Nature can often use a little nurturing. Whether your horse is losing hair to breakage, rubs or scrapes, you do well to promote healthy growth of strong hair. By working *with Mother Nature,* you can readily resolve and avert pervasive problems.
Nutrition. Any horse should have a well balanced diet. The trend is to over supplement, which has disadvantages. Simple and complete can do the trick. I find the bigger issue is that people inadvertently create conditions INHOSPITABLE to healthy hair growth.
First, this is what INHIBITS GROWTH:
- Dry skin cannot support healthy roots nor hair. Most shampoos, detanglers and even leaving sweat on skin can diminish hair growth. Rubs can get started because skin and/or equipment is dirty. Even sweat left on boots or girths can make hair brittle and skin delicate. Many topicals dry the skin. They may kill #fungus or germs, but they leave skin more susceptible to them as well as slow the healing process dramatically. Furizone and many common topicals are known to actually inhibit healing.
- Clogged pores. Most topicals that claim to promote hair growth are oily or greasy. That means if they clog pores and attract sun and dirt, they’ll dry out skin, parching roots. Weak roots can only grow fragile hair.
- Detanglers coat hair, and in my experience, clog pores. Both make hair brittle, prone to breakage and less apt to support healthy growth.
To PROMOTE GROWTH:
- STIMULATE NATURAL OILS and exfoliate to release them. For the body, that means vigorously using a curry on the body, and a mitt on the face and legs every day, before and after work. For the #mane and #tail, use a medium or stiff brush in lots of short, quick strokes over the top of the crest and dock (tail bone), before and after work. Brush the crest from one side and then the other. Using a dandy brush in short quick strokes over the top of the dock helps as well. When bathing the mane and tail, scrub well with your fingers to stimulate the skin and exfoliate so natural oils can be released to fortify the hair.
- CAREFULLY CHOOSE your products. In my experience, products with sodium chloride (salt, found in most shampoos) and silicone (found in most detanglers and shine agents) are the worst culprits. Stay away from oily fly sprays that attract the sun. Spot removers with alcohol (most of them) are also problematic.
- CLEAR THE PORES. High goal polo grooms know that horses with clean skin work much more efficiently on many levels. They even cool down faster, which means less salt/sweat to take off the coat. Bottomline: well groomed horses are healthier.
- FEED THE ROOTS. Hair growth starts below the skin. Instead of stripping oils, you can enhance them with Lucky Braids All-In-One #Shampoo. It also makes hair and skin more supple/resilient while eliminating most stains, skin disease and itching. High goal polo manager Kelly Fink attests that after she switched to Lucky Braids All-In-One Shampoo, horses that always had boot rubs, did not anymore. Their skin was clearly less delicate; more resilient.
- FLOW FREELY. Once oils are stimulated and released, movement of manes and tails pulls the natural protective oils down hair shafts to strengthen them. As a braider, I know leaving braids in can make hair brittle. Have you found that frizzy hair is dry? Oils don’t travel well over kinks in hair. So, I am a firm believer in letting hair move lots. The way it moves best is to use Lucky Braids Shampoo and comb the hair wet as outlined here. If you follow our program, you WON’T NEED DETANGLER NOR CONDITIONER. The hair will want to separate and NOT MAKE RINGLETS. While I advocate daily maintenance, grand prix grooms that use our system say they can just shake out shavings for a week. Long hair is easy to maintain and grows really well. It will even be so fluffy, that some some have foregone their fake tails. Yes, a conformation hunter from California was able to change from going in a fake tail to just using Lucky Braids Shampoo. It's VOLUMIZING. The difference is clean in just one bath. The key is to comb the tail while wet. Wet hair stretches, so it is more forgiving. Organize hair to the roots as outlined in the link. When dry, it will look bigger and be more flowing.
If you need you need the tail to drag on the ground, instead of leaving it braided, I recommend using loose figure eight knots, as the reiners do to keep it up off the ground.
Ruthann Smith has spent a lifetime studying sound horsemanship- both as a groom for top international horses and as a renowned braider. Quietly twisting manes atop a ladder, she watched and learned in some of the best stables in the world.
As her passion for great grooming grew, Ruthann became focused on researching, collecting and sharing the best practices of the world’s keenest horsemen. Ultimately, Ruthann used her vast experience to develop exceptional equine grooming products to help raise the bar of horsemanship.
The knowledge she dispenses and the products Ruthann developed solve age-old grooming issues. Making quality horse care easier, they have received the highest honors in the equine industry*. Her Lucky Braids for Top Turnout coat care and braiding products are the best, most versatile, cost-effective and easiest solutions available on the market today.
Now Ruthann offers her LOVE, LOVE Guarantee. If not totally thrilled with a product she developed, Ruthann will refund you in full, regardless of where you purchased it.
It’s her life’s mission to empower horses by educating, motivating and equipping their people to be true horsemen. You can access Ruthann’s tips at: The Grooming Resource on LuckyBraids.com, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and her Horsemanship Clinics.
*After testing 350 products, Lucky Braids All-In-One Horse Shampoo was named product of the year by Horse Journal, the “Consumer Reports” of the industry. They also named Lucky Braids Shampoo and Whitener Spray Top Pick for greys and whites. Lucky Braids specialized braiding yarn also got stellar reviews.