As long as the weather here is crazy, I will be taking them off and putting them on quite a bit. Today's high is 78 degrees, but tonight will be 40 and Monday night will be low 30's.
With the rear leg straps removed, there is nothing for a foal to get tangled in. The belly band is also snug enough that it won't cause an issue either. Plus it is Velcro, not metal buckle or plastic snap, so it will come undone.
I would definitely not use a regular 2in nylong leg stap & belly strap type blanket on a mare that is near foaling or has a foal at her side. I also wouldn't intentionally blanket a mare that is about to foal.
As for the hair growing, I partially disagree. It is reduced daylight that makes them grow a coat, but if you keep them warm enough, they won't grow a long coat.
I have horses that live in a heated barn with more than enough light all night who grow more hair than one of my show geldings who lives out 24/7 for his health. Although sometimes I blame it on Barney's first year of life being in Canada, and think that ND's just not cold for him yet!
Blanketing will also help them shed faster. I only have 1 of my 11 head who isn't slicked off yet.
I am against blanketing for those who don't have someone to check on the horses at least twice a day, more during large temperature fluctuations. You also need to have enough blankets so that if one gets torn a spare is available (I only have one blanket destroyer. It's a personal challenge for him to try to unbuckle or pull it off)
The other mistake people make is not buying a heavy enough blanket or not using a layering system. When my family has to help me do chores, they absolutely hate how complicated my system is. For all different seasons, I have at least 8 different blankets per horse, ranging from Lycra sheet to 500g fill heavy winter. Plus different neck rugs and hoods. Each type of blanket has a different color so I can just list the layers by color instead of having to describe the style or fill level. I can put 3-4 blankets on and not have anyone sweat even if they are galloping back and forth in the pasture. They are comfortable and this is a benefit of layering.
I'm sure not many people would need as complicated a system as I have. I do though because it can be -20 or much lower, not including windchill factor, and the horses still need to go out for at least a few hours. Leaving a 50 degree barn for -20 is a huge change in temperature and they need protection whether they have a winter coat or not.
Sorry for rambling on and getting a little off topic.
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