I am sure there are threads on this, just didn't find them readily. I have a true black gelding, he is out 24/7 with access to stall. What do you all recommend to keep black coat nice and dark. I do put a fly sheet on him in summer...thanks,
Last summer I managed to keep my black/very dark bay horse dark for most of the summer. He has a stall that opens onto a paddock. He gets SmartOmega3, I use Vetrolin Shine almost daily, and he gets a bath weekly and hosings after rides or anytime he comes in really sweaty to remove the salt from sweating. On super hot days (95+) he gets locked in stall with fan and hay. He stayed pretty dark until about mid August at which point he bleached out in about two weeks... but this is also about the time he starts his winter coat growth (way to early for here but he never listens when we tell him). He competes and most of the darkening supplements have banned substances... so not worth risking it just to keep him dark.
Mostly the best way to keep them dark is to keep them out of the [strong] sun as much as possible. Night turnout and inside during the day. Hose off after rides to keep salt on hair down. UV protection spray (like Vetrolin Shine) seemed to help my guy a ton. No fly sheets here... they just grow mold/fungus under them and we end up bald instead!
You'll never prevent all fading, barring simply never exposing the horse to sun. But it's a fact that the darker the coat, the more melanin necessary for the darker/deeper pigment, and melanin requires copper for production. A horse can have enough to be "healthy", but if he's drastically fading, he does not have enough copper (and possibly also zinc).
That doesn't mean all the copper in the world will keep all horses from fading - it doesn't. But it can dramatically reduce it.
______________________________ The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET
Iron,copper, and zinc must be given in certain ratios or mineral imbalances will occur. Feed a mineral suppliment designed to compliment the diet your horse is eating. Check with an equine nutritionist if possible.
That said, Flax Seed is safe and works for my horses.
I have seen amazing success with paprika. Surprisingly palatable and got the mare *black* for her inspection in a matter of weeks. We did about a tablespoon daily but I have heard it tests so watch for that if it matters to you.