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post #11 of 38 Old 12-09-2013, 12:14 AM
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Recently read research states that horses handle cold weather better than hot. A horse has amazing skin that protects his core temperature. The skin can raise and lower the hair and even turn it to meet the horse's needs. When a blanket is added it removes the horse's natural ability to maintain his core temperature. My horses spent the night out in -30* temps. last night and their were fine, their coats fluffed out. They have 24/7 access to hay and are watered 3 x daily. Water is important to a horse staying warm. Some feel snow provides enough but it doesn't. It was ok for wild horses that weren't confined by fencing and ate the frozen grasses that were full of moisture beneath the snow. But, we fence them off and give them dry hay. Therefore they need water and salt.
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post #12 of 38 Old 12-09-2013, 12:28 AM
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Medium weight is suitable down to 20-10 degrees depending on the horses coat. As said, you will make him colder by underblanketing by getting rid of his coats ability to fluff up. Manufacturers will put exact weights and suitable temperatures on their blankets. So if you don't have a suitable blanket it is important to just let him take care of himself. Horses are SO easy to kill with kindness.

When do people in your parts use heavy weights?..
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post #13 of 38 Old 12-09-2013, 12:36 AM
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Though the amount of daylight is PRIMARY trigger of hair loss and hair growth, warmth of environment does indeed factor into the triggering of hair shedding/growth though in much, much lesser degree. Once a horse grows in his winter hair blanketing more than likely will not trigger a shedding unless the blankets are heavy (then you risk sweating and chilling and then you have created other problems). That is why one begins to blanket once the weather begins to drop below 40 at nights ( keeping lights on for a few hours more past nightfall also helps with the lack of heavy coat growth in connection with blanketing can further impeed hair growth esp if you are showing or riding alot.)

"The question is not, can they reason? nor, can they talk? but, can they suffer?" Jeremy Bentham
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post #14 of 38 Old 12-09-2013, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by imagaitin View Post
Are your temps below zero in the Winter?
Not usually, no. Like tomorrow night is forecasted to have a low of 7 F. That is really cold for our area. Normal lows are in the high teens and 20's. So at 7 F. I am feeding extra hay and a tiny bit more grain. I also have a tank de-icer to keep water available to them at all times. I know not everyone feels they need access to water 24/7 but it makes me feel better. The biggest thing I worry about with the horses in winter as far as their health is dehydration. Plus, with a tank de-icer I don't have to carry buckets of hot water and a hammer and scoop to remove chunks of ice, so it's convenient for me too.

There may have been times we have gotten down to zero or a bit below, but usually single digits are extremely cold for us. It is Arizona after all. All of us humans act like we are freezing to death and we still have it MUCH better than much of the rest of the country.
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post #15 of 38 Old 12-09-2013, 12:43 AM
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Due to the higher concentration to dry matter consumed in the winter some horses will consume same amounts of water in the winter as they do in the summer. Water should be provided 24/7 snow or no snow. An average horse of 1000lbs will consumes an average of 15 gallons of water a day. More if lactating or sweating or eating primarily dry matter (hay and concentrates).

1 cup of snow = to about 1/8 cup of water give or take some depending on the wetness or dryness of the snow crystals

"The question is not, can they reason? nor, can they talk? but, can they suffer?" Jeremy Bentham
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post #16 of 38 Old 12-09-2013, 12:32 PM
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Last year I didn't clip my horse, and I didn't blanket him, and he was fine. It was a pretty mild winter, though, even for us (we usually get a light dusting or two of snow, but it usually doesn't stay below freezing for very long) I did get a light blanket to keep him clean before jumping lessons (I was trailering out to another barn with a friend; my lesson was always the last one and the horses were either tied to the trailer- often in the rain- or put into a muddy paddock)

This winter I got a heavier, better fitting blanket for my horse because I was thinking of doing a low trace clip (which I did). I was told by my trainer and my vet that I didn't really need to do anything different for the low trace clip (in terms of blanketing) but it's turning out to be a very cold winter so I'm glad I have the blanket. Even if I didn't clip I would have felt better knowing he had the blanket on as the barn staff may or may not actually give more hay when it's colder (depending on who's feeding that day)
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post #17 of 38 Old 12-09-2013, 01:11 PM
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I went out a few nights ago when the temp was -20 with windchill of -40. Our horses weren't shivering a bit. These same horses I have seen shiver at 40F. Now, if I was to blanket them at the higher temp, they wouldn't have been able to handle the lower temps.

Out of 16, we only have 3 that are blanketed. Two that are less than 1 year old and our oldest mare. My wife went against my wishes and blanketed her. She is only 19 and is healthy. Now she wants to blanket our 2nd oldest mare of 16. My wife is one of those that once she gets it in her head, nothing can change her mind.

To blanket or not. Generally, horses do fine or better without our intervention. The problem is that there is no cut and dry answers. At what temp? 50? 30? 0? -20?
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post #18 of 38 Old 12-09-2013, 01:14 PM
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I don't think you can have a "blanket" opinion on blankets. IMHO, always keep one blanket/horse if you live north of the Mason-Dixon line. Always check your horses and give them wind shelter. Let them grow a good coat, but if your horse becomes chilled and is shivering, then blanket them until it warms up and/or they recover. Remove the blanket if the horse is shivering.
I also keep an old, holey canvas throw, too, for my horses.

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Hope that you fall in love with "Trot", like I did!
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post #19 of 38 Old 12-09-2013, 09:55 PM
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If I can avoid it, I don't blanket. But then again I live in Northern California where the coldest it gets is like 18 degrees, and it snows once every 6 years.
But I am originally from Maine, and it gets extremely cold there. And I know people who still don't blanket, because they grow extremely fluffy coats and can regulate their own temperature.
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post #20 of 38 Old 12-09-2013, 10:49 PM
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Location: In Sunny, HOT and HUMID S.C.
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I've never put anything bigger than a saddle blanket on any horse no matter where I lived. Nature gave horses the ability to regulate their temperature and they need to have control of their hair to do that. When you put a blanket on you prevent that. It will quickly lead to them being unable to use their hair to catch air. At that point they will get cold without our interference. I've had horses leave their stalls (always left open) to stand in a freezing rain. I've had them break the ice over the pond on sub freezing days to they could wade out or lay in the freezing water (I figured they wanted to cool off since it wasn't quite 10 F yet.
As someone already mentioned. Horses deal better with cold weather than they do hot/humid weather although if we don't mess them up they can manage in both. Even if I lived north of the Artic Circle I'd only want a place they could come into to stay warmer if they wanted. I still wouldn't blanket them. I don't want to ever impede the abilities nature provided them. From New England to AZ I've never lost a horse to the cold and none of my horses has ever known the feel of a blanket (except for under the saddle).

They're always going to be bigger and stronger so you better always be smarter. (One of my grandfather's many pearls of wisdom)
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