The long & short
The secret to bringing out your horse’s natural shine lies in understanding how his hair grows.
The color of your horse’s coat is so integral to his identity that it’s usually the first thing you mention when describing him: A chestnut mare. A palomino Quarter Horse. A leopard Appy.
But there’s so much more to the equine coat than color. A horse’s hair has important functions, both as part of his largest organ---the skin---and on its own. A year-round barrier to insects and the elements, the coat thins in time for hot weather and grows long enough to provide insulation in the winter. The equine coat is a marvel of adaptation.
For horse owners, a horse’s coat plays another important role---it’s a good indicator of his overall health. One of the rewards of taking good care of your horse is enjoying the beauty of his rich, lustrous coat. On the other hand, a dull, rough or sparse coat can be an early sign of illness, nutritional deficiency or hormonal imbalances.
Naturally, you want your horse to look good. But when working to make his coat gleam, it helps to take into account the structure and function of its hairs and the physiology behind its luster. Here’s a closer look at the science behind the shine.