Grooming tips for helping the sun-bleached horse!



Your mission – to keep your horse’s dark coat from looking like the cover of a hair band tribute album. Never fear!


Many horses of all colors, and especially black horses, will show some signs of sun bleaching. The most common areas for this are where the sweat accumulates – such as the saddle area and around the face in an oh, so flattering outline of the bridle. The degree of bleaching is determined first by genetics. Then you can add in a multitude of other factors, such as diet, mineral supplementation, and exposure to the sun.


Here are a few tips to preventing sun bleaching as best you can.


  • First things first, check with your Equine Nutritionist and/or Veterinarian to be sure your horse’s diet is well balanced, especially with minerals linked to the hair coat, like Copper. Here’s what our friends at Kentucky Performance Products can tell us about hair coat and how it relates to diet:


  • “Even horses consuming enough energy to maintain appropriate weight can be missing the vitamins, minerals, fats, and proteins needed to support a shiny hair coat and healthy mane and tail. 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.
  • Access to fresh green grass is the best way to ensure lots of dapples and a luxurious tail. Feeding good quality hay is a must and choosing the appropriate concentrate (grain or pellet) to compliment your hay’s nutrient contribution is essential. Proper nutrition is the best way to keep your horse’s coat looking good from the inside out. If coat condition is a problem, work with your veterinarian or equine nutritionist to review your horse’s diet and make the necessary adjustments.”
sun bleaching face bridle
You may be able to prevent some of the bridle area bleaching by using a fly mask.

Once you have a balanced diet, you can focus on some of the daily preventative measures for a sun-bleached coat.


  • When your horse is sweaty, rinse the sweat and if possible, allow to totally dry before exposure to the sun.


  • I also love the very thin and very inexpensive fly sheets! They are light, airy, repel flies, and help prevent bleaching! A fly mask will help also with the bridle areas.


  • Shapley’s makes a super nifty EquiTone shampoo for dark bay and black horses.


  • If you can, do your turnouts at night.


  • You can use some “sunscreen products”. There are great, all natural products out there that can help you!


What has worked for you?





Go shopping with these links to help your horse stay dark despite the sun. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. There is no extra charge to you, and I really appreciate it. Thank you!


Shapley’s ET-R 32 oz DS 32 oz. Color Enhancing Shampoo, Red for chestnuts, sorrels, and blood bays.


Shapley’s ET-B 32 OZ DS 32 oz. Color Enhancing Shampoo, Black for blacks, bays, and other dark colors.


Cashel Crusader Horse Fly Mask with Ears and Long Nose – select size


Shires, Performance Fly Sheet – This full coverage fly sheet works well, too.

Thank you!