With spring around the corner and show season almost upon us, it's time to tackle the wind tangled tails and manes and fluffy coats to spruce up our ponies and restore them to their glossy former selves ready to win those rosettes. Preparation is key but over the years it seems that manufacturers have developed a product for everything; filling up our tack boxes and emptying our pockets.
Shhhh…we’ll let you into a secret, there is a natural alternative and it’s in the form of a single natural product, Coconut Oil.
You’re probably wondering why coconut oil? Well coconut oil really is a magical substance, it is an edible oil from the fresh, mature kernel of coconuts and is cold pressed without any need for chemical refining, bleaching or deodorising which would lead to the alteration of the nature of the oil. The oil is usually in a solid form but becomes liquid between 18°C and 24°C and the properties of the oil are not affected during the transition from solid to liquid to solid. Because the oil is 100% natural, it is a great alternative to other equine products that can include nasty chemicals which may not be good for your horse or the environment.
In this blog we'll take a look at how you can take a natural approach to get your horse show ready from top to tail using just Coconut Oil.
Head, ears and eyes
With a soft brush, brush away any dried on mud and then get a small lump of coconut oil in your hands, melt and then stroke into your horses face and onto their fur. They'll think they're getting a facial massage, meanwhile you're coating them in coconut goodness which will keep their head clean and add a slight sheen to make the coat look glossy. Coconut oil can be used near the eyes and ears and won't cause any irritation. It is also helpful when dealing with a head shy horse since you can apply it directly with your fingers rather than a sponge or applicator of some sort.
On a weekly basis massage coconut oil into your horse’s mane from root to tip to add condition and protect the ends from splitting. Warm the oil in your hands to make it workable then rake through the mane before brushing – the oil works as a detangler so you’ll cause less damage when brushing and each hair follicle will be coated in the oil as you work it in; this will keep the hair tangle free throughout the week. Before the show work some oil through the mane to add extra shine without making the mane look greasy or lank.
Our horses’ tails get a lot of action, swishing on warmer days to keep flies away and clad in mud throughout the winter! Keep it in top condition by working coconut oil through the tail (you can even do this as a mask – work lots of oil in and then wash out after a few hours or leave longer for better results). Focus particularly on the ends, as these swish around they have a tendency to become brittle and break in the same way our hair gets split ends. Pop a little extra oil around the tips to help protect them from this damage.
GlowPony Tip: Plaiting
If you plan to plait your horse’s mane or tail before a show, coconut oil will help keep flyaway hairs at bay. Once the hair has been prepared with the oil, rub a little extra into your hands and this will help your plaits come out smoother and give you a little oil to work with when you need to smooth any flyaways out. Also if using elastics to secure the plaits, rub these in coconut oil before using, this way you can slide them out of the mane without causing damage.
To give a glossy appearance to the coat, melt the coconut oil in your hands and rub all over the body, if you'd prefer you can also make a spray solution of the coconut oil to make this easier (we find that being able to apply the oil with your hands can be a benefit in horses who are not a fan of spray bottles). Once applied, take a cloth and rub all over the coat to buff any excess oil away.
Tip: Quarter marking
Add shine and hold to your quarter marking by rubbing a little coconut oil into your hands and smoothing over the area before you begin.
Treat the legs in the same way as the body, if your horse has any cuts or scratches, rub a little extra coconut oil and its antibacterial properties will help the skin to heal faster, prevent infection and promote growth of new skin and hair to cover the area.
GlowPony Tip: Feathers
If your horse has feathers, you can use coconut oil almost like a styling wax to add volume to the feathers and keep any unruly hairs in place.
Pick out your horses hooves and use a hoof brush to apply coconut oil all over the sole of the hoof and on the hoof wall, paying particular attention to the coronet band to keep this moisturised and super supple, the oil will soak into the hoof giving a darker shinier look as well as moisturising and improving the hooves elasticity making the stronger and less prone to cracks and chips. The moisturising properties will also help prevent cracked heels and the natural antibacterial properties of the oil will help keep the hooves infection free.
To improve overall condition, feed a little coconut oil each day. Around a tablespoon will be enough to see a difference, it takes around 30 days for nutritional changes to become evident but you will begin to see the coat looking glossier, skin condition improving and growth of hair and skin improving. Most horses love the taste of the oil and welcome the addition to their feed!
Thank you for reading our article, hopefully we’ve been able to show you that one product really can be multi-purpose and that it is possible to take a more natural approach to grooming and achieve the same results. In the same way we are more conscious of the products we use at home and on ourselves, we should be questioning the products we use on our horses and the chemicals they contain. If you’d like to find out more about coconut oil or have any questions please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org