A horse is a proud, majestic animal, and its mane and tail hair are its crowning glory. You thus want to do everything possible to stimulate hair growth in these two regions, but this is easier said than done. There are plenty of tonics and mixtures on the market, but which ones are right for your horse?
The answer to that question is likely harder to ascertain than you would wish. For one thing, different treatments affect different horses differently. For another, no matter how these treatments affect your horse, you can bet that many of the options you can buy over the counter will be expensive.
You don’t want to spend a fortune on horse mane and tail treatments, nor should you have to, which is why you might want to look to some home remedies instead. These treatments are made from everyday items you may have sitting around the house, and can help stimulate mane and tail hair growth.
So what are these mane and tail growth remedies, and how can they help?
How a Horse’s Hair Grows
To begin with, it’s important to note how a horse’s hair grows in the first place.
Horse hair growth comes in three stages. First comes a growth period (otherwise known as the horse’s anagen) followed by a resting period (its telogen) and then a period during which the horse sheds their old hair before its new coat grows in. The whole process can take anywhere from four to six weeks, although that is just a rough estimate, and every horse is different.
Horses shed seasonally as well, so horse hair growth may be different in summer as opposed to winter. This is due in part to the fact that the length of the day and the amount of sunlight can impact how much hair your horse grows and when it sheds.
If you look at your horse’s hair, you’ll see that it isn’t one single growth but is rather made up of different adjacent growths. This is due to hair follicles coming in at different times. On the one hand, this is somewhat inevitable. On the other hand, when grooming your horse, you naturally want to find a way to even things out as much as possible.
That said, these growths at different times also help to mask any shedding. If your horse has whole bald spots, it may be due to them shedding hair before being able to grow more back to replace it.
Causes of Horse Hair Loss
As with humans, horses can lose their hair as part of the aging process. If your horse is on the older side, its hair loss may be due to its advancing age. While there is obviously nothing you can do about that, some of the remedies on this list may be able to help.
However, aging is only the most inevitable cause of hair loss in horses. There are a wide range of other causes which can rob your horse of its mane and tail hair, beginning with temperature and climate.
In addition, you’ll want to consider the location of the hair loss. For example, if your horse has lost some hair beneath its mane, the reason may just be that they have shed during a long hot summer in the stables. You wouldn’t want to go through summer with a thick head of hair, and neither does your horse. Shedding in this instance may simply be their way of keeping cool. The summer heat combined with their sweat can cause their hair to become damp, which in turn can facilitate hair loss.
Hair loss as a result of sweat and summer heat can also be seen on the faces of certain horses who lose hair around their eye and ear regions. This can be exacerbated by horses not having their faces washed after a long hard day out on the trail. If you allow sweat and dirt to sit on your horse’s face, mane, and body, it can start to have a deleterious effect on their coat. As such, you should always give your horse a good wash after a long, hot, sweaty day of riding.
That being said, even if you maintain good horse grooming habits, there are still more ways your horse can lose hair. Sometimes it is simply due to genetics.
Other times, however, horse hair loss can be a symptom of a larger medical condition, such as dermatophilosis. This and other, more serious medical conditions are often characterized by crustiness accompanying the hair loss. Diseases such as ringworm may be the culprit, in which case mane and tail growth remedies alone won’t be enough, and you’ll need to get medicine to treat your horse’s skin condition as well.
Before you go that far, however, you’ll want to make sure that it is indeed the cause of the problem. To do that, you’ll want to take your horse to the vet, who will take some hair from your horse and subject it to dermatophyte test media (DTM), which can help determine if this is the case. If it is, your doctor can prescribe anti-fungal medication to help.
Horse Hair Caretaking Tips
In addition to growth remedies for your horse’s mane and tail, there are some other tips for maintaining horse tail hair. Consider the following tips:
- Healthy hair means your horse having sufficient protein, amino acids, and vitamins, so watch their diet and make sure they’re getting enough of each.
- Don’t over-brush your horse’s tail every day; it does not need to be brushed every day, and doing so can thin it out.
- Instead, to stimulate growth, you’ll want to pay attention to the dock of your horse’s tail, and brush here with a dandy brush.
- Keep your horse’s tail clean, moisturized, and shampooed.
Horse Hair Remedies
Finally, there are the remedies themselves. These can actually be surprisingly hard to enumerate because “remedies” are typically something you can mix yourself, as opposed to the antifungal medications mentioned above. As a result, horse hair growth home remedies tend to be far less standardized and more anecdotal in nature.
The easiest home remedy for boosting horse hair growth, as alluded to above, is simply making sure your horse is getting enough protein and vital nutrients. Check your horse’s feed and make sure it is protein-rich.
One potential remedy is this homemade horse hair treatment, featured on SavvyHorsewoman.com, made from three parts castor oil and one part of one of the following:
- Argan oil
- Coconut oil
- Jojoba oil
- Neem oil
- Olive oil
Once you have made your selection of materials, mix them appropriately and apply them to your horse’s mane as needed. For the best results, you should apply it two to three times per week at the base of your horse’s mane, tail, or forelock. If your horse’s hair is especially dry, it may be helpful to moisten it up a bit first.
Gently massage the treatment into your horse’s hair. This can help promote circulation, which in turn can stimulate hair growth.
A few drops should be sufficient. Let it sit for several hours and, if possible, overnight.
Also from SavvyHorsewoman.com is this horse hair shampoo remedy:
- 1 cup Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap
- 1 tablespoons fractionated coconut oil
- 1 tablespoons jojoba oil
- 2 tablespoons vegetable glycerin
- 2 tablespoons witch hazel
As with the other remedy, you will want to mix and gently apply it to the base of the hair as needed, and let it sit for a few hours.
While all home remedies are subject to scrutiny, this one has the benefit of being among the most widely-shared home remedies for horse mane and tail hair growth remedies.
In addition, you may want to consider trying coconut oil. It can help smooth your horse’s hair and remove any coarseness, making it nice and silky instead. What’s more, it can also help put the shine back into your horse’s hair.
Some other ingredients for mane and tail hair growth remedies include the following:
- Chamomile tea
- Castile soap
- Aloe vera gel
- Rice bran oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Baking soda
Then there are “home remedies” which are less substance-based and more rooted in the kind of lifestyle factors described above. In order for your horse to experience positive hair growth, they need to be put in the best living conditions possible. For example, you’ll want to make sure that your horse’s stables are well-ventilated to help prevent too much sweat from coagulating on your horse’s hide.
It is important to note that not every treatment is bound to work for every horse. You will thus want to explore different remedies to find one that works for your horse.
Your horse’s hair matters. With the help of these mane and tail hair growth remedies, you can keep your horse’s hair full, smooth, silky, shiny, and looking great for years to come.