Poll Recap: Shedding Season

Poll Recap: Shedding Season

The majority of respondents said they groom their horse to help him shed his winter hair coat.

Photo: iStock

Spring usually brings along greener grass, longer daylight hours, warmer temperatures, and the return of insects. But bugs aren’t the only thing flying around in the spring air. The warmer season typically means horses start letting loose of their winter hair coat, leaving many owners covered in what seems like more hair than their four-legged charges after a thorough grooming.

Has the horse hair started flying in your barn yet? In last week’s online poll, we asked our readers how they help their horses shed their winter hair coats. More than 1,100 people responded and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 1,106 respondents, 866 (78%) said they curry or groom their horses to help them shed their winter hair coats. Another 44 individuals (4%) said they body clip their horses, while 22 respondents (2%) blanket their horses to encourage shedding. Some 17 respondents (2%) said they put their horse under lights to help them shed, 138 respondents (12%) let their horses shed their hair naturally, and 19 people (2%) use other methods.

Additionally, more than 60 people shared what helps their horse shed their winter hair coat: 

Many respondents said they rely on grooming or currying to help rid their horses of winter hair:

  • “I use a shedding blade and curry them. Builds great biceps!”
  • “Currying mostly.”
  • “Lots and lots of grooming and currying!”
  • “I curry/groom my horse twice a day, before and after each ride.”
  • “Regular grooming every day, and I wear more horse hair in the spring!”
  • “It's still freezing at night so I just groom and let it come out as it may.”
  • “I use a shedding blade and a vacuum.”
  • “I take my boy outside and comb/brush until I think my arms will fall off ... and let the hair fly!”
  • “Good old fashioned currying. It moves the hair from horse to groomer!”
  • “My horse is a late shedder, so currying and bathing do the trick.”
  • “I also use a shedding blade and sometimes a Furminator.”
  • “Lots of currying to help them along.”
  • “I would be lost without my shedding blade!”
  • “Lots and lots of grooming!”
  • “With a Furminator. She loves it.”
  • “Lots of owner sweat and hair flying while currying.”
  • “Just a good old fashioned grooming, a little every few days.”

A few said they used a combination of methods:

  • “We blanket the show horses and put them under lights. Otherwise lots of grooming!”
  • “Curry, curry, curry! (Along with infrequent baths when it's warm enough.) I also clip in November and February.”
  • “Mares go under lights but grooming and a spring bath with some oil help them shed out.”
  • “Shedding blade and lots of brushing; then when the weather warms up, clip.”
  • “Horses gradually returning to work get a currying/grooming. Otherwise, it's clip time!”

Some commented that they let their horse shed naturally:

  • “I use the natural shedding process, along with brisk currying.”
  • “At one time all of the above, now just let them shed on their own.”
  • “I let my horse shed naturally, though some of his hair does come out when I brush him before riding.”
  • “She sheds naturally, with normal grooming pre-ride daily.”

Others mentioned different methods they use to help their horses shed:

  • “Also 'scratching stations' in their track paddock!”
  • “After being stalled for five months they begin to go out in tall grass. Best way to lose the hair.”
  • “Also turn out where the horses can roll in the grass.”
  • “I feed 1/2 cup ground flax seed, a.m. and p.m. Seems to help and they shed out shiny to boot.”
  • “I feed an increased supplement of ground flax seed and chia seeds. It seems to increase shedding.”
  • “My sensitive Thoroughbred taught me to shed him with baths.”
  • “I also load up on the omega-3 and fatty acids.”
  • “I give liquid vitamin B 12”
  • “I also add a little oil to their feed.”
  • “Some clipping if necessary, especially the flank area.”
  • “Blankets all winter, but still have lots of winter hair to shed out.”

And others left general comments:

  • “I live in the mountains it can snow until the end of June.”
  • “I have PPID horses, one with early onset, I use spring grooming to monitor for shed issues.”
  • “We live in Arizona, north of Phoenix, the horse shed early, before the heat!”
  • “Everything has to be as natural as possible for the horse's sake.”
  • “I have elderly horses and they need help. The Cushings/IR pony is not turning loose and will clip.”
  • “I have a horse with PPID. Even with pergolide therapy she does not shed out her winter coat.”
  • “One we let shed naturally, grooming. One PPID horse we clip in early May. He’s on medication but it doesn't help him shed.”
  • “I have nervously watched my Cushing's horse shed naturally with curry comb help.”

You can find more information on horses’ winter hair coats, how to bring out the best in your horse's hair coat, basic grooming tools, grooming tips and tools from readers, what causes horse's hair to grow and shed, and more at TheHorse.com! 

This week, we want to know: How often are your horses' hooves trimmed and/or shod? Vote now and share your comments at TheHorse.com/polls

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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