Your horse’s dry skin and dull coat


Well, there are many reasons a horse has dry skin and a dull coat.  Sometimes it’s just winter!  But there are many causes and many solutions.  


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Reasons your horse is dull-looking


  • Mud, rain, weather, wind, rolling, dry air. The elements create layers of dirt and gunk on your horse that will make him appear dull and dry.


A good grooming glove will help you get rid of dirt and dust and mud that makes your horse look “blah”. Curry, curry, curry.
  • Nutrition plays a role. Diets missing key nutrients, especially fatty acids, will often be dry and brittle looking.  Supplements can help replace Omega fatty acids in the diet, helping with skin and coat quality. 
  • Are you up to date on health issues (teeth, worming, etc?). Horses with worm infestations are depleted of nutrients and carry a physical blockage (the worms themselves) to good health. Teeth in need of care are unable to properly chew and start the digestion process. Bring your Veterinarian out for a visit to do a fecal egg count and check on those chompers.



Topical coat conditioners and grooming oils can help your horse be less dull looking.


For clipped and blanketed horses

  • Did you clip your horse? Clipped hairs are not tapered at the ends like regular hairs, so a clipped coat won’t be as smooth. Using conditioners, grooming oils, and other grooming products in addition to elbow grease will help.


  • If you use a grooming oil BEFORE you clip, your clippers will have some extra zoom as they glide through your horse’s coat. 
  • Blankets or fly sheets – While certainly necessary in some circumstances, blankets flatten hairs and can create rub marks. This can contribute to a duller appearance!


What you can do about poor skin and coat



Comet’s fuzzy winter hair makes him a bit dull-looking.


Start inside your horse


  • You may consider adding some supplements to his diet or even adjusting his rations and hay intake. Our great friends at Kentucky Performance Products shared their knowledge, and this is what they say:


“Certain nutrients, such as omega fatty acids; the trace minerals zinc, copper and iodine; the essential amino acids lysine and methionine (found in high-quality proteins) and the B vitamin biotin, must be present in the correct amounts in a horse’s diet or skin, hooves, and hair will suffer. Getting the right balance is key, more is not always better. Take selenium for instance. This trace mineral must be properly balanced in the diet, too much selenium can cause toxicity which leads to hair loss in the mane and tail, among other symptoms.”


  • Chat with your veterinarian or equine nutritionist to find what is right for your horse in supplements. Find one with great Omega 3’s.



Now get ready with the elbow grease


  • Mud and other dusty dirty winter (or summer) things dull a coat super fast. If you have a vacuum, this is a great tool to use. I like to use it after a very deep curry, seems to get more dirt out that way.




  • Find a nice grooming spray that you like. Often, they work well if you spritz your rag or brush and then apply. I like this method in winter, otherwise, the longer hairs tend to soak in the spray and you end up with oily dots. You will keep your brushes nice, and your horse gets some sheen added.


  • Make and use a wisp. This is totally “old school,” but what a party trick! These wisps are also “shine makers.” You can find directions to make one here.




  • Oil buff your horse. Oil buffing is a handy way of working a conditioning grooming oil into your horse’s coat.  This does three things – conditions the coat, adds shine, and helps with waterproofing your horse.  Oil buffing is wildly easy to do with a bucket of water with oil, and cloths or a brush. You can oil buff any time of year, and there are many ways to do it. 

For the complete guide to oil buffing your horse, read this gem 



Oil buffing info

Tips for oil buffing your horse



Click these links to shop for horse supplies. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, which are not a penny more for you. I couldn’t be more grateful for your support! You can also visit my Amazon storefront here:  PEG storefront.

Big Hoss - Outlaw Nutrition

Omega 3's plus gut health support in a delicious cold milled flax formula. It's delicious and it will turn your horse's coat into a mirror.

Whinny Wellies from Sox For Horses

Tough, weather-resistant covering for wraps and bandaging.

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Gold Bond Friction Defense Stick, Unscented 1.75 oz Pack of 2

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Amazon Basics Sunburn Relief Gel with Aloe Vera, 8 oz

Super aloe vera gel at a fantastic price.

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SHAPLEY'S Medi-Care Med Shampoo W/Tea Tree & Lemon Grass, 32 oz
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The best shampoo for shine and soothing.

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Shapley’s 32 oz. Color Enhancing Shampoo - Whitening Formula

For all colors - to add shine and help lift stains.

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Shapley's Equitone 32 oz. Color Enhancing Shampoo, GOLD
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Brighten duns, palominos, and golden colors.

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Shapley's 32 oz. Color Enhancing Shampoo, BLACK

For dark bays, black points, and black horses

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SHAPLEY'S 32 oz. Color Enhancing Shampoo, RED
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For chestnuts and some bays

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Shapley's No.2 Heavy Oil

For deep conditioning and detangling - coat, mane, and tail.

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Shapley's No.1 Light Oil
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For shine, conditioning, detangling, and stain protection.

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HANDSON Pet Grooming Gloves - Grooming, Bathing, Shedding
$24.99 $16.99

These are HandsOn Gloves with special pricing! Only in the color gray.

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Kensington Protective Fly Boots (Pair)

Banish the stomping!

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Fly Whisk

For *mostly* bug free riding

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Farnam Equi-Spot, Horse Fly and Tick Control, 12-Week Supply for One Horse

This spot-on product kills and repels ticks and helps with mosquito control.

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Cashel Quiet Ride Horse Fly Mask with Long Nose and Ears
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This style is great for riding!

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Plughz Horse Sound Off Ear Net

If your horse can't hear it, it won't eat them.

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Derby House Elite Sweet Itch Combo Neck Fly Sheet

Sweet itch is best battled by not letting those annoying midges bite your horse.

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Schneiders Adjusta-Fit Mosquito Mesh Hybrid

For horses with sweet itch and other insect allergies, more coverage is better.

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LeMieux Classic Ear Bonnet Hunter Green

LeMieux has more colors than the paint section of a hardware store. I promise they have one you like!

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Rub Protector Lycra Fly Mask – GG Equine

These fly masks are fantastic for protecting ears and eyes, and do great under halters and grazing muzzles to stop rubs and hairless patches.

Use code 15PROEQUINE for a sitewide discount on muzzles, halters, accessories, and slow feeders.

WAHL KMC+ 2-Speed Detachable Blade Clipper Kit

This is my favorite clipper - and you can save 15% with code LIV15 through this link or by going to Happy clipping!


Thank you!

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