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  • Writer's pictureDr Michael Porter DVM

Making Your Horse's Coat Shine

Headed to a big show? Or maybe you want your horse's coat to shine? Noticing it's a bit lack-luster as of late?

Get the shine and dapple you see in magazines and Olympic competitions. Here are a few tips to get you started.

5 Tips to Make Your Horse's Coat Shine

From balanced feedings to grooming to de-worming to vinegar, we have a few tricks up our sleeves to make your horse's coat shines bright.

1) Keep a Balanced Diet

A horse's outward beauty starts with its insides. A horse who lacks proper nutrition and fats will not have a sleek, dappled coat.

Horses need proper levels of Vitamin D, Vitamin E, zinc, fats, and proteins — just like humans. Maintaining a balance of these will keep your horse healthy, happy, and shiny.

Looking for an extra boost? Consider incorporating supplements that help your horse's coat or adding oils (like omega 3 and omega 6) to their food. However, before making any significant changes to diet check-in with your vet as sudden dietary changes can have adverse health effects.

2) De-Worm Your Horse

Nothing sucks out the shine of your horse's coat like intestinal parasites.

When unwelcome intestinal parasites overload your horse's intestinal tract, they are not keeping all of the essential nutrients from their diets. What should go towards maintaining a healthy coat goes to the intestinal parasites’ diet.

But, that's the least of your worries when intestinal parasites are present in your horse's system.

Make sure you have your horse on a regular de-worming schedule.

3) Groom. Groom. And More Grooming.

Woman Grooming a Horse, Making Your Horse's Coat Shine

Making your horse's coat shine takes a little work and elbow grease.

Regular grooming sessions remove dirt, dust, and grime while also stimulating the production of oils that condition coats. But, a simple brush over won't count.

You should be using a curry-comb or curry-mitt to get in deep and remove all the dirt from your horse's body. Be mindful of any sensitive areas like the face and legs, as well as any abrasions or cuts. For those areas, a soft brush will do.

4) Don't Bathe Too Much

Especially in the heat of the Florida summer, a rinse and bath are necessary to get off all of the sweat and to cool your horse down.

But, if you find yourself reaching for the soap every time, you could notice a decrease in your horse's shine. While an occasional bath is right for your horse, regularly bathing with soaps strip the coat of its natural oils at a rate that they cannot reproduce.

So, stick to actual baths only once or twice a week.

5) Use Coat Conditioners

You can find coat conditioners at every tack store, all designed and promising to make our horse's coat shine. And most deliver. It's about finding the one that works for you and your horse.

Notice that your horse isn't reacting well to over-the-counter horse conditioners? Or they have a known skin sensitivity? Give vinegar a try!

Before dumping an entire bottle on your horse, you need a dash. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar to a bucket of warm water and apply with a sponge or cloth. If your horse is usually quite sensitive, apply in a small area first before using on their entire body.

Making your horse's coat shine doesn't have to be hard. In fact, the base comes from a healthy diet and de-worming — something you should already be doing and providing. The rest is down to a little elbow grease.

Have questions about your horse's coat or diet? Give us a call at 352-258-3571 or visit

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