Horse Winter Coats: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
When it comes to winter coats, most of us think of the long hairs that end up down our shirts, up our noses, in our mouths and eyes, and all over the floor during springtime shedding. However, there’s more to a winter coat than shedding aggravation. If we want to better manage our horses’ winter coats, first we need to understand what they are and how they grow.
Hair functions as an important structure involved in thermal regulation, sensory perception, and as a barrier to chemical, physical, and microbial injury to the skin. The discussion of winter coats for horses must start with skin and hair growth/ composition in general. As we will see, the cycle of hair growth is complicated and influenced by multiple factors.
The skin is obviously the structure containing the hair follicles and is actually considered a body organ. A horse’s skin thickness varies from roughly 1.5 to 4.5 millimeters, depending on anatomical location. The horse’s thinnest skin is located in the external inguinal canal (i.e., the area around the sheath or udders) and parts of the face, while the thickest skin is on the back of the pasterns and lower
Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.
Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with