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Keeping a black horse BLACK this summer

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  • Keeping a black horse BLACK this summer

    My sister's horse Amigo tends to fade out to a really unfortunate mousy, dull seal brown in the summer, even when he is only turned out at night. We are looking for ways to keep the color in his coat. He is well-groomed and his vitamin/mineral levels are checked yearly (we will pay special attention to copper and zinc this year, having read about links between these and coat.) The condition of his feet and hair coat is good.

    While he is a show horse he primarily does local shows and the rated shows in his schedule are not until much later in the year, so if a substance is effective for keeping coat color but tests, that is not a gigantic issue.

    We had been thinking about adding paprika to his feed as his new coat is coming in but were concerned about irritating his stomach as he is ulcer-prone and on U-gard daily. Do the milder variants of paprika seem to be less irritating? Approximately how long does it take to see a result after feeding paprika? What dosage do you use--I have seen on here that people feed everything from 1tbsp/1200lbs. to 3tbsp/1200lbs.

    The farrier's wife mentioned supplementing vitamin C to "detoxify the liver" and improve coat color. I have my own theories about exactly how much a horse's liver needs detox, but if this actually does seem to work I'd be glad to try it.

    This horse is not likely to eat BOSS. He's a picky little guy.

    I have read about grapeseed oil as a UV protectant. Anyone here use it? What dosage?

    What other supplements can we use to help keep Amigo looking like the sleek little black horse he is, rather than a sad-looking sunburnt thing?
    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

    Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
    Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

  • #2
    What I do is a flysheet on during t/o and flyspray w/ sunscreen when out riding. Also she is on the max amount of Black-as-Knight.

    Here are some pictures of her from last year, I think a lot of it though was going from summer to winter but I think it all helped.

    Before when she was on 24/7 turnout with no flysheet.

    After doing the things listed above:

    Edit: She is a dark bay so I think she bleaches out more than blacks but I'm not sure.
    Last edited by *JumpIt*; Mar. 9, 2009, 08:43 AM.
    “It's about the horse and that's it.” - GM

    !! is the new .


    • #3
      Last barn I was at had a lot of black horses and did night turnout from May to October roughly. I never knew how light my seal brown mare could get until I moved barns and she spent the days out all summer. She lightened so much! I don't like the faded color so much, but can't be bothered to do anything about it. Night turnout is the simplest thing.


      • #4
        One tablespoon mild paprika every day keeps my black guy black. What will bite you in the ass is the sweat, which will fade it, but much les than without. BAK is. IMHO, a lot of $$$ for what paprika can do. Pull him of 14 days before a show to be on the safe side. I don't feed BOSS.


        • #5
          I believe it's the Vitamin C in the paprika that does the trick. And amen to SWEAT being the fader -- i had a black pony that stayed black except for a brown ring around his middle where the saddle and girth were.


          • #6
            We use UV protection sheets. I believe ours are by Kensington. Don't use paprika or Black as Knight since we show all year and they test. If you do, make sure to call USEF and find out how early you need to take them off prior to showing.


            • #7
              I was actually going to suggest grapeseed extract. I have a paint that stays on it and it has helped him tremendously with sunburn.
              Our climate is not conducive to flysheets (hot, humid summers...I've never had a horse who wasn't more miserable in the fly sheet than being bit by flies). And I'm not about to slather a 1200lb animal with sunscreen and zinc oxide every day. I actually found out about the stuff when I got a bad sunburn in my 8th month of pregnancy and the nurse recommended grapeseed extract. I went to Rite Aid and got a bottle of pills for under $10. Expecting nothing, I was shocked when my sunburn was gone within 24 hours with no peeling. I did some googling and then some scholar googling and found lots of neat stuff about grapeseed extract. As a result, all of my horses and me are on it now.
              I still use sunscreen if I'm exposed for any length of time, but since I started the GSE, I have not had a sunburn, and I am fair-skinned.

              I did notice that my bay no longer fades, and he always faded in the past. It drove me batty. I thought maybe it was the flyspray I was using. Changing made no difference. Even if I didn't use flyspray he faded. People here suggested mineral deficencies. I'm married to a feed dealer and this horse has had a top-notch diet since I've owned him, but I experimented with different things anyway just to see. Tons of copper and MSM are two I remember. I did try a UV flysheet...Kensington I think. He was miserable and dripping with sweat so I admit I didn't stick with that long. I tried paprika and ended up with an extremely sour horse. Shortly after I treated for ulcers and he went back to normal. I often wonder if because I left the paprika in the trunk of my car, the heat activated it and aggrivated his stomach. I don't know if it works that way but cooking it does activate the spice, so if you do go the paprika route, I'd suggest keeping it in a cool place.

              Grapeseed extract is very cheap, has many benefits, and no toxicity that I'm aware of, so I think it's worth a shot. I will say though, that if you do have a mineral deficiency or something else going on, you probably won't get results. GSE is an antioxidant, so it's going to help prevent oxidation. I give 2-4 tablespoons per horse. Herbalcom.com is the cheapest place I've found so far.


              • #8
                I was very suspicious of all the paprika claims but evidently that does work and there is data to back that up.

                Now - if I could remember where I filed links to said data I would be happy to provide them! Maybe try the search function on this BB because I do remember I read it here first.

                (One of my horses is jet black and I'm eager to keep him that way this summer. He needs all the help he can get in the looks department poor thing!)
                Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                -Rudyard Kipling


                • Original Poster

                  Approximately how long will it take before we see results with paprika, assuming we start to feed now? His winter coat was clipped off in November, and it is not worth my life to clip him again (I think the safest way to clip this sensitive little princess would be to knock him out entirely and lay him on a table.) He is shedding his brown winter coat now so we were going to start giving him 1tbsp of paprika per day now, and give it two weeks to see if it starts to bother his tum.
                  "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                  Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                  Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.


                  • #10
                    You may be a little late for this years coat but start anyway. I buy it by the lb from herbalcom.com and feed 1-2 tbs a day. Do pull him off it 2 wks prior to a show then get him right back on it.

                    My black horse fades a LOT less on paprika, and maybe I should rinse him with vetrolin or vinegar water, something, after each ride, not just a good water-only rinse. It's the sweat that will really orange him up, definitely. The good thing is when he's 'dressed' for riding, you can't see wear he's gone off his color a little. The rest of him is BLACK.

                    Interesting about the GSE, might toss that in for kicks.


                    • #11
                      why paprika works

                      Dark horses have more melanin in their skin. The more melanin the higher the need for copper.
                      Paprika is a copper bioflavinoid. That is why it works.

                      Paprika and ulcers :




                      In other words - paprika causing ulcers is actually quite the opposite - it helps heal according to all medical studies, so much so that it is now being used in that capacity.

                      Actually copper deficiency in equine can also be expressed as ( but not limited to):

                      higher worm load,
                      seedy toe,
                      bleaching in the summer of the coat,
                      lack of color through-out the year in any colored horse,

                      For those who show FEI you can make a mix for the 2 weeks when you don't feed paprika:

                      1 tbs copper sulfate
                      1 Tbs dolomite
                      1 Tbs Flour of sulphur
                      6 Tbs humate

                      Feed 1 Tbs a day or leave out for free choice / ad lib in the stall /shelter

                      Sincerely Linda


                      • #12
                        Try Nu-Image dark horse. A couple dark horses at my barn take this supplement and their coats look wonderful. You can read great reviews on it at smartpak. It's also fairly inexpensive.
                        Owned by an Oldenburg


                        • #13
                          My horses are out 24x7 so I doubt anything will help their colors. I just enjoy a strikingly black horse at Memorial day and a Hershy Chocolate horse for Labor Day.


                          • #14
                            I find that sweat and nighttime turnout make the biggest difference, personally. Be sure that you thoroughly hose or sponge the horse every time he gets sweaty--any trace of salt left in the coat will really react with the sun. Sort of like Sun-In in your hair :-)


                            • #15
                              I keep my dark bay in the Rambo Protector with neck cover, and also sprayed with Quik Screen sunscreen. Quik Screen has been harder and harder to get but State Line Tack still has it. The sunscreen works best on a clean coat. Saturate the hair and brush it in. It lasts for a week before reapplication is needed, unless the horse sweats a lot or is bathed.

                              I tried paprika and it did nothing, even in high quantities. And FWIW, my mare developed horrible bleeding ulcers last year that coincided with the paparika. No clue if it had anything to do with the paparika but I would never chance that again.

                              I think the real key is just keeping the sun off the horse. Also sweat is a coat wrecker. If the horse sweats, rinse off that area well after each ride.


                              • #16
                                I have heard that some horses....no matter what you do...will bleach out. At least your horse goes mousey!.....My black goes redish with black spots! and we have to dye his tail black again every spring. It is really weird cause he has no markings whatsoever.....just black.


                                • #17
                                  the main ingredient in black as night is paprika, so don't waste money on the supplement.

                                  The key with paprika and all coat supplements is it does not remove fading ever. It works to keep the coat from fading in the first place. so you have to start it in the spring when they are shedding for the maximum benefit. however, even if he is a little faded now you can start using it and stop the fading/sun bleaching where it is at.
                                  Horses are amazing physicists, they know the exact angle, thrust, speed required to land you face first in the only pile of poop in the entire arena


                                  • #18
                                    I started feeding copper and zinc in October. I'm eager to see the results this summer. I won't know for sure for another 4-5 months...


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Renn/aissance View Post
                                      Approximately how long will it take before we see results with paprika, assuming we start to feed now? His winter coat was clipped off in November, and it is not worth my life to clip him again (I think the safest way to clip this sensitive little princess would be to knock him out entirely and lay him on a table.) He is shedding his brown winter coat now so we were going to start giving him 1tbsp of paprika per day now, and give it two weeks to see if it starts to bother his tum.
                                      The year I started with coat management I saw results very quickly. Within 6 weeks in August.
                                      I went from 24/7 to night turn out only and he always wore a fly/uv sheet because his pen was only shaded for part of the day.

                                      He went from a fugly dapple gray that was more brown/pink than gray to a lovely dark dapple.

                                      I had a trainer actually call him FUGLY. That is why I started. lol.
                                      I wish I had pictures. sorry.
                                      Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                                      • #20
                                        I have a black mare who lives outside 24-7. She does live in a sheet/flysheet/blanket all year long. She MAY spend a week total naked. She has very sensitive skin, though, and gets welts from fly bites. She stays black, although did fade just a little where the saddle goes. I always rinse her off after I ride if she's sweated at all. I do not use a bunch of "stuff" on her coat - we shampoo for shows, nothing else. She isn't on any supplements, but I do think some horses are just more likely to keep a "good" coat than others.

                                        Here is a photo of her early in the season last year (May?)

                                        Here is one of her at the last show of the season in November
                                        Last edited by Hunter Mom; Apr. 17, 2009, 12:38 PM. Reason: fixed link
                                        A proud friend of bar.ka.