Horse Coat Supplements
For horse owners, a horse’s coat is a good indicator of overall health. One of the many rewards of providing a well-balanced diet with the inclusion of horse coat supplements is enjoying the beauty of your horse’s rich lustrous coat. When there is a nutritional deficiency or hormonal imbalances your horse may present with a dull, rough and sparse coat.
A horse’s coat has many important functions, not only as part of the largest organ, the skin but also on its own. It is the first line of defence year round against the elements, insects and dirt. It adapts to the ambient environment, thinning in time for the hot weather and lengthening to provide insulation in the winter. It provides protection to ultraviolet light; it is involved in sensory perception and the transportation of pheromones.
Horses that live outdoors year-round will have five distinct hair coats throughout their lifetime: birth coat, foal coat, yearling coat, adult summer coat and adult winter coat. Equine body hair does not grow continuously, but rather in cycles. The growing cycle: where the hair follicle is actively growing and the resting cycle: when the mature hair is simply retained in the follicle. After the resting cycle is the shedding phase (Wajuri et al, 1999).
A horse’s coat is made up of millions of hairs, each consisting of three distinct layers. Hair grows from follicles that originate deep in the dermis layer and pass through the epidermis to the skin surface. Hair follicles require energy to replenish; poor nutrition has a significant effect on both the quality and quantity of hair growth (Wajuri et al, 1999). Including horse coat supplements ensure healthy hair follicle growth. If you were to look at a cross-section of an equine hair shaft under the microscope, you would discover the following layers:
- Medulla: the tiny core of the hair shaft. The medulla is filled with loosely packed cells that shrink when dehydrated, leaving air spaces. In general, the diameter of the medulla determines the diameter of the hair. The mane and tail have larger medullas than thinner coat hairs.
- Cortex: provides the bulk of the equine hair shaft. This layer is 85% keratin, a fibrous protein that also makes up the hoof walls. These protein fibres are long and parallel and cross-linked for strength. The cortex also contains water, fats, melanin and minerals.
- Cuticle: the outermost layer of the hair shaft. It is made up of overlapping cells that give it a rough, almost scaly surface. The cuticle anchors the hair shaft in the follicle.
Many vitamin and minerals have a direct impact on the health and shine of a horse’s coat. Horses that are consuming adequate energy to maintain appropriate weight can still be deficient in vitamin, minerals, fats and protein required to support a shiny coat. Including horse coat supplements that contain fatty acids, zinc, biotin, Methionine, Lysine, copper and vitamin A will have a positive impact on your horse’s coat.
Ranvet’s Grand Prix Oil is an ideal source of cool energy with an optimal ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids (1:3), which provides beneficial anti-inflammatory properties as well as enhancing coat, shine and condition, making it an ideal horse coat supplement. The inclusion of natural garlic oil may assist the immune system and repel biting insects.
Additionally, Ranvet’s Ration Balancer is a concentrated supplement providing a balanced combination of essential vitamin and minerals to optimise performance, health and vitality. Supplementation of 30-60 grams per day will ensure a balanced nutritional spectrum of vitamins and minerals is provided to your horse. The formulation of this unique product was derived from scientific research and the identification of common nutrient deficiencies following evaluation of over 300 rations.
Source: Wakuri, H., Mutoh, H., Ichikawa, B., 1995. Microscopic Anatomy of the Equine Skin with Special Reference to the Dermis. Vet Clin North Am Equine Pract 27, 163-170