11-18-2009, 11:47 AM
| || | I would just like to comment, because I feel that you can go one of two ways.
Originally Posted by Juniper
I let our horses grow a nice winter coat. Then I put a blanket on. But I make sure to get a water proof, breathable one with no insulation. In other words a rain sheet.
Horses have a natural defense against cold - their coat. In order for it to work properly, it has to be able to stand up and not get matted down. The heat gets trapped by the big wooly coat, and stays closer to the skin. My understanding is that you kind of want to go one of two ways with colder weather:
1) Leave the horse unblanketed, and let the horse's coat ward off the cold. In this instance you do want to groom the horse on a regular basis (I'm not talking everyday) to keep the hair fluffy so it has maximum heat retention.
2) Blanket the horse with insulated blankets according to the weather. So you have on hand at least a mid-weight and heavy-weight blanket, and possible a light-weight, and you put these blankets on according to their temperature rating.
If your horse has a winter coat, you will be hindering the natural heat properties if you squash it down, even with a rainsheet. Rain sheets have their place, absolutely, but when you're talking about cold temperatures, you kind of want to go one way or the other with blanketing - you either want to leave the horse be, or blanket fairly heavily. A rainsheet will squash the hair down, so the horse's natural defenses (its fluffy hair) are pushed down, but the sheet itself offers very little warmth, so you're kind of defeating the point.
Does that make sense? I have this question all the time at my tack store, I hope I've explained myself well.. I haven't had my coffee this morning!!