It’s getting closer to spring and the horses are shedding their winter hair, offering a hot commodity for the birds. Yes, that’s right, we said birds. Looking around the other day, I couldn’t help but notice all the green beginning to appear in the pastures. The horses love it when they can begin getting those little sprigs of green grass that are popping up all over. It’s impossible to not hear the birds as they are singing joyfully and preparing for their nesting. This is where your Missouri Fox Trotter comes in. How many of us feel like we have come in the house with more horse hair on us than our horses have on them after we have brushed them off this time of year? Yes, it’s shedding time.
Not only is the weather getting warmer as spring approaches, but the days are getting longer which is actually the reason for the shedding process to begin. The pituitary glad is responsible for a horse to shed as it recognizes the change in daylight hours. You can actually help speed up the process by keeping your horse under light longer. For a 12 X 12 stall, it is recommended to use a 200 watt bulb, and your horse to be exposed to light for approximately 16 hours per day. It’s not suggested to keep a horse under light 24 hours a day as this can effect their normal sleep patterns. The lighting also needs to be consistent and the best way to do this, is to put a light on a timer and add approximately 3 hours to their morning light and 3 extra hours to their evening light.
A good shedding tool or tools is also a must during shedding season. Over the years, I have had horses that are more sensitive than others, so my shedding tool not only depends on the amount of hair my horse is shedding, but also their sensitivity to the tool I’m using to help get rid of all the horse hair. Their are many shedding tools available, and for horse owners, I would recommend purchasing several different shedding tools. The shedding season can last as long as 60 days, so having a variety of tools allows you to use the appropriate one for the amount of hair your horse has in the shedding process.
Instead of hating all the horse hair now as your horse is shedding, make your birds happy nesters and provide them with some free nesting materials. I am using my suet feeder now to collect the extra hair that would have otherwise been thrown away and providing my birds and easy way to help their nesting this spring.
-Lisa Cantrell, Foxtrot Urbane