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To blanket or to not blanket?

This is a discussion on To blanket or to not blanket? within the Horse Grooming forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    06-10-2012, 01:57 PM
Green Broke
Blanketing is not dangerous unless you wrap the horse in a heavy blanket and leave it on while it's warm out.

A horse can only ingest so much hay. I could surround my horse with round bales and when it drops below 10 degrees he would still lose weight. He cannot eat enough to make up for that which he loses due to being cold. As he is a hard keeper that I struggle to keep weight on, oh yes I blanket him!

I see absolutely no GOOD reason to watch a horse stand around shivering. It probably won't harm or kill them but why should they be miserable? My kids own 50 jackets of all different weights so that they do not need to shiver or be miserable and I see my horse no differently.
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    06-10-2012, 02:13 PM
If your horse is healthy, has hay, and shelter do his/her skin a favor and don't blanket unless absolutely necessary. That nice warm, dark, moist environment is a perfect breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria and fungus.
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BrieannaKelly likes this.
    06-10-2012, 02:22 PM
My hard keeper TB is blanketed for the reasons Delfina mentioned; he would lose weight if he had to expend it producing more body heat to make up for his thin skin in negative temperatures. The other TB, my Paso, and my Percheron are never blanketed and won't be unless it drops to incredibly low temperatures.
BrieannaKelly likes this.
    06-10-2012, 05:27 PM
I keep my horse blanketed in winter because she shivers alot otherwise. I don't see the need to let her suffer. She also tends to lose weight in winter. In response to a previous post, I switch and wash my blankets on a regular basis and she has never had any skin problems. It also depends on what you think, where you keep your horse and how much hay the horse has access to. My mare does best on free choice hay, unfortunately my stable does not feed that and I've yet to find a local one that does so the blanket will stay on. I've seen lots of horses that do just fine without blankets, my mare is not one of them. Yes it's extra time and money, but my horse is worth it.
BrieannaKelly likes this.
    06-10-2012, 05:57 PM
I blanket, not really because it gets cold (rarely under 45 F) but because it rains. A lot. And when it rains hard here, 90% of the time it is accompanied by 10 MPH wind.. Wind usually is what does it, combined with rain, as it blows up a horses furry winter coat and the rain can therefore get inside the horses coat behind the "guard hairs."

I also think this is almost exactly like the shod or barefoot horse .. It changes on where you live, and also on your horse and its living conditions.
BrieannaKelly likes this.
    06-10-2012, 09:24 PM
I blanket mine. I live in Nebraska where we have extreme temps. And even worse winds.

He used to be in a heard of 40 with his old owners.
Now, he's in the paddock with only one other horse. I think that makes a huge difference, not having other horses body heat around him.

How many horses are with him?
BrieannaKelly likes this.
    06-10-2012, 11:17 PM
Here are the ONLY times I blanket
1. When the horse's body is clipped (that part of their body, if left uncovers, would be very cold)
2. If the horse shivers
3. If I have a hard keeper that can't stand to loose the calories to warm himself
Remember that if you put a blanket horse and they start to sweat, that sweat freezes and their body temperature gets color than it would be without a blanket. Your mom was correct saying that horses' hair protection will get screwed up if they wear a blanket. The reason most people blanket is because when we go outside in 40 degree weather we say, "oh crap, it's cold" now remember that horses have layers of waterproof hair and warmth hair so when it's 40 they think, " how comfy" and if your climate stays steady (not 20 one day and 80 the next) then horses adapt to live other cold. You are actually huring them to an extent by not letting their hair grow out naturally. Remember that there is a reason why horses shed in the summer. Hope this helps!
stevenson and BrieannaKelly like this.
    06-29-2012, 07:43 PM
Thank you all!

Thank you all for all the responses! I appreciate the feed back and took good note to all the suggestions.
Thanks again!
    07-06-2012, 10:08 PM
Well, last winter I moved my horse to a new stable halfway through the season (Christmas Eve woohoo haha). She had a nice fluffy winter coat, and we did not blanket her. However, when I moved her to a new (much smaller and more personal) stable, I put on a turnout sheet for rain and snow. It doesn't have any fill but is just thin. The biggest concern I've had with blanketing is just to make sure that it isn't put on if her coat is wet/moist. I'm not a blanketing expert, and to be honest, I'm not sure if I will use the turnout sheet again or move up to something thicker or what exactly my situation will be for this winter... I'm going to be getting some advice from folks I know. You could speak to a vet or people at a tack shop if you want more specific advice if you are confused about what your mother is telling you. Some people really like to just go all natural and other people enjoy the clipped horse's appearance and blanket to their heart's desire. I hope it works out for you!
BrieannaKelly likes this.
    07-07-2012, 12:09 PM
I really think that whether or not to blanket a horse comes down to what is going to work out best for each individual horse and how they are being managed.

Some horses will do just fine without a blanket and some will need to be blanketed. It all comes down to the individual horse and how they are being managed.
BrieannaKelly likes this.

blanketing, blanketing help

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