A shiny coat is something all horse owners desire. It`s one that can be achieved by good overall health, a balanced diet, and lots of elbow grease!
One thing that has come back into fashion is linseed, which I think is partly to do with it`s association with turmeric.
My Mum always fed oil to my ponies to help their coats, but I must admit it dropped off the radar as I got older and she became less involved.
For my stage 1 and 2 exams we learnt to recite the fact that linseed oil is an excellent for of slow-release energy, being highly nutritious and rich in protein and oils. But when raw it is poisonous to horses.
Traditionally linseed was fed as jelly or tea. The process was long and tedious as the linseed needs to be soaked overnight before being boiled and then simmered for up to six hours. Once cooled it can be fed to the horses. The difference between linseed jelly and linseed tea is the amount of water in the mixture; tea is much more watery.
Nowadays of course, we can buy linseed already prepared so it can be fed directly to our horses. It can be in a powder, an oil, or in pellet form. This of course makes it much more appealing to horse owners.
For Otis, I already buy alfa-a with added oil to help provide him with slow release energy, to help his stamina. I did go to the feed merchant to buy linseed, but they didn`t have the Lincoln pellets, which is the one my Mum found the most beneficial, so I ended up buying a general “winter shine supplement” which also contains seaweed, fenugreek and garlic, providing a broad spectrum supplement as well as the benefits of linseed. One bonus of this supplement is that it comes in a bag, so is very eco-friendly, as so many supplements come in large tubs which can either be used by the organised man in his shed, or thrown away by many.
But linseed isn`t purely the answer to getting a good shine on our horse`s coats. Regular grooming and good use of rugs also benefit them. I like my cactus mitt to remove any scurf from the coat and then the body brush to finish off. It doesn`t have to be a long groom, but rather frequent and efficient – i.e. clean brushes and putting some effort into it!