I agree that it's mostly a mental thing with us people. Last winter every time it snowed or was super cold I couldn't stop my self thinking he'd be out there int he cold. My mother (who isn't a horse person) actually called me cruel for not putting a rug on him. I did so much reading on this last year and decided not to blanket but with wanting to ride more this year the option to blanket came up again. I think i'll stick with leaving it off.
I guess i'll be spending more time cooling him out, I do have a cooler that comes in handy and that tip about the shamwow under the saddle pad, thanks for that it'll help loads.
That is him in the pic, and yeah I worried about him overheating because he's a dark horse if I did blanket.
Countmystrides, theres some owners at my barn who do the same thing. It was down to 48 last weekend overnight and their horses were blanketed. Phoenix is a mustang too, i'm sure they're hardy enough to take a little cold.
What do you guys who don't blanket do when your horses get wet? Do you dry them off so their hair can stand up again or do you leave them to dry off on their own? I had this issue last year when it rained/ice-rained or showed heavily; I tried to dry him out if he was inside but if he was out I couldn't really do a lot.
When mine get wet, I generally just leave them to their own devices. Once it stops actually raining or sleeting, they will often roll frequently to dry themselves and break up the clumps of hair.
Just so you don't feel so bad, here's a pic of one of my herd last winter when it was drizzly and windy and about 5 degrees outside. None of mine ever got sick or even acted like it bothered them (even my 27 year old retiree lives without a blanket).
You had to introduce the wet element into this!! The only time I will blanket is in rain, only because I believe a wet cold horse is a very bad thing. In a driving rain, I use a light sheet to keep him dry. Several times last year, I arrived at the barn to find my horse shivering since he was left out in a cold, raw rain.
However to me snow is an entirely different monster. If you ever look at pics of horses standing in the snow, the snow stays on top of their coat. I'm not entirely sure that they actually get wet on their skin. If anything, it might even act as an insulation itself.
I would always turn my horse out dry after a workout, but for snow, I let mother nature take care of that.
Sorry to add rain to the mix, but these are vital questions and people are putting my mind at ease. Now when my mother calls me a monster for leaving my horse un-blanketed I can tell her all these things.
I've never seen a horse with a blanket off with heavy snow on their coat. Mostly because a lot of the people here blanket, plus if phoenix has had snow on his coat he generally rolls and it comes off by the time I visit the barn.
Last year I went by the rule if he was warm on his chest he was okay. A few times when he was wet he was pretty cold so I put his cooler on to dry him off. I'll make sure if he sweats that I dry him off before he goes back out.
I'm in Ohio and last winter it was pretty cold, it's supposed to be equally as cold this year.
He's not out 24/7, he'll be going to just day turnout as soon as the weather turns colder. Not my choice but the barns.
Okay, so a light blanket won't allow the hair to stand up? Light blanket is out of the question then. I bought a medium weight last year (because it was on sale), I figured it would be handy to have around in case he got sick or something.
He gets pretty fuzzy and I guess I could clip if he's getting really sweaty. The barn I used to be at my horse was the only one there without a blanket on. Some horses even had more than one on at once which I thought was taking it a bit too far.
AWW don't say that -- I live in Ohio too, at the edge of the snow belt! BOOO!!!!
I board as well and when we had that little cold streak a few weeks ago I thought about blanketing but the barn still stayed pretty warm at night so I didn't (nobody else at my barn was either and it's a show barn where everyone works their horses all year round so they don't want furry winter coats). Once it starts being consistently cooler like in the 40's during the day, I'll put a light sheet on mine, and once it gets cooler than that, I use a medium weight and that's what stays on her all winter. I never use a heavy weight, since she's only out during the day for turnout and comes in late afternoon and stays in all night.
But it really all depends on the horse! Are there any trainers at your barn you could ask?
Our horses are NEVER blanketted. Mind you, around here the winter is milder than Ohio, but can be very wet and windy which is sometimes worse. We ride as much as we can, but only trail ride in the winter and very light arena work. (too muddy!) We come back and horses are usually sweaty on neck and under saddle. I have no heat lamps or anythig to aid drying except towels and elbow grease. The get an extra handful of hay and off you go to the lower 40. They are no wetter than if it were the typical Seattle winter day of 39 degrees and raining. The get wet out all the time, regardless of whether I ride or not.
The worsth thing is to put a blanket on a horse that is not 100% dried. Then you keep that cold wet hair packed down on his body and disallow it to dry, then he is in a cramped stall and cannot walk around to warm himself or roll to aleiviate the itch.
Two years ago we had a lot of snow and subfreezing temps and the horses had snow all over them (their insulation is SO good that it doesn't even melt.) It's like a roof in a snowy day; if it has melted spots, then the insulation is poor; snow all over and insulation is just fine.
Just make sure your cute horse (and he is cute) gets plenty of hay to burn to keep warm. They need the calories.
Hi fellow ohio person. I heard that we were going to be cold with very little precipitation; but who really knows. I think i'd rather have a little warmer and a bit snow if i'm honest.
My horse sounds like he's on a similar schedule to yours. It's a sort of retirement barn so no trainers. The barn owner hates blankets but the barn manager is blanketing her horses. Conflicting points of view.
You're probably right about it depending on the horse and he did fine last year with no blanket. We had people here blanket during that brief cold snap but the horse is 32 so I can understand her worries.
See I wish phoenix had shelter so he could stay dry if he wanted, but the field he's in has no shelter. Maybe I can get them to switch him to the field with the run in.
Here's an article I just found about blanketing...(Horse and Rider online)
When to Blanket Your Horse in Winter
Use this handy checklist to decide if it's time to offer your horse a little extra warmth this winter with a blanket.
By Melissa Hower-Moritz, Ph.D.
Knowing when to blanket your horse can help keep him comfortable through inclimate weather.
Photo by Darrell Dodds
Some horses are happy in all but the most bitter temperatures, while others shiver on the first cold night of fall. To figure out if your horse needs a blanket, answer the following yes-or-no questions. A "yes" answer to any one means your horse would appreciate a little extra insulation.
1. Is it below 50 degrees Fahrenheit? Even if your horse has a natural (unclipped) haircoat, he may appreciate a blanket at this temperature. This is just a general rule of thumb, since other factors (such as wind, humidity and/or precipitation) may call for a blanket when it's warmer. On the other hand, some horses acclimate to colder temperatures, especially those with thick haircoats.
2. Is his coat clipped? If so, your horse may need a blanket (or at least a sheet) when the mercury drops below 60 degrees F.
3. Does he usually live indoors? If your horse lives even part of the time in a warm barn, he'll feel the cold more than a horse that lives outside full time.
4. Does he live in an open pasture? A full-time outdoor horse will grow a heavy coat to ward off the elements, but wind and rain can destroy that insulating effect. If there's no shelter in his pasture, he may need wind- and water-resistant horse clothing to stay warm.
5. Is his stall drafty? Drafts in your barn may have the same effect as outside breezes--they blow away that layer of warm air next to your horse's skin, making him feel colder.
6. Is he shivering? Don't go by formulas--check your horse to see whether he's too cold. If he's shivering, blanket him (or add blankets) and get him to a shelter. (To see if your horse is too warm, slide your hand under his blanket; if he's sweaty, he needs a lighter covering, or none at all.)