Learn something new each day ;)

Skyhuntress

Trying to escape reality
Apr 26, 2005
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Haha, I just learnt something new today about horses that never would have occured to me.

So I've always assumed that horses develop winter coats because the temperatures drop. But apparently, according to my vets, that's not true. A horse develops a thicker coat with SHORTER days. The less sunlight means that the retina (in the eye) will be exposed to light and apparently as the days grow shorter, a chemical is released from the brain into the body that makes the coath thicker and longer.

So who knew. It apparently has nothing whatsoever to do with cold!
Theoretically, a horse who was only in 2-3 hours of sunlight a day (assuming they lived outside all the time), no matter how intense the heat, would still have a 'winter coat'
 

KarinUS

Well-Known Member
May 20, 2001
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Yes, I think some show barns make use of this knowledge by keeping their horses in stalls under special light to keep them from growing winter coats. :)
 

Scarlett 001

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Sep 16, 2003
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I have heard that before. Which may mean that Skeet's coat is now at full fuzziness, which would be good as it is not too bad now and I probably won't have to clip him. He is in a barn from about 5:00 pm onwards and there are no lights kept on. Hence, his body probably thinks it is the full depth of winter due to the longish period of darkness.
 

Rarah

A hole in my Logic!
Sep 28, 2003
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I'd read that about daylight too.

The cold must have some affect though. When we use rug with no neck cover, Monac grows a lovely thick woolley coat on his neck only. His body stays relatively short?
 

Mehitabel

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Mar 27, 2001
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it is a combination, but yes, the light levels have a big effect. you can get special daylight bulbs, we've used them in the past when we've qualified for a big winter showing championship and the horse isn't a colour that can be clipped and still look respectable.
 

chev

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May 7, 2002
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I was told that a long time ago - it also affects mares' seasons, so at the yard where I worked when they wanted mares covering early in the year they'd come in at night and be kept under lights to start them off a bit earlier.

Not sure how successful it actually was in reality. But they did shed their fur a lot earlier.
 

cvb

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Oct 23, 2001
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I expected the horses in Sweden to be REALLY furry as the winter temp can drop to -20 or less (centigrade). But in fact our Scottish boys are furrier. This is not scientific, but I suspect it may be that dry cold does not trigger coat length in the same way damp and rainy does...