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It’s a strenuous time for our horses and their immune systems:
But what actually happens during moulting?
In shedding their coats, our horses are reacting to the seasonal changes in our climate. At our latitudes, we are subject to a somewhat strong seasonal change of day length and climate conditions. The vegetation, and thus the availability of food, changes throughout the course of the year. A horse’s thick winter coat serves as insulation from the cold during this cool, low-vegetation season and also counteracts energy losses.
However, when temperatures rise again, a thick coat makes it more difficult for the skin to release heat. The horse’s entire organism then adapts to the warmer season and uses some of its last available capacities for moulting. The summer coat is much thinner in comparison to the winter coat, and is usually a lighter colour. Summer coats also protect against heat radiation, as the coat partly reflects radiation. However, the coat’s length and thickness adapt to the seasons very slowly. The only quick adaptations possible are when the hair stands up in cold temperature (pilo-erections). These standing hairs increase the layer of air between the hairs, which provides added insulation.
Moulting is subject to a complex interplay of different hormones which can influence hair length, thickness, colour and growth rate to different degrees. Moulting is controlled mainly by the changing length of daylight as the seasons change.
Moulting is associated with high metabolism. In the spring, after the barren winter months, resources and reserves are somewhat scarce. Such a strenuous metabolic feat also puts stress on the immune system. Healthy and well-balanced horses usually have no problems with moulting However, one will notice the changes with older, sick or undernourished horses. With them, moulting happens more slowly, their coats remains dull, the horses are very weak and listless.
A high-quality feeding is crucial to your horse’s health, especially at times of increased metabolism like during moulting. The foundation for this is sufficient high-quality base feed. Pre Alpin® Wiesencobs, Pre Alpin® Wiesenflakes, Pre Alpin® Aspero, Pre Alpin® Compact and AGROBS AlpenHeu can be used to enhance the value of roughage.
In order to support our horses in this phase of the year, pay special attention not only to a sufficient (but neither excessive) energy supply, but also to the supply of nutrients. AGROBS Natural Mineral supplies your horse with all important nutrients in a natural and balanced way. Our tip: double the daily ration for approx. 3 weeks during moulting. If your horse is already getting on in years, AGROBS Seniormineral is just the thing. AGROBS Seniormineral is the perfect nutritional feed supplement tailored to the increased needs of older horses. AGROBS Seniormineral is not just for senior horses: all horses with increased needs – for example during growing years or pregnancy – can benefit.
For a supplement during moulting, a trace-element booster like AGROBS Spurenelemente pur works especially well. This is especially recommended if the base feed is somewhat low in nutrients or the horse wasn’t regularly given a mineral feed before.
If you want to give your horse zinc during moulting or if your horse has a zinc deficiency, we recommend AGROBS Zink pur. Zinc supports not only moulting but also your horse’s immune system.
High-quality oils with Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids supplement the ration. These strengthen the immune system while providing a high-quality source of energy for horses who need it, for example poor doers. Cold pressed linseed oil has a balanced Omega - 3 and - 6 fatty acid - ratio and is easily digestible by horses.
As a detoxing organ, the liver is somewhat burdened during moulting through the processing of waste products. Feeding your horse herbs is a natural way to cleanse and regenerate the liver. We recommend BERGSIEGEL herbs for the liver as a 3 - 4 week treatment programme during moulting.
Bergsiegel black cumin seeds help to support the immune system and also counteract skin problems. Bergsiegel rosehip powder is high is vitamin C, a natural antioxidant to strengthen the immune system.
Dr. med. vet. Katharina Boes
Qualified veterinarian Theresa Bockhorni
September 2015 ©AGROBS GmbH
(* The references refer to the technical content of the text and not to the product recommendations.)