Of Horse

Created by Horse enthusiasts for Horse enthusiasts

Nutrition’s Role in Horse's Coat Health
Facebook Tweet Google+ Pinterest Email More Sharing Options

Nutrition’s Role in Horse's Coat Health

There is always an improvement in coat quality when horses were supplemented with biotin.

Researchers have discovered that nutrients such as the B vitamin biotin benefit human hair and skin. In horses, studies on biotin have only been performed with regard to the hoof, says Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., an equine nutritionist for Kentucky Equine Research, in Versailles, Kentucky.

“One of those studies, however, anecdotally mentioned an improvement in coat quality when horses were supplemented with biotin,” she says.

The “tried and true” coat supplement over the centuries has been flax (linseed), says Crandell. The oil in flaxseed contains plenty of the “good” omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), as well as the more inflammatory ­omega-6 fatty acids, but in a lesser quantity. The body can convert ALA into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both of which are found in fish oil—hence, why many owners use this as a supplement for their horses’ skin and coat.

“Although there are no published research studies in horses on the impact of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on skin and coat quality, fish oil has been found to be particularly helpful for the treatment of skin conditions,” says Crandell. “Practically speaking, few owners and trainers would (say) that a horse’s coat does not improve with fat supplementation, be it corn oil, fish oil, flaxseed, or other ingredients with ­relatively high amounts of fat, such as full-fat soy that, according to studies involving subjective outcomes, improves coat quality. In the case of full-fat soy, it is probably the fat for the skin and the methionine for the hair in the soy that elicits the beneficial effects.”

Crandell cautions owners to add fat/oil to equine diets slowly and to not exceed 1 g per kilogram of body weight or the level that has a negative impact on the horse’s feed consumption.

Disclaimer: Of Horse! and sponsors do not endorse nor validate the accuracy of a blog post. Each article is the opinion of the blogger.

Yes! Send me a full color horse trailer brochure from Featherlite.

Thanks! Your brochure will be on its way shortly.

Leave a Comment

  1. jst4horses
    A good article. I hope everyone remembers to ASK YOUR VET before changing or adding anything to the diet of your horse. I also want to stress the need for PROPER grooming to create and keep a shiny coat. While everyone LOVES all kinds of special shampoos, and sprays, etc, good grooming is the most important thing besides good nutrition to keep a shiny coat. Horses in the wild roll in sand and mud, and rub on trees, and even groom each other with teeth and tongue. They are generally shiny and their coats are healthy when brought in for vaccines, etc on sanctuaries, or rescued from wild range where horses are being culled or removed. The first rule of good grooming is to throw out the advice and complaints of the book Black Beauty. Horse RUB their thousand pound bodies on trees, fences, and the ground, YOU pushing the hair the "wrong" way is NOT going to hurt that horse. Professional grooms, in racing, and performance barns ALL groom in circles and use both a curry comb and several types of brushes IF they know what they are doing. IF NOT, they have been SEEN spraying furniture wax on the horses before a race or event. While professionals shine products are generally not harmful, check with your vet before using them......or furniture polish. A little hoof oil goes a long way for shiny hooves before a race or event, again check with YOUR veterinarian before using any of these, or the good old homemade products. Fish oil and mineral oil are a good mix, and I have not had a veterinarian say NO to this mix, which comes from many companies in many names. Other old home remedies, not so much.......brush in the Karate Kid method........wax on, wax off.....circles going one way, then the other all over the horse, using brushes to clear the hair, and finish up..........this also gives YOU a chance to make sure there are no "heat spots" on your horse signifying some type of injury or infection and any spots that are sore to the touch, and may be injuries below the hide...............it also helps you have a better relationship with your horse.
    Log in to reply.

Sign Up to Vote!

10 second sign-up with Facebook or Google

Already a member? Log in to vote.