Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fixing an Equine Bad Hair Day

With horses being horses, the only time when you are likely to see a large section of rumpled hair on your horse will be on a show morning. Depending on how your horse lies down overnight, the hair can get bent backwards and if it stays that way, you'll be faced with a fuzzy-looking patch of hair that won't brush back to straightness. Left as is, this will detract from the sleek, shiny coat that you've worked so hard to produce for the show ring.

Thankfully, the solution is easy, though it needs to be done early enough to give the hair time to dry before your classes.

Like human hair, horse hair reverts to straightness when it's wet. The solution, therefore, is to wet the hair, brush it straight and then brush it again once it has dried (a really bad case might benefit from an additional brushing or two while it's still a bit damp).

If you've ever tried wetting the hair and haven't found any improvement, odds are that you didn't wet it thoroughly enough. The hair needs to be soaked down to the skin, coating the entire shaft, so it requires either a sponge that hasn't been wrung out, or a bath. If you have a grey horse, rumpled hair shouldn't be a problem because your morning bathing routine should easily take care of it. If your horse doesn't require a full bath, just take a clean sponge saturated with clean water and really scrub it into the area.

Once the hair is wet, brush the hair straight with a stiff brush. The stiffness will allow the bristles of the brush to reach down to the entire length of the hair. Depending on the severity of the bent hair, you might need to brush it straight again a few times while it's drying and then give it a final smoothing out once it has dried fully.

If you're in a hurry to get to your class you can spray some rubbing alcohol onto the wet spot to help speed up the drying process. If you're in no rush, the alcohol is unnecessary and is likely to do more harm than good by drying out the hair and skin.

If the bent hair is a result of the horse rubbing against the wall or a bucket, the hair can be more damaged than it would have been from the horse simply lying down on it, and it might therefore require the wetting process to be repeated to bring the hair back to its former straightness.

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