sweat away, especially in the tailbone area, which is often overlooked.
However,if fungus, ticks, or insects are the reason behind your horse rubbing off their hair, a special shampoo that doubles as antifungal or insecticidal may stop the hair loss from happening. You can also use powder or oil to get rid of the parasites. Removing or padding any surfaces used by your equine to rub their body on is an option to stop them from doing it.
2. Allergic or adverse reaction to grooming or cleansing products
Over-shampooing your equine isn’t recommended because it strips off the hair’s protective oils. Much like humans, horses get skin allergies and are sensitive to products, too. If you observe any redness or irritation on your equine’s skin, or if they begin to rub or do something out of the ordinary to relieve their discomfort, observe them and trace back to what they could have been exposed to, including any products used on them.
If you suspect that their discomfort was brought about by such products, make the switch or consult with your veterinarian for an alternative one.
Going sulfate-free with your equine’s products is always an advisable choice, and experts suggest choosing products that match the climate of where your horse is. According to the US Equestrian Federation, riding pals living in dry climates need to focus on keeping the mane and tail moisturized, while those living in humid climates need to watch for buildup.
3. Hair loss due to nutritional deficiencies
When was the last time you looked at your riding partner’s diet? Healthy hair needs nutrients to look full and alive, and essential fats make locks look luscious!
While forage should be enough to provide your horse with the essential facts they need, not all forages are the same, so you might need to provide other sources. Good sources of fat would be those rich in Omega-3. Think chia seeds, canola oil, flaxseed, or a supplement to address this.
4. Tight braids, tangles, knots, or burrs
While braiding keeps your riding pal’s hair neat and free from breakage and tangles, too tight braids and hair-pulling makes it more prone to breakage. Other causes for knots, tangles, or burrs are unavoidable situations, such as the wind, mud, or catching onto things around them. Some causes can be avoided though, such as proper shampooing. Not to mention, when you try to untangle or remove knots or burrs from your equine partner’s mane or tail, that causes breakage, too.
Brushing with a wide-toothed comb from top-down helps get rid of tangles. Divide your equine’s mane or tail into sections to make the work more manageable. Using a leave-in conditioner will help in detangling and untying stubborn knots.
When you encounter burrs on your riding partner and combing and conditioning don’t work, you will need to apply a liquid wound treatment before you begin the combing and untangling process.
Take note: You don’t need to brush your equine’s mane and tail daily. Picking out any dirt or shavings and a good shaking of their tail will keep in the nutrients necessary for hair growth. Brush only after grooming or bathing.
5. Dry ends
If the ends of your equine’s mane and tail are looking scraggly and dry, it’s because the ends are more brittle compared to the rest of the hair strands. Pay closer attention to how it’s conditioned. The hair conditioner should be slathered on properly, putting more on the ends. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse it well and thoroughly.
6. Tail chewing
Thought to be a force of habit done by younger horses, it can be harmful if left unattended. Tack shops sell bitter substances that you can slather on your horse’s tail to stop them from chewing on it—don’t worry, it won’t harm your equine when swallowed!
Most of these solutions to your horse’s mane and tail take patience, time, and a bit of trial and error. Getting used to grooming your equine partner will take much work, but taking care of your horse is more than just proper hygiene and making them look presentable while riding or for a horse show.
When your equine partner is clean and healthy, that also translates to having better rides with them because they are comfortable and ready to be with you.
Grooming them also helps you spot any early symptoms of possible health concerns, so if you prevent those from happening, good hygiene essentially lengthens the lifespan of your riding partner, giving you more time to spend with them.
A healthy horse is a happy horse, and the best rides are with equine partners who enjoy your company. Wouldn’t you like to be around someone who takes care of you? When you take care of your riding pal, they will want to take care of you, too!
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