How can nutrition help your yearling's coat shine for sales?

The condition of a horse’s coat, skin and hooves are a reflection of overall health. Dry, lacklustre, ‘starey’ coats or brittle, cracked hooves can be a result of nutritional issues such as deficiencies in amino acids or inadequate vitamin and mineral intakes.

Hair, skin and hoof is made from keratin, a structural protein made up of a chain of amino acids. The sequence of these amino acids determines whether the keratin has ‘hard’ (i.e. hooves and hair) or ‘soft’ (i.e. skin) properties. Both non-essential and essential amino acids (e.g. lysine and methionine) are important, however, the latter cannot be synthesised in the body and thus must be provided in the diet.

Vitamin and minerals also play an important role in coat and hoof condition.  Deficiencies in B-vitamins (e.g. biotin) can cause the hooves to weaken, whilst low levels of dietary minerals, such as zinc and copper, can slow hair growth and affect hair pigmentation.

Copper and zinc play their part in several key body functions, including coat pigmentation. A horse low in copper or zinc will show it in their coats with dark colour horses appearing ‘rusty’ and lighter coloured horses appearing yellow or brassy. Grassland and hay are typically low in both zinc and copper therefore supplementation is often necessary. If coat is a concern the addition of a copper supplement such Foran Equine Coppervit can be immensely beneficial.


Foran Equine’s Coppervit has a multitude of benefits for yearlings. As well as supplying a fully chelated source of highly available copper, it also contains antioxidants to support a challenged immune system and key vitamins and chelated minerals to support healthy joints, coat and hooves.

If you have a yearling that you expect to show frequently, or exercise a lot, the addition of a hoof supplement to the diet prior to and during their prep period can significantly benefit hoof condition. Foran Equine Hoof Aid Powder and Liquid contains biotin, zinc and methionine to help optimise hoof development.

Supplementing the diet with additional oil is also recommended when preparing young horses for sale. Feeding an oil is excellent for skin and coat condition. Foran Equine Kentucky Karron Oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are typically deficient in a stabled horse’s diet. Omega-3 fatty acids have natural anti-inflammatory properties so, not only will this oil support skin and coat health, it will also have potential beneficial effects on digestive health, joint health and immune function.

The best way to provide the nutrients needed for a sleek, shiny coat and healthy hooves is to feed a well-balanced hard feed. Connolly’s RED MILLS Stud Cubes and Mix and Connolly’s Red Mills Prep Mix have been specifically formulated to provide elevated levels of essential amino acids, high levels of oil and the unique RED MILLS Pro Balance vitamin and mineral package containing over 20 important vitamins and trace minerals. If a low starch diet is required the Connolly’s RED MILLS Horse Care range is recommended.

The nutrition team at Red Mills and Foran Equine offer complementary diet planning services to help you best understand and meet your horses’ requirements – get in touch with your sales representative for more details.

Additional articles:

Sales Prep Part 1: Skeletal Development

Sales Prep Part 2: Conditioning Muscle & Topline

Sales Prep Part 4: Behaviour and Temperament

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