What Do I Need to Feed My Horse for a Shiny Coat?

shiny coat

Are you dreaming of a head-turning, healthful and shiny coat for your horse? A glowing coat is a symbol of health and must be nurtured from the inside out with correct and balanced nutrition. However, the steps to a shiny coat don’t end there.

In this article, we share our top three tips for show-ready shine.

Tip 1: Nutrition

A well-balanced diet is a cornerstone of your horse’s health. For a vibrant coat, their diet should be rich in fibre and fat, fortified with vitamins and minerals, and low in sugar.

Forage in the form of hay and pasture should be fed at a minimum of 1.5% of total body weight per day. For the competitive horse, consider a complete feed with added vitamins and minerals; for the easy-keeper, a ration balancer is recommended to avoid unwanted calories.

To further enhance your horse’s shine, a quality high-fat oil that’s safe for horses, such as stabilised rice bran, can be supplemented. In addition, provide your horse with unlimited access to fresh, clean drinking water and promote water intake with salt granules or a salt block.

Tip 2: Health Care

A rough, dull coat is often one of the first signs of poor health. A well-balanced diet, as described above, must be supported with regular veterinary care throughout the year.

De-worming, dental and hoof health are paramount in promoting health and wellbeing. In partnership with your veterinarian, develop a health care plan for your horse to protect them from preventable health conditions that deplete their coat’s natural shine.

If you notice your horse’s coat is losing its glow, consult your veterinarian to determine if it’s linked to an underlying health problem. A rough, dull coat is a common symptom of parasites, difficulty chewing or digesting food, gastric ulcers and metabolic conditions.

Tip 3: Daily Groom

Lastly, the final step to that enviable shine is in your hands. A vigorous daily groom will remove excess hair, dirt and dry skin to reveal a brilliant shine ready for the show ring.

Using a curry comb, followed by a body brush, grooming stimulates the coat’s natural oils to produce a healthful, shiny coat. To shield your horse’s coat from harmful UV rays and preserve your hard work, a lightweight fly sheet is suggested during daytime turnout.

By grooming your horse daily, you will also be alerted to any bites, injuries or skin conditions that diminish coat quality. To promote optimum coat health, avoid harsh shampoos and sprays, limit unnecessary bathing, and rinse and disinfect grooming brushes regularly.


  • Dr Louise Cosgrove

    The founder of Exclusively Equine Veterinary Services, Louise is driven to support horses in their recovery from injury or illness. A graduate of the University of Queensland, with international equin...

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