1. Regular cleaning
Loose hairs should be removed every day with hard curry combs, brushes or similar aids that are specially designed for coat change. The massaging action additionally stimulates circulation of the skin and reduces itching caused by shedding or coat regrowth.
2. Supplementation with trace and bulk elements
Besides getting a balanced basic daily diet, which should above all include sufficient hay, a horse may require extra zinc, B vitamins, folic acid or iron at coat change. These substances should only be added in consultation with your vet in order to support the metabolism of the skin to optimum effect.
3. Avoid additional stress
Routine treatments such as worming cures, vaccinations or bite corrections requiring sedation should be ideally performed before or after coat change is complete.
4. Support the immune system
The additional stress on the metabolism may well weaken the immune system of horses that are old or chronically ill. Try to prevent this by offering timely support in the form of zinc, B vitamins and folic acid.
5. Investigate any alarm signals promptly
Weight loss, major muscle wasting, changes of coat that are slow or more or less absent can all be signs of serious disease. Do not fail to consult a vet in such cases.
6. Take coughs seriously
Horses tend to cough at coat change. Besides offering additional or preventive supplements of special herbal mixtures (ideally in liquid form), you should have any symptoms of respiratory disease lasting more than a week investigated by your vet. 7. Moderate exercise As the equine metabolism is working at top speed during coat change, many horses will experience a slump in performance at this time. Regular exercise will however crank up the metabolism and should therefore be ensured on a daily basis. 8. Fresh air and daylight As a horse’s change of coat is largely regulated by exposure of the pupils to light, animals having difficulty with this should spend plenty of time outdoors to stimulate the metabolism of the skin by natural means.
Vet Dr Caroline FRITZ