Best Blanketing Options?

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Best Blanketing Options?

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  • Alberta winters keeping jorses outside

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    08-05-2011, 02:17 PM
Question Best Blanketing Options?

I'm trying to figure out if I should get a stable blanket + sheet, medium turnout, heavyweight turnout, etc.

My horse lives outside 24/7, but she can go under the barn overhang for shelter. However, because of this I need to always make sure the top layer is waterproof. Winter gets below 0 fahrenheit (below freezing). Late fall and early spring can be pretty cold too, but not that cold.

I was thinking about getting a light turnout blanket, and then putting medium trurnout blanket on top when it gets really cold (light+medium=heavy, right?)

Or I was thinking about getting a medium turnout blanket, and just putting a stable sheet underneath when it's really cold.

I'm also open for suggestions. The more I think about it, the more options I come up with, and I'm not sure what to do!

P.S. My horse grows a good winter coat, but she's thin skinned and still seems to be bothered by the cold. I don't know if that helps you decide...
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    08-05-2011, 02:22 PM
Are you blanketing so she stays dry or because you want to have less hair coat to deal with all winter?

That does affect the answer.

The two that I blanket get a turn out sheet (water proof) on at the beginning of hunting season (reason is to make them bright colored at that point) and they wear that same sheet (or one just like it) all winter.

They both grow a good winter coat under it and have no problem keeping warm, even in a winter rain.
    08-05-2011, 02:30 PM
I'm really just doing it so she can stay warm. Staying dry would be an added bonus for me though! I don't mind the extra hair, so I'm not concerned about that.

So you just use a sheet, with no fill? I once heard that a sheet can flatten a horses coat, and it's the space between the coat and the body that keeps the horses warm, so they can get colder by wearing a sheet. Is that true? How cold are your winters?
    08-05-2011, 02:48 PM
I have heard that too. My horses do not agree with that theory though. I have done this set-up for three winters now and they do fine. Nice thick winter coat under there.

And just FYI - I like horse blankets. Like some woman like shoes or purses, I like horse blankets. I would prefer to have them layered in all kinds of fancy things like I did when my old guy was showing.

Mine probably would be naked now if I did not fear they would be mistaken for deer during hunting season.

Why not start with something water proof and have layers available if she needs them. Base your layering on what her body says she needs.
    08-05-2011, 03:25 PM
Ooh! I was just going to start a similar thread Ė do you mind if I highjack a little?

Iíll be bringing home a 16 year old Standardbred mare and winters in Edmonton, Alberta can get bitterly cold (weíre talking an average of -20*C for 3-5 months, but can get as cold as -40*C). She will be kept outside 24/7 and does develop a fairly substantial winter coat. However, I donít know if itíll be enough. Sheíll have shelter and other horses to stand beside for additional warmth, but Iím a little bit worried since she is older. The seller warned me that she came out of last winter a little thin, so Iím already planning to increase her hay/forage and introduce a good senior feed to her diet in hopes of adding some extra padding before the winter. But Iím still uncertain about blanketing. Do older horses have greater issues regulating their body heat? Should I expect that sheíll need a heavy blanket because sheís a senior? Would it be in her best interest to board her indoors for the coldest months of the year?

I apologize for how silly this question sounds, but Iíve only been around younger horses (up to 5-6 years old) that lived in stalls most of the time and were blanketed during turn out. On really cold days, they didnít even go out!
    08-05-2011, 03:47 PM
Some older horses do have a harder time in the winter. If this one has not had a problem before I would not fret about it. Keep an eye on her and if she needs help that extra hay is not taking care of then blanket then.
    08-06-2011, 07:25 AM
Originally Posted by petitepyromaniac    
I'm really just doing it so she can stay warm. Staying dry would be an added bonus for me though! I don't mind the extra hair, so I'm not concerned about that.

So you just use a sheet, with no fill? I once heard that a sheet can flatten a horses coat, and it's the space between the coat and the body that keeps the horses warm, so they can get colder by wearing a sheet. Is that true? How cold are your winters?
If you look at a horse with a good coat out in the cold, you will see that their hair does fluff up, creating that air space next to the skin to help trap the warmth, but any covering, including rain sheets, also trap the warmth even if they do flatten the hair.
What really chills the most is the horse being wet out in the cold, especially if it is windy, too. Our mares are out 24x7 and the only time we put anything on them is if it is around freezing and raining all they will get soaking wet. In that case, we just use waterproof rain sheets and they stay dry and warm. If it is just cold or snowing, they are fine without any covering. For reference, in this part of NC, 20-40F is typical in the winter, a few weeks can be in the 10-20F range, and only a couple snows (Last winter, though, was very unusual with much more snow and much colder and wetter).
As you choose a covering, if any, keep in mind that it is worse to be too warm than too cold. If your horse starts sweating under the covering, not only will it start to chill them, but you create the ideal environment for bacteria/fungus related skin problems (warm, humid, little air flow). As much as it may break your heart, a little shivering in the worst weather is natural and nothing to worry about as long as they have enough forage to eat.


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