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Dapples in winter?

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  • Dapples in winter?

    I was hand grazing my chestnut horse this weekend in the unusually warm, sunny weather and suddenly noticed that he was dappling out on his neck, flanks and hindquarters. He is not clipped, and has been wearing a blanket at night during the recent cold spell.
    I thought dapples only appeared in the spring/early summer when a horse was in the early days of its summer coat. But I have to admit to knowing nothing really about dapples except they're a good sign of health. So is it unusual to see them in the winter, or have I not been paying attention!

  • #2
    Did you change grain perhaps? I have heard that there are some foods that boost increased dapples. And you need to post a photo


    • #3
      Yup, it is a rule you can not post such a statement w/out a pic!

      OK, not a rule but at least you have me dreaming of better weather. No dapples here. Just shaggy yaks. But looking forward to spring for sure... and shiny, sleek horses with dapples.


      • #4
        I noticed this year my horses usually snow white winter coat is more a heavier fleabitten summer look. I don't think she grew a heavy coat this year. Good thing since it's been dabbling in the 50's & 60's during the day lately.


        • #5
          My pony's winter coat has dapples this year, too. I was amazed when I noticed them. I did notice that his winter coat is the healthiest it's been since I bought him, three years ago. I have been working on trying to find the right balance in his diet since day 1.


          • #6
            Dapples are most common when a coat starts changing, and right now, coats are staring to make a change
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


            • #7
              I noticed several of my horses dappled out this winter nicely...starting in fall and are still dappled...all lighter coats like buckskins and one dun roan. I mean lots of dapples. No diet change..just good hay/forage, alfalfa pellets and a simple mineral supplement. They must be getting good Omega 3's or something.


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by ultimateshowmom View Post
                Did you change grain perhaps? I have heard that there are some foods that boost increased dapples. And you need to post a photo
                This air fern gets no grain, just hay, and no changes in diet. I do have him on a daily maintenance measure of Farrier's Formula, and over the couple of years he's been on that, his hooves, coat and mane/tail have steadily improved. Also a daily measure of Barn Bag (from the Farrier's Formula company - LifeData) to make sure he's getting needed vitamins and trace minerals.
                The only thing I've done differently this winter is do quite a bit more body brush grooming to try to keep that winter grime away, in addition to getting the mud off the surface. So maybe that's spread more body oil in the coat hair - he's certainly pretty shiny, and I'm sorry I never thought to take a picture this weekend!


                • #9
                  Dapples can be a sign of good nutrition and care. So perhaps if you've switched hay, grain, or even a pasture, that could account for the dapples. Otherwise it could be a stepped up grooming routine that has enhanced the health of your horse's coat. Finally, it IS the beginning of shedding season, and the areas you mentioned are usually the first to start shedding, so that could be the reason as well.

                  Eta: my red sun QH is dappled year round since coming home to my farm. He used to lightly dapple in the spring/early summer, but now he is dappled through winter and in the worst of the summer. I contribute it to great hay and TC 30%. My TB dapples for a few months during shedding season, but I can't get him to keep his dapples all year despite flax, oil, and great hay/grain. Oh well.
                  come what may

                  Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


                  • #10
                    My palomino only had dapples in the winter. How I wished he had them in the summer with his beautiful gold coat, but nope! Only in the winter! He was a dark solid gold in the summer, and int he winter, he was a lighter base gold, with darker rings.
                    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                    • #11
                      My chestnut with a lot of dark/black undertones (his sire is true black, his dam is chestnut) sometimes gets dapples in the winter. Actually, the one winter that he was unclipped and on stall rest, he was incredibly dappled AND the dapples were slightly indented when compared to the rest of his coat. He looked like a little round basketball!


                      • #12
                        I started feeding flax seed a few months ago, and 2 of my horses now have extra shiny dappled winter coats this year. Pretty!


                        • #13
                          Dapples indicate a good hair coat and are present year-round.
                          Just harder to see through a thick Winter coat.

                          Both my black bay pony & buckskin WB are dappled all year long - just need the light to hit them right to see the dapples through the heavier coat.
                          Bright sunshine makes them most visible.
                          The pony is a yak, WB has mere plush so his are easier to see.

                          I attribute the great haircoats to BOSS. Both get a handful in their grain 2X daily.
                          My vet always comments on how soft & shiny they are.
                          *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                          Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                          Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                          Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                          • #14
                            What about poofy dapples? My light sorrel who dapples in spring and summer kept his dapples this fall, but they seemed to made of longer hair? His coat looked lumpy, like an egg carton. No skin issues, same feed. His wooly coat now looks even, but it made me wonder at the time as I've never seen him have this before.


                            • #15
                              Dapples are often poofy like that
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                              • #16
                                It's been theorized that dapples have a genetic component, too. Hence why some horses maintain beautiful dapples year round, no matter what their health, and others will never dapple.
                                Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by leaf View Post
                                  What about poofy dapples? My light sorrel who dapples in spring and summer kept his dapples this fall, but they seemed to made of longer hair? His coat looked lumpy, like an egg carton. No skin issues, same feed. His wooly coat now looks even, but it made me wonder at the time as I've never seen him have this before.
                                  I've been calling them "Puff-Printed Dapples" for years!


                                  • #18
                                    Most duns do not dapple either. Dun is kind of a dull flat color by it's genetics as a "primitive color" but I have on rare occasions seen a true dun dapple briefly. It's more common I think in cream dilutes also as the three I have dappled are (two are buckskins) and one is dun roan..possibly carrying cream also. I've never tested her but it's possible.


                                    • #19
                                      Cream is very good at producing seasonal dapples, so in one sense, that's genetic, but different from "this line tends to produce horses who dapple all the time". Cream likes to really dapple horses in the Winter, usually with a lighter coat as well, and then remove dapples with a darker Summer coat.
                                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET