Blanketing draft horses..when is it time to blanket?
I have a norwegian fjord pony who is getting her winter coat in. I live in southern california. It has been windy and 40 degrees at night. She has not been trimmed so she is getting wooly. She stays in an outdoor pipe corral. When should I blanket her? At what temperature with her winter coat almost in should I blanket her and what thickness blanket? I have a medium weight blanket.
We don't blanket at all (West Coast of BC) with the drafts - they just don't seem to need it... unless they don't use their shelter.
The one time I did use a Med. Weight blanket it caused major sweating... so now, if I use anything, it's a really lightly lined rainsheet - to keep the rain off rather than for any real need of warmth.
I'm also in southern Cal and don't blanket for warmth-the lowest it gets where we are is in the mid-twenties. I do put on a waterproof sheet when it gets below 50 and is pouring rain. They won't go under their shelter. I tend to just feed more hay which helps keep them warm internally as they are digesting it. My draft gelding is from Canada and sprouts a pretty good coat while my CA bred horses don't get much.
The people I know at my barn who blanket, do it because they either have an old horse who needs a bit of extra warmth, or they show, and so either shaved their horse or didn't want them to grow much of a coat in the first place. I live in So Cal too, and I have a 5 year old Arabian mare. I honestly worried about blanketing her, but she's been fine even without a really thick winter coat. I don't mind her being a little wooly since I'm not doing a whole bunch with her right now. Most people have already started to blanket, the rule of thumb being if its below 50 if its above, then they don't blanket.
When it's in the teens, I blanket drafts and my Paso Fino, who gets a really thick fur coat in winter. The thoroughbreds get blanketed a lot more in the winter, though, as they have thin skin and short hair
I live in Norway, very close to the mountains (4.3 miles away). I have two Gypsy cobs. I don't blanket my horses at all and we do have hard winters normally with temperatures down to -22F. The horses have nice thick winter fur. I do bring them in at night but the barn isn't heated and there are ice on the inside of the walls. Nevertheless, the horses are very healthy and are never sick.
The only times I ever blanket the horses is when the weather is very windy with cold and frosty rain coming down and it looks like it's going to pour down all day.
However, I do pay attention to not get them sweaty in the winter if I can avoid it and if they should get sweaty I do have to blanket them and put them in the barn and it takes hours to get them dry again due to the low temperature and the thick fur.