Blanket non-clipped horse when temp is below -35 degrees celcius? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 13 Old 12-21-2012, 10:57 PM
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 16
• Horses: 0
I prefer not to blanket my Arab is 27 years old and has a fantastic coat! I only blanket him if it's heavy wet snow combined with wind as he hates being in a shelter and can get chilled. Otherwise he stays unblanketed.


My OTTB is another story. He is usually always blanketed in the winter. Even at -5. I too live in Canada (northern BC) and the winters can be rough on him. He doesn't get a very thick coat and is a hard keeper.

My friends TB is never blanketed!

It totally depends on your horse. Monitor him as the temperature drops. Like I said...I prefer not to blanket, but if they need it, well they need it! -35 is very cold and if there is a wind that could chill him if he can't get out of it.
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post #12 of 13 Old 12-27-2012, 09:41 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: North Dakota
Posts: 5,754
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My horses have never been blanketed in the cold. In North Dakota, we can also get to -20 below with a -50 below windchill. Very cold. My horses have always had windbreak and plenty of free choice hay. Outside. And I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen one of them shiver over the last 20 years, which they were put inside in those cases. Most healthy horses are quite capable with dealing with cold. But every horse is different.

I actually just experienced a horse seminar last week which discussed a horse's calorie needs during cold winter months. When the temperature drops below 30 degrees F is when a horse needs to start tapping into some extra calorie energy to stay warm. Therefore the horse needs to 1) eat more calories 2) be blanketed. Horses naturally have some 16 different "heating levels" just based upon how "puffed up" their hair coat is, which allows air to be trapped around the hair, warming the horse. You'll notice on colder days the horses look fuzzier. On warmer days, they look less so. That's their hair naturally standing on end, or laying flat to adjust to the right amount of warmth.

ALL horses need windbreak. Wind is the one thing there hair coats can't defend against. Wetness is also a factor that they have a hard time staying warm with, because it smashes the hairs down. If their is wind or rain, horses need more calories to stay warm. You may heed to supplement grain to reach to calorie needs.

If you are going to blanket, DO IT RIGHT. If you're horse is only a "little bit cold", you cannot just throw a little lightweight liner sheet on the horse to at "a little more warmth". But adding any blanket, you just squashed down all their hair -- their only warmth mechanism. So if you choose to blanket your horse, you've got to committ to it, and be ready to change blankets when the temperature changes around the clock, and to have a heavy enough blanket, and possibly a neck hood, when the horse needs it.

Have a blanket ready, but why don't you just watch him when the temperature gets cold? If he is shivering or seems to be dropping weight (make sure you FEEL your horses every day as their puffy hair coat can hide lost weight), then you'll need to start blanketing him.
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post #13 of 13 Old 12-27-2012, 09:53 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Johnson Creek, WI
Posts: 444
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I also agree that it totally depends on the horse. If they aren't shivering then it may be best to leave them be unless you know they tend to drop weight over the winter (as with my 31 year old). What I don't like is the wetness. I keep a waterproof sheet on her if it's raining/sleeting even if it's not extremely cold to keep her dry. She also gets a neck cover if it's snowing heavy, windy or extremely cold. I agree with some of the others that when they get wet all bets are off.

But, I'm a worry wort about her since she's old and drops weight a lot.

My minis, on the other hand, only start to shiver when it's incredibly cold. I think I saw them shiver a total of 5 days the winter before and no days last winter. No point in putting a rug on though, they take them off within 5 minutes. lol.

"Vulgarity is no substitute for wit. - Lady Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham
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