You may have heard of coconut oil’s uses in the home, but what about its benefits to your horse’s coat? Here are the many reasons why it’s a good idea to keep a stock of coconut oil in the kitchen as well as the barn.
It Boosts Immunity
The state of your horse’s immune system is directly related to their coat’s appearance. A healthy immune system will be able to fight off many pesty invaders that can negatively affect coat health.
Coconut oil contains two sources of medium chain fatty acids: lauric acid and capric acid, which are also antiviral and antibacterial. These acids help thwart skin infections and even prevent future infections, too.
It Benefits Gut Health
Gut health has shown to have many connections with immune system health. The imbalance of bacteria in a horse’s gut can lead to the development of health issues that lead to a dull-looking coat.
Many horses with ulcers, colic, and other digestive health issues have been helped by coconut oil, which, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, offers relief as it fights infections and restores bacterial balance in the gut.
It Repairs Hair
In addition to the many health benefits of ingesting coconut oil, your horse’s coat can also benefit when coconut oil is applied to it directly. This is because coconut oil is very easily absorbed by their hair.
It Heals Wounds
Healthy skin is essential for a healthy coat, which is another reason to use coconut oil. This substance is easily absorbed by your horse’s skin, making it ideal for healing cuts and scrapes.
It Improves Hair Structure
In conditioning your horse’s coat, you’ll also notice a difference in the amount of hair they have. This is because coconut oil deeply moisturizes each strand of hair and promotes hair growth.
However, this also prevents hair loss by making it less brittle. As well, its anti-parasitic properties make it an ideal soother for painful bug bites that can result in hair loss.
It Helps to Control Moisture
Your horse’s coat is a constant target for bacteria, which typically don’t cause harm. Yet when exposed to moisture over long periods, skin bacteria can become imbalanced, causing damage.
Mud fever results from a horse’s legs being continually exposed to moisture; the condition causes hot and painful scabs to develop. The condition occurs when mud traps moisture near the skin. However, it can also be the cause of improper drying or over-washing of the legs, which can crack skin and cause painful cuts and lesions that invite bacteria.
Ensuring your horse’s legs aren’t washed too much, and are dried completely after washing, and that coconut oil is applied to the legs following washing will soothe, heal, and hydrate their skin. This supports a healthy-looking coat.
It Improves Digestion
A horse must be able to get the most nutritional benefit from their feed possible. Adding coconut oil to feed will:
- Help them become less sensitive to preservatives and other ingredients in feed.
- Eliminate allergic reactions and metabolic disorders that can damage coat health.
- Make it easier to digest and absorb medication by effectively masking unpleasant flavors.
- Help with weight gain.
- Be far more easily utilized than long chain fatty acids.
Giving Coconut Oil to Your Horse
Where canola oil, soy oil and other vegetable oils contain polyunsaturated fatty acids that are prone to rancidity, coconut oil’s medium chain triglycerides are not.
Coconut meal can be given as a treat and as a supplement for general coat maintenance. Apply it directly to condition hair and heal wounds, or feed it with rice bran oil for a cool energy source.
What follows are general recommendations for feeding coconut oil to horses:
- Older horses should receive 15 to 30 mL daily
- Pleasure horses should receive 30 to 50 mL daily
- Competition horses should receive 50 to 100 mL daily1
If conditioning your horse’s coat, mane, and tail, apply generously, using enough to completely coat the length of hair and working through each strand. Do this each day for up to six days, leaving the oil on each time.
Remove the oil from their coat on day five or six by washing well with soap. Then maintain thickness, softness, and shine by incorporating coconut oil into their daily grooming regimen.
Equi-Herbs’ premium quality coconut oil powder provides a multitude of skin and overall health benefits. To learn more about this and other natural equine health products, visit us online or call