A healthy skin and coat is an important visual indicator of overall horse health. Most horse owners strive for a glowing, shiny coat, and many turn to coat supplements to help them achieve that. Skin and coat supplements are an easy way to ensure your horse is receiving the proper nutrients to improve skin and coat quality. There are hundreds of coat supplements, but before you run off buying any supplement, it’s important to know exactly what vitamin, minerals and ingredients contribute to maintaining a healthy and shiny horse coat. Here are the important ingredients to look for in your horse’s coat supplement.
Vitamin C is an essential cofactor in the formation and repair of collagen. Collagen is an important protein that keeps skin and coats nourished and healthy. Collagen is responsible for helping skin cells renew and repair themselves, and without vitamin C collogen could not be synthesized. Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of iron and calcium.
A powerful antioxidant: horses without access to green grass tend to be deficient in vitamin E. Low levels of vitamin E can contribute to dry, flaky skin, allergic reactions, and skin infections. Vitamin E protects polysaturated fats and other oxygen sensitive compounds, like vitamin A, from being destroyed due to oxidation.
Omega Fatty Acids
Omega-3 & -6 fatty acids are essential for skin and coat health. Omega-6 play an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system for resistance against skin infection, while omega-3 protects against inflammation and allergies. Omega fatty acids also aide in creating thicker, lush hair that is protected from breakage or falling out.
Zinc is a mineral that can decrease shedding in horses. It promotes follicle health, strengthening hair strands. Zinc also acts as an antioxidant, protecting from inflammatory skin reactions.
Biotin is one of the B vitamins. Most people relate biotin to hoof quality, but it can also be applied for use to improve skin and coat conditions. Not enough biotin can lead to dry, flaky skin, in addition to thin, brittle hair.
Although including these vitamins and minerals in supplements will help to maintain a healthy coat, no number of supplements will be able to suffice for proper nutrition. Even with supplements, proper nutrition is the foundation that every horse need in order to perform at its best. Ensuring your horse has access to either good quality pasture or hay is one of the best forms of nutrition.
Although exercise may not seem important when thinking about skin and coat health, having a routine exercise program can have many benefits for their coat health. When a horse exercised it sweats, stimulating the flow of sebum. Sebum is an oily, waxy substance that coat, moisturizes and protects skin. This oil helps the coat get its shine. Exercise also improves overall blood flow, better blood flow improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to skin. With time and as a horse becomes more fit the number of blood vessels increase so that the horse can experience nutrient flow to organs even when not exercising.
Every horse owner dream is to have their horses coat shine. Although grooming is important for coat health, ensuring your horse has proper nutrition to support the basic body functions for maintaining a healthy coat is even more important. With deficiencies in any of the minerals and vitamins listed above a horse will be missing out in key players that biologically and internally help support a healthy coat. Use the above tips to evaluate the health of your horses’ skin. When considering supplementation, remember to look for any supplements containing the above items.