So I've been feeding my horse flax and biotin as a supplement, and she has been rugged all winter. She's a paint, black and white, and her black patches are really black and shiny now from the lack of sun and retained oils I imagine. I'm starting to worry about the sun exposure now, as she can turn a diarrhea brown in the summer and her mane and tail get all maroon looking, lol. What can I give her to prevent this from happening? She's on 8 hour turnout in a huge field. I've looked at some supplements (i.e. Grand Coat, Black as Knight, etc.) I don't know that I like the idea of keeping her constantly rugged throughout the summer, (I'm thinking just a fly sheet with added UV protection as needed) but even this won't protect her mane and tail. What do you guys do?
Over rugging can have negative effects and I'm not a fan of rugging just for appearance. But I imagine a light, breathable fly sheet would have little effect, especially as it will be removed at night.
Flax, or cold pressed flax oil is a good supp. Biotin is a necessary nutrient which can be lacking in a horse's diet, so may need to be supplemented, but if the horse is getting adequate green forage, it's probably getting enough biotin without. But there are many other nutrients that are most likely lacking or imbalanced. Copper & zinc are 2 that are generally deficient & particularly relate to coat colour & quality.
Coat and hooves are extremities which reflect the health of the whole body. So *generally* I'm not into specific coat or hoof supps and favour overall balanced nutrition. This means it's a good idea to do at least a basic diet analysis, to work out what the horse is already getting & what's needed. I subscribe to an independent diet analysis program/service called FeedXL.com which is great value and help. I'm sure there are many other similar services if that one doesn't suit.
Ensuring the diet is healthy & nutrition well balanced will prevent sun bleaching to a large degree. There is a discussion on FeedXL at the mo regarding supps to darken coats tho.... starting with a well balanced diet. Apparently molasses in large doses(2 cups per day) is effective. **But this is not a healthy supp to give, as horses aren't designed to cope with a lot of sugar.... of which also effects coat & hooves badly. Sunflower seeds(at least 2 cups) are another thing that is suggested. They have a lot of fat in them & if you have an 'easy keeper', it was suggested that gamma oryzanol (an extract from rice bran oil) may be a good alternative.
Then once a day (morning is best) use this fly spray it has sunscreen in it. Is one of the better ones out there and more than likely your going to have to use fly spray anyway so why not use one with a sunscreen! And it does help! You might even just try the fly spray first to see if that is all you will need. Hope this helps! :)
HI loosie - thanks - do you know if you can get what ever is in molasses that keeps the horse black from something else? Could it be the copper - or more than that? It did work - my friend had her black horse ( just bought ) and he was the rusty red colour - she gave him a vit mol. Supp - a lot - ( maybe too much as she was new to horses) to try and put weight on (with other feeds) - he is jet black -could have also been the minerals and other stuff. Interesting though