Horse myths – busted!


There are loads and loads of horse myths out there – so I thought I would try and shed some light on a few of them. Keep in mind that perhaps the reason some of these myths even exist is that we label them “always” and “never”. Some horses may actually prove these myths to be true, but in reality, the vast majority of horses will not be the same.


Cold weather triggers your horse to grow a winter coat. Nope!


  • Actually, your horse starts to shed his existing coat and grow his winter coat when the amount of daylight starts to decrease. Conversely, he will start to shed his winter coat when the days get longer. This is why you can control his hair coat with indoor lights if you like. This will also alter a mare’s estrus cycle. This is also why a horse that lives in Miami or San Diego, or another wonderfully warm winter area, will still grow a winter coat.


You must braid on the right side only! Also nope.


  • This is one of those things that mixes tradition with what we think the rules are. I just spent a bunch of time reading all about braiding in the USEF Rule Book. It never specifies what side of the mane to braid. In fact, it specifies that braids are optional, braids are allowed, even braids are encouraged. In only a few cases are braids required, and then no side of the mane is specified. I’ll also add that in some spots in the USEF Rule Book, it states that the judges are not to penalize a horse for not having braids. BUT…..In the hunter world, braids are on the right. This discipline is steeped in tradition and braiding to the right (while not required) honors that tradition. It’s up to you to decide what side to braid on, and part of this comes from what is more natural for your horse and what works for you. Food for thought.



If it works for you to braid on the left, just do it.


Using blankets on your horse will stop him from growing a winter coat. Nope.


  • Well, wouldn’t that be nice? But it’s not true. Scientifically and anecdotally. In years that I have clipped and blanketed my horses they still grow a winter coat. I often have to clip twice. Also, if this was true the simple act of wearing pants would put every razor company out of business as we would never need to shave our legs again!


Hay is the only food your horse needs.


  • Well, nope. High-quality forage is a great start! But….there are many vitamins and minerals that your horse will be missing if you feed a hay-only diet. This is true for lawn ornaments as well as Olympic horses. For example, vitamin E is present in the hay – but only for about seven days after it’s cut. Then there’s salt (not to be confused with electrolytes), which your horse needs daily. There are also the Omega fatty acids, which may not be present in beneficial quantities in just hay alone. This does not mean your horse needs to eat “grain” which is a commonly used term for fortified feeds. You have the option of giving supplements, using a fortified feed or feeding a ration balancer. Your horse’s caloric needs will determine what’s best for him. An Equine Nutritionist can help you create a diet for your horse that takes into consideration his age, job, lifestyle, medical issues, current hay and supplements, where he lives, how much pasture he has, the works.


Horses can smell fear. Not really.


  • A few years ago, research told us that horses can’t smell fear, but they can react to our own heart rate and other subtle clues. A few years ago, horses smelling fear was false. Today, we know better. New research tells us that yes, horses can smell fear. And so the cycle of myth-busting continues.


A shiny horse is a healthy horse.


  • Wait a minute…. you can create shine with product. An overweight or underweight horse can be shiny, but his weight indicates a less than ideal state of health. The opposite IS true – a healthy horse is a shiny horse. Unless he’s recently become married to a mud puddle, which is often the case.


White hooves are weaker than black hooves.


  • There are tons of stories and anecdotal evidence to back this up, and also refute it. But it’s not fair or proper to compare your horse to your friend’s horse, as you both have different routines and diets and exercise plans and, and, and… Not to mention, your horse’s genetics and your friend’s horse’s genetics are likely to be very different! There’s also a slew of actual scientific research that disproves this very prevalent horse myth. I was reading some of it and I noticed it was from the 1970s and OMG that’s so old and then I remembered that I’m from the same era…. There’s also more recent research too.


white hoof



What other myths do you encounter in the horse world?

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Click these links to shop for shine-making and hoof care products. 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!


HandsOn Gloves on horse_.jpg

HandsOn Grooming Gloves – also, use code PEG for some free shipping!


Genuine Cactus Cloth – Natural – 18 X 16-1/2 Standard This is much better for stain removal and spreading natural oils around.

This cactus mitt may be easier to use than a cloth.  


I love Easy Out for touch-up stain removal!


You can also snap up a bottle of the grooming oil I love 

The best-known hoof supplement, and can sometimes improve coat quality, too.


Hoof and joint supplement

The gold standard in hoof dressings, because who doesn’t love shiny hooves

AniMed hoof Supplement


Durasole – for hoof hardening and some cases of thrush


CleanTrax helps with white line disease and hoof infections.


White Lightning for hoof infections in a soaking kit, because you may need more than one treatment


White Lightning Gel

Hoof clay, so any cracks can be filled if needed.

Another type of hoof clay.

SteriHoof Spray for thrush and white line

Magic Cushion takes the sting out of hooves, like after a jump school or if the soles are tender.

Ichthammol salve for wounds and hoof issues.


Bright green salt poultice for hooves.


These ice packs make for easy cooling of your horse’s legs and hooves, and they last for hours.

This tall boot can be filled with ice or ice packs to help the horse with laminitis.


These affordable boots can be filled with ice to help your horse.



Cavallo Simple Hoof Boot for Horses, Black – thick-soled hoof boot for riding and hoof wrapping.

EasyCare Easyboot Glove Soft Hoof Boot – these boots are designed for riding, not hoof packing, and have a more precise fit.


These Cloud boots are great for the horse that needs extra cushion, like the horse with laminitis


Hoof Wraps Easy Soaker with pads, for white line treatment or icing the hof



Hoof Wraps Brand Bandage – Affordable wrap for hoof protection


Good reading if the hoof is fascinating to you!