I’ve just finished a quarterly round of a copper supplement for all the ponies. The supplement provides bio-available copper to help with hair health as well as immune system support.
One goal with this round is to chase the rust out of Willowtrail Black Robin’s mane. Just the last handful of hair before his withers is rust-colored. It is a striking contrast. Another goal is to get Lunesdale Silver Belle’s mane, and especially forelock, blacker, too. Ellie comes from Roundthwaite Common in Cumbria which is documented as a low-copper area, so I expect Ellie to take a lot of copper supplementation.
My goal isn’t really about color, though. I’m testing how much rust is an indicator of overall health. As for most things having to do with Fell Ponies, twenty-four-year-old Sleddale Rose Beauty provides a benchmark. Her jet black coat right now is popping with dapples. So my copper supplementation is testing whether I can get the rest of my herd looking like Beauty. For instance, is it possible to have dapples like Beauty’s in a faded-black coat? Is there a correlation between deep black coats and dapples that indicates health? Is there a correlation between luxurious feel and lack of rust color in the mane?
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be watching to see (and feel!) if there are any changes in the coats of my Fell Ponies. In the meantime, I’ll know that I’ve invested in robust immune systems. And with the winter we’re having, that feels good, too!