So Biology Brain, horses shed their hair just like humans do..
It is normal, it is natural and it is healthy that it happens.
There are times during the year where I know more hair is lost than others, then times where hardly a hair is lost..
So completely losing a horse's mane is normal
? Obviously horses shed some times. However, most horses don't lose their entire mane (and/or tail) down to bare skin *ever
*, but some Curlys do. It may be 'natural
' but it most definitely isn't healthy
. In fact, Curly Horse breeders have been attacked for being 'abusive' for continuing to breed horses with extreme characteristics or even just sparse manes and tails or annual shedding of manes and tails. So, I'd say most of the horse world disagrees with you that horses losing the majority or entirety of their manes and tails is normal or healthy.
But now you have found that by changing her food products you notice a improvement in her hair growth.
You also clean and maintain her skin and coat with enriching products made for human use and treatment of specific kinds of skin condition. Topical care but not lasting..
This was my experience with my particular horse. Cocoa butter is not relegated to only human use by the way. I said it's similar
to what I've use daily for my daughter's eczema, not the same. I buy plain cocoa butter and make my own lotion out of it along with some coconut oil...it's a great skin conditioner for horses, dogs, cats, bunnies, and people. It's not specific for any skin condition. In fact I believe I've read several instances of people on HF recommending coconut oil both topically and orally to promote healthy coats & skin.
I only mentioned my daughter's eczema and topical treatment of it because it is similar IMO to what happens to some horses' skin--particularly Curlys and possibly Appys (I don't know a whole lot about why Appys have sparse manes & tails genetically, but research is ongoing into Curlys' special coats and skin). Their skin and hair has been shown scientifically to be different in general to the average horse. FWIW my daughter was born with eczema and allergies to foods and environmental issues. Her skin will probably always be sensitive and require topical treatment to make her comfortable no matter what she eats or supplements she takes. Trust me, if I could find the perfect skin diet to eliminate her eczema, I would, but according to specialists there isn't one. Some diets/supplements help some people, but not everyone. Why shouldn't the same be true of horses with skin/hair issues?
The topical treatments decrease the itchiness which in turn leads to healthier skin because the skin isn't so irritated by the constant scratching. The topical treatments sometimes even soften and thin the thickened skin caused by the irritation, scratching, and symptom of eczema. yes, sometimes topical treatment has to be done continuously or there is a relapse, but that doesn't mean the topical treatment isn't beneficial. It just means the condition is ongoing and sometimes may never disappear. I didn't think it was that out of line to image the same thing could be true of horses.
I guess I shouldn't have offered my mare's case. Although I do know that in her breeder's meticulous care for feeding her corn/grain free, she still needed extra help topically or else she'd shed her entire mane and part of her tail. Her breeder had good luck using coconut oil and lavender essential oil as a topical in addition to
balanced nutrition. Nutrition alone wasn't enough to maintain her hair/skin's health. I personally added cocoa butter to the mix because of my positive experience using it with my daughter.
It's a 2-pronged approach that is sometimes required and often people are already thoroughly nourishing their horse, but they don't know that some topical support is beneficial IMO. Nothing topical is going to really 'promote' hair growth, but topicals can
allow for better
skin/hair growth by reducing irritation of scratching and conditioning/softening the skin itself. Topicals can address certain practically invisible issues of the skin/hair and allow
skin/hair to grow in more healthy. In other words, sometimes topicals can do what nutrition can't--address the external factors limiting skin/hair growth. Often these topicals aren't your simple grooming that most horse people do. Sometimes a more in depth approach is needed and one of those was in the links from my previous posts.
BTW I've had numerous horses throughout the years and some had thick manes/tails, others had average manes/tails, and others had thin manes and tails. I've never owned a horse like my current mare that annually loses her mane and part of her tail. I've done a lot of research into the issue in addition to the research I did for my daughter's skin condition. To me the parallels are intriguing and some overlap is bound to happen.