Summer Haircoat Tips

A guide to ensure your horse’s hair coat stays healthy all summer long.
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Summer Haircoat Tips
A summer coat in top condition gleams, and the hairs lie smoothly in a single plane. | Photo: iStock
Summertime, and the horse’s coat should shine. Under the lights of the show ring or in the sunlight in pasture, a well-cared for horse displays the bloom of health. A summer coat in top condition gleams, and the hairs lie smoothly in a single plane. When you see a horse with a good coat, you will need to stand closer than four feet to be able to discern the pattern of individual hairs that make up the coat. The coat should be a rich, full color. A chestnut, bay, black, or sorrel coat will shimmer as it reflects light.

Coat Growth and Replacement

Skin and hair are epithelial tissue, which protect the horse as well as making him beautiful. Hair grows out of a follicle, or a tiny pit in the skin. Follicles originate in the dermis, the tissue layer below the epidermis (outer layer of skin). A hair passes through the follicular sheath to the skin surface.

The active, or anagen, phase of hair growth occurs when a follicle produces a hair shaft. In the resting, or telogen, phase, the hair is complete. The root separates, and eventually a new hair grows and dislodges the old one.

A single hair has a hair root, which anchors it, and a hair shaft. Hair itself is protein (keratin). Keratin is the same protein that makes up the hoof

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Written by:

Award-winning writer Charlene Strickland lives in Bosque Farms, N.M. She has published 8 books and over 600 magazine articles, and is a member of the International Alliance of Equestrian Journalists.

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