One of the easiest benefits to recognize about regular grooming is the glossy shine that well groomed horses possess. A proper diet is also necessary, but a bit of elbow grease can make a huge difference! A horse receiving a basic diet and daily grooming will mostly likely shine over a horse receiving extra vitamins and no grooming.
The shine is thanks to oil glands located all over the horse’s skin. These glands are called sebaceous glands, and they secrete an oily substance known as sebum. Sebum coats hair follicles and skin to keep the skin and coat soft and moisturized. Not only does sebum give the hair coat a beautiful sheen, it also has antimicrobial properties and aids in temperature regulation.
When horses sweat during warmer weather, these natural oils emulsify the sweat to provide lathering properties that increase the body’s efficiency of evaporative cooling. When the muscles lift your horse’s hair to warm the body during cold spells, the sebaceous glands are also squeezed. The oils create a water resistant surface by repelling rain from skin and hair. Basically, your horse creates their own water-resistant blanket when it is cold and raining!
Each hair follicle has at least one sebaceous gland. Grooming your horse helps to distribute the oils throughout the entire body, bringing out that gloriously natural shine. You’ll also increase softness in the coat, assist in proper thermoregulation, and reduce the risk of bacterial infections on the skin by aiding in the spread of these natural oils over the body. Harsh shampoos should be avoided as they will remove the oil from your horse’s coat, eliminating these benefits!
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