By Patty Wilber
We are probably all familiar with horses shedding in the spring. Equines also undergo a shed in the fall to allow the growth of their winter coats.
Usually, right around State Fair, I notice my horse’s coats starting to lengthen, but this year, while all are dumping hair, none seem particularly fuzzy. It seemed like we had an extra hot summer that only recently cooled off. This caused me to hypothesize that the warm temperatures were influencing something.
According to all sources I found, the trigger for both the spring and the fall shedding in horses is photoperiod (day length) that is perceived by the eyes of the horse. Interestingly, blind horses, that cannot adequately get day length information to the brain may have trouble shedding.
For fall shedding, the shorter days trigger the shed. The temperature, according to all sources, has little to do with the shedding. Warmer temperatures, however, can slow hair growth, according to an article in Equus magazine. Horses in warmer climates, warmer barns, or with blankets tend to have shorter winter coats than those in colder climates, colder barns, or without blankets. The warmer horses still get winter coats, but somewhat shorter. Perhaps the hot temperatures have just slowed the growth of the hair so far this year, or maybe my comparative powers of perception are off and the winter coats are growing in like always!
At any rate, the horses brains, thanks to decreasing day length, think summer is over.
I, for one, do not love the shortening days, but I have been enjoying the pleasant temperatures. And I am glad to live in the southwest where winters are not especially long and cold. I don’t love winter.
Cancer Treatment Update. I got my second immunotherapy shot today. Easy enough! Follow up mammogram next week then meet with surgeon to review the mammo the following week.