no winter blanket
 
 

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no winter blanket

This is a discussion on no winter blanket within the Horse Grooming forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • No horse blanket for winter

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  • 1 Post By waresbear
  • 3 Post By its lbs not miles

 
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    11-08-2013, 09:15 PM
  #1
Foal
no winter blanket

I want to try going without blanketing this year to give it a try. I live in Virginia(closer to the ocean and it only snowed a couple times last year) and it gets cold, but not crazy freezing like some places. My horse is a healthy eight/nine year old. He grows a winter coat even when I blanket. I do have a question though and any advice is welcome.

He is pasture boarded so he is out 24/7 with a bunch of other horses and cows. They can huddle up against barn walls in poor weather but I never see them do so. It is a large pasture though and is outlined by spacious woods with heavy coverage. Which is where they are usually found when it is super hot or rainy. Is rain a huge threat to a full-coated horse during winter? I'm not sure if the trees provide 100% cover or if he'd even use them all the time.
     
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    11-08-2013, 09:26 PM
  #2
Trained
My horse is out 24/7 as well, but she does have a shelter she can get into when she wants to. Usually, that is only when it is cold and wet just above freezing. I have seen her shivering outside, but she wants no part of being inside. Go figure. Below freezing and she'll be outside, even if there is wet snow.

Trees can provide a lot of coverage and protection. Is it enough? I dunno -- if you went and stood there when it is cold, raining and windy you might figure it out. How much difference is there between standing outside and standing under the trees?

Personally, I like to have a proper roof that a horse can get under.
     
    11-08-2013, 09:32 PM
  #3
Trained
A few years ago, I decided I would blanket both horses through the winter, just to make it easier on myself for riding (no muck to brush off, always have a dry horse to saddle), well HAH! Those nasty nags of mine shredded and ripped 4 expensive, tear resistance (BS!!) winter blankets. Oh, they also had a nice new run in shed that they used only for peeing purposes, they preferred the thick stand of fir trees much better. Since then, no winter blankets and the run in shed has been removed, everyone is happy.
xxdanioo likes this.
     
    11-08-2013, 10:49 PM
  #4
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by skycon    
I want to try going without blanketing this year to give it a try. I live in Virginia(closer to the ocean and it only snowed a couple times last year) and it gets cold, but not crazy freezing like some places. My horse is a healthy eight/nine year old. He grows a winter coat even when I blanket. I do have a question though and any advice is welcome.

He is pasture boarded so he is out 24/7 with a bunch of other horses and cows. They can huddle up against barn walls in poor weather but I never see them do so. It is a large pasture though and is outlined by spacious woods with heavy coverage. Which is where they are usually found when it is super hot or rainy. Is rain a huge threat to a full-coated horse during winter? I'm not sure if the trees provide 100% cover or if he'd even use them all the time.
1. Good for you. It has to be pretty brutal by natures standard (not human standards), meaning the healthy, well fed wild animals (deer, coyotes, etc) are freezing to death in significant numbers before it will to cold for a horse to handle. If left to nature they will grow a good coat and actually be better off than they would be if blanketed. I've never blanketed a horse any place I've been from central MA to southern AZ.
Even in the most brutal climate (I'm sure there are places in Alaska, Siberia, etc... that it might matter) I'd rather have a place to bring them into at night and let them use their Winter coat naturally instead of blanketing them.

2. I would recommend having some place that they can get good cover from. A simple 3 sided run it will work. While the majority of the time mine have always preferred to stand around trees (or even out in the open) they do at times go into their shelter. No rhyme or reason to it. Some in and others out, all in or all out.
It's not that rain is a "threat" to them, because I've seen them stand in a freezing rain (even go back out in it after being brought in) or that trees only offer limited degree of protection from rain, but there just are times that they will (for unknown reasons) go into a shelter if it's provided. However, they'll manage with whatever they can find. Barn walls can offer shelter from wind and eves may offer some (often better than trees) protection from rain. They'll use all these if they feel the need and it's available.
They can still grow a Winter coat (a lot or little), but not blanketing them alsos them maintain the ability to "puff out" their hair to hold air and keep warmer. Blanketing prevents that and after a time they won't be able to do it (it's not permanent, but I've seen it mess them up for most of a season) which results in them actually being cold if you don't maintain sufficient protection after messing with how they were designed to keep warm.

Mother nature equipped the horse with what it needs to deal with cold weather. It's only people who think we know what's better than nature, which designed the horse to deal with various climates.
waresbear, Roux and horselovinguy like this.
     
    11-09-2013, 03:06 AM
  #5
Yearling
I have read a lot of articles that suggest that blanketing in the winter isn't actually very good for horses. It can impair their natural ability to regulate their temperatures.

I have never blanked any of my horses and I have never had a problem. I do however live in NM which doesn't get as cold as some places but we do reach freezing temps for a good part of late winter and early spring.
     
    11-09-2013, 04:15 PM
  #6
Weanling
I don't blanket ( the barn I board at doesn't allow it) and they're out 24/7 unless they're getting fed, so they're inside maybe 20 minutes a day. My horse is already looking like a mammoth, he grows a huge winter coat and doesn't shiver. I make sure if he gets wet and the. Dries that I brush him out to fluff up is coat, I also try to keep his coat clean of mud so he'll be warmer.

The barn he's at has an over hang from the barn they can go under and trees for protection but they mostly end up just standing out in the field.
     

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