Dapples are the envy of every horse owner. A shiny, gleaming coat usually indicates your horse is healthy and well-groomed. Some horses are genetically more likely to get these round areas of different colored hair. Other times, proper nutrition and grooming can bring them out.

What causes dapples?

Nutrition: While a proper diet isn’t the only reason dapples appear, it’s a good start! Your horse needs protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and minerals like cooper and zinc. Make sure to feed high-quality hay and use supplements when necessary.

Regular grooming & care: To keep your horse’s coat healthy, you’ll need to regularly tend to it. Daily brushing can really bring out a shine in your horse’s fur. It can also make dapples even more obvious!

Don’t allow you horse to stand in the rain for extended periods of time. Rain rot and other fungus can wreck havoc on their coat. During the rainy season, invest in a waterproof sheet.

Sun fading is another issue to consider. When horses spend long hours in the sun, without shade or a sheet, their fur can become dull.

Genetic: Some horses are just more likely to develop dapples. Popular colors include gray, bay, and buckskin. Chestnut horses are less likely to have them, unfortunately.

Gray horses may be born black and become a dappled gray as they age. Eventually, the spots may disappear as they further lighten.

If you own a horse with these beautiful circular spots, then count yourself lucky.