This summer’s poor weather has again affected our horses, with equines growing winter coats a month early.

The wettest April to June on record caused some horses to start moulting as early as July. The trigger for losing the summer coat and growing a thicker one for winter is shortening hours of daylight and the dark skies and rain clouds seem to have tricked horses into moulting early.

Showing supremo Lynn Russell said her coloured horses started to lose their coats in the first week of July.

“I have never experienced them losing their coats this early before,” she said. “But they think we’re into winter. “I’m going to have to clip them four or five weeks before we go to Horse of the Year Show so their coats get a chance to grow a little before the show.”

And H&H readers have seen the same problem.

Laura Wheeler said: “I noticed Herbs was itching a lot and discovered he was moulting in July. It’s a shame as he is bay roan and a lovely pink colour in the summer, but when his winter coat comes through he’s just plain bay.”

“My horse never even got a proper summer coat,” said another H&H forum member.

But Suffolk-based horse behaviourist Richard Maxwell warned owners not to overrug their horses in a bid to try to inhibit coat production.

“You are much better off letting your horse deal with the weather naturally,” he said.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & HOund (16 August 2012)