As the summer months are right around the corner, so are sun bleached coats! In this special post I'll be sharing with you guys some tips and tricks I have found to combat sun bleaching. I personally have my horse turned out at night to prevent it, but if you don't have access to a stall during the day or do pasture board, there should be some great info in here for you! These tips also work in the winter, especially if your horse is body clipped!
What is sun bleaching?
To kick things off, let's address what sun bleaching even is. The coat will dull and dry out as a result of the salt of sweat combined with the strong UV rays from the sun. While every coat color is susceptible, the darker the coat, the more noticeable the bleaching will be. With that being said, let's get started with some helpful hints for bleach prevention and coat care!
UV-Rated Sheets can serve as a physical barrier to the harsh UV rays of the sun on your horse's coat. These sheets come with and without a hood, depending on the level of protection that you want. Using a sheet in the earlier months of the summer will keep the coat from damage and build its strength. It is recommended that you start using the sheet in May. My only worry with this is that if you live in a hot humid climate, if the sheet isn't breathable enough, it could build up heat, but most name brands have very breathable and lightweight sheets. Another benefit is that the sheet can also protect against bugs and flies on your horse's coat.
I personally have never tried this before, but sunscreen sprays are used to prevent the coat from fading. For the spray to work best, it should be applied at least once every day. SmartPak carries a highly rated Sunflower Suncoat SPF if you are looking for a place to get started.
There are numerous coat care supplements that will enhance your horse's coat year around, but it has been studied that copper and zinc deficiencies have been linked to coats lacking intensity. Copper is necessary for the health of skin and other connective tissue to thrive. A lack of copper in the coat can give off a sun bleached look without being actually sun bleached. Supplements can be a great way to boost your horse's coat, but just be sure to look at the ingredients and make sure they are all legal for USEF competitions if you plan to do that:)
Tackle the summer months with confidence!