New barn obsessed with blanketing? Need advice! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 11-08-2013, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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New barn obsessed with blanketing? Need advice!

So I moved my horse last week to a new barn, thats much closer to home and full care! Woot! It's actually a very old friend who I recently reconnected with families barn.

I've had my horse a year, so I know how he did last winter. He grows a nice thick winter coat, is only 7 and pretty darn healthy! He has free choice hay so that helps him keep warm too. Well the last year I've had him I did self care boarding that was about 30-50 min from home, so blanketing was hard to do and I only did it when I knew he would be fine with keeping it on all day.

Basically I would blanket if it was wet and under 30, just his light weight, or in the low teens. I'd put his med blanket on if wet in and low teens/below. This seemed to work great for him, he didn't lose any weight or ever seem unhappy/cold. I've tried telling my friend and her family that's what I like to do and they just think I'm nuts! They have a few show horses that they clip so of course they blanket but the younger girl is obsessed with blanketing and fearing they will get cold. Yes thats great to worry but I know how well he did last year so I dont see why I need to change it? How do I get it through to her that he is OK without a blanket on when its just in the mid 30s? I'm in the northern VA area so usually our winters arent that bad.

I don't want them to think I'm a terrible horse mom and making him suffer but I also don't want him to NOT have a good winter coat. I love his fuzzys haha. I dunno I'm pretty sure before I bought him he probably had never even seen a blanket because he came from a barn with like 40-60 horses that were all just kept out year round. I have keep reassuring them that hes fine not in a stall at night too LOL. Their horses are very sheltered.

The boarding situation is so much better for the both of us if I can just get them to understand that hes a tough guy and doesn't need to be babied lol!

What would you say to help them understand? Do I just keep repeating myself? I check weather app every night and if I feel its cold enough I'd ask them to throw his blanket on :(
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post #2 of 38 Old 11-08-2013, 10:11 PM
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you just show them how happy and healthy your horse is. they will soon see evidence that a blanket isn't necessary for the most part.

we don't blanket either. the temps here are not like that cold. maybe similar to where you are. sometimes it's in the teens at night. But, as long as they have plenty of hay and a place to get away from the rain and wind (our use trees for shelter) they will be fine.

it's hard for humans to realize how very warm horse fur is. Z's fur is at least an inch long now, and it stands up nicely and traps his body heat near him. try to imagine an inch thick cashmere sweater. INCH thick. that's a lot of wool! and it gets longer than that by midwinter.
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post #3 of 38 Old 11-08-2013, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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Ha! Dexter's is prob close to an inch too. I'll just keep telling her no hes fine and hopefully after a few colder nights she'll start to believe me more. Guess my pleasure/trail riding world is much different then her show world!
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post #4 of 38 Old 11-08-2013, 10:47 PM
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I went for ride today and boy was Z dirty! I don't even try to clean up every inch of the hrose, just get the area where the saddle and girth go as clean as possible. and we walk for a good 20 minutes on the way back, to cool horses out. Ah, winter approaches. don't you just love it? . . . . . . . . NOT!
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post #5 of 38 Old 11-09-2013, 06:47 AM
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evilamc...that is what I refer to as "show ring mentality".
Basically, they have show horses and you do not, period.
So your needs are different and approaches to an animals health and comfort level will and must be different.
They body clipped their horses of natures intended defense from the cold where you have left yours fuzzy and they must blanket and heavily too unless they plan to body clip again and you do not need to deal with that.
Their horse can't go out in just about any weather without some protection except on warm sunny days for short periods of time. Their horses have no way to puff their coat for warmth & weather protection as yours does.

I don't know if you will be able to convey that your horse is better prepared for any weather condition with what Mother Nature has provided than theirs who now are dependent upon their humans for their comfort levels.
You can talk till blue in the face but some will not listen nor want to learn that there are other ways of doing things.
It sounds more like this is "a kid" with this attitude not an adult.... some kids and adults think they know it all about horses when that is so the learn everyday if you are truthful when dealing with horses.

Regardless, you are a "backyard rider" in a "show barn" atmosphere it sounds like... that is not a put down at all.
It is just a different approach to doing certain things with our horses, in this case blanketing yes or no.

Be firm with them on what you want. This is your horse and you are responsible for him, his bills and health concerns.
Actually, if you bent to their way of thinking now after he has grown his heavy winter coat for protection...he would probably get sick from over-heating or be miserable.
Be firm in your wants for your horse... you decide what and when the blanket makes a appearance, he is your horse not theirs.
I would bet you are going to find other issues you don't agree upon with your horses.
You may have to agree to disagree on some issues or look for another barn to keep the horse at. It is supposed to be fun owning & riding a horse, not to be challenged all the time on the way of doing something...

Just be firm in what you want....

I have had the "show barn" mentality and that of the backyard owner & rider....different approaches and neither is right or wrong, but with a different end goal in sight you need flexibility...
I found it easier to not mix the two elements in one barn only because the way of doing things could be different and I got tired of the static from others.... you might come to find the same thing true.
One thing I have never changed though is my "if in doubt, call the vet"... I don't leave things like that to a watch, wait and see like others in any discipline/style of riding activity. I would rather a vet bill and peace of mind than "What did I do" at my horses expense.

Good luck...and ENJOY your horse!

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Last edited by horselovinguy; 11-09-2013 at 06:50 AM.
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post #6 of 38 Old 11-09-2013, 07:44 AM
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Ugh. I managed a barn that was obsessed with blanketing to the point where none of the horses grew any winter coat at all. Personally I only use a thin waterproof sheet when its wet.

YOU know YOUR horse and how to keep him healthy and happy. If he is cold you'll know. Don't worry about how other people do things, do what works for you.
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post #7 of 38 Old 11-09-2013, 07:45 AM Thread Starter
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Wow thanks for the awesome response! You are right it is a kid that really wants to blanket him, she's 17 and just really only known horse show way. Her mom, the barn owner, and my actual friend are both fine with my wants/needs it's just getting through to the 17 year old :( it's odd how much she thinks he needs to be blanketed though, all the other boarders don't show either so I'm not sure if they blanket as much.

It's only been a week though so I think I can get through to her once she realizes he really is ok! Lol maybe I'll show her some stuff on here about why some horses don't need blankets to help her understand. Lol she freaked when I told her my horse only gets 1 lb of grain a day! A ration balancer lol,..she feeds her horses like 10-14 lbs. I think this will be an interesting experience for the both of us, as long as she doesn't blanket him behind my back or something like that I think it will work out fine.
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post #8 of 38 Old 11-09-2013, 08:46 AM
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The 17 yr old doesn't run the barn so therefore what she has to say is just her "suggestion" and I would put it somewhat like that. "I appreciate your concern for my horse's welfare but since I do not clip him and his winter coat is well developed, he is fine in these temps and I will blanket him when I feel it is time." If you were in Alaska I might say she was right but in Virginia...the blankets/sheets at the barns I rode at barely ever saw the light of day.

I am a paranoid type and it takes all of my willpower not to sheet or blanket and let the coat develop a bit. We know for a fact (via two thermometers) that the barn is a full 10 degrees warmer than outside when the doors and stall windows are closed so when the gauge outside reads 32, it is actually 42+ inside..plenty warm enough. We do not start sheeting until it is a consistent, as in more than 6 hours worth, of temps under 40 INSIDE the barn and do not start using blankets until it is a consistent below 30 inside. Now, if it is overly windy outside and temps are cooler, they will turn out with blankets even if temps are in the 30s or lower but for the most part the horses go out unblanketed in dry sunny weather when temps are even in the 20s. In cold damp weather, heavy fog, or snow flurries, they will send them out in blankets just for the weather proofing.

Last edited by tlkng1; 11-09-2013 at 08:48 AM.
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post #9 of 38 Old 11-10-2013, 09:30 PM
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it's actually much healthier to not blanket horses....wanting to blanket is a human comfort. for the most part, my guys stay blanketed since it's what they're used to (and most are partially, if not fully clipped for the season)...but my new baby is from colder temps and never been I see no reason to change that. he shall remain unblanketed, with a sheet for when the weather is really nasty.

you know your horse. if he's happy and maintaining weight and not frozen, keep up with what you're doing
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post #10 of 38 Old 11-10-2013, 09:45 PM
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I know lots of blanketing obsessed horse owners. It's their prerogative, although I think it's unnecessary most of the time.
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