I blanket my mare in the winter, but that's only because she's older (25) and when it rains (which it does a lot of here in Oregon) she gets rather nonresponsive and sluggish acting if she's allowed to get cold and wet. I also like riding in the winter and I really dislike putting a saddle on the wet back of a horse so I blanket her.
If she were young, didn't act weird when she's wet, and I had a way to dry her before I saddled her up I probably would leave her un-blanketed.
I say just go with what your horse shows you she needs. Try not to blanket her at first but if she starts acting funny, like she's cold, then blanket her appropriately. I've heard that a way to tell if a horse is getting too cold is if the horse's ears are cold. Evidently, if they're warm enough their ears will stay warm. I'm not a vet so I don't know if that's exactly true, but last winter when I blanketed my mare, her ears never felt really cold, where they always were the year before when I didn't blanket...
If you do blanket, you need to make sure she's dry before blanketing her again (being wet under the blanket can cause skin infections, like rain rot) and you want to take it off everyday, or at least every other day, to thoroughly groom her so that her skin stays healthy.
Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding
Rest peacefully, Lacey.
Last edited by Wallaby; 10-18-2010 at 11:41 PM.