Blanketing... Worried I may have made the wrong choice =/

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Blanketing... Worried I may have made the wrong choice =/

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    01-07-2014, 02:01 PM
Unhappy Blanketing... Worried I may have made the wrong choice =/

As a rule I don't blanket my horses.... ever... I have one heavy wieght blanket for emergancies. And then 4light wieght stable blankets. This morning the white mare was shivering. I grained them came back to check and she's shaking more. So I throw a medium blanket on her.... And then throw a blanket, and a stable blanket on the other mare who is shivering. The gelding appears unaffected. I'm worried I should have just left them =/ Going to put them back inside in awhile. And I'm seriously thinking about putting the heavy weight blanket onto the white, older mare. A quilt, and then the medium blanket onto the gelding. And check Suzie to see if she's still shiver, if so. Add another to her. Its below zero here, with horrible wind. I feel like maybe, because the weather is never like this, they just don't stand a chance? But perhaps I'm thinking on it to much Any thoughts are appreaciated. I'm uncertain what to do here having not faced this before. Part of me wants to just layer them in blankets (I'm home all day and can consantly check for sweat ect) the other part wants to just put them inside with hay and water, And walk away so I don't feel guilty
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    01-07-2014, 02:18 PM
If it makes you feel any better our horses are shut in with hay right now because of the weather. We blanketed them when it dipped below 0 and turned them out but with the wind chill here it's like -20 so we just put them in with hay. I feel bad that they're locked in, but I'd rather them be blanketless in a warmer environment than risk them getting too hot under a blanket in a colder one.

We'd have them out right now with blankets but one of our horses is a bit of a barn brat and won't share the run in with the other two so it's just better to have them all in shelter than risk not giving the other two (one of which who is 18) a chance at shelter and water.

I suppose blanketing them and turning them out would be okay OR keeping them in with hay would be good too. But I probably wouldn't keep them in with hay AND a blanket.
    01-07-2014, 02:22 PM
I'm having a little trouble understanding your post. You said you wanted to take the blankets off then said put more on? Then you do but don't have a medium?

I would put *appropriate* blankets on the horses that need them and leave the others unless they seem cold. If they all seem cold shut them in too. Make sure they all have plenty of hay.

"They don't stand a chance" well they aren't exactly going to keel over lol. And you yourself said the other horse seemed fine. Don't stress, just do as I said above. And really, if they are shivering it's not the end of the world. Especially if you can check them regularly. Don't over blanket even if you can check them, there's no point and it's just more stress on their system. For 0 degrees I would put a heavy (or equivalent if you need to layer) on the 2 mares that need it and leave the gelding unless he seems cold.
    01-07-2014, 02:26 PM
Thank you guys, its never gotten cold like this that I can remember. And the only horse I've ever had to blanket in the winter was a paso mare I had here in training.
    01-07-2014, 02:27 PM
Don't stress, they're a little chilly, they'll be fine :) I wouldn't be surprised if none of them were shivering now that you've put the blankets on. If the wind chill is horrendous bring them in.

Make sure you take the blankets on once it warms up (a day or two) or you will need to continue blanketing for the rest of the winter.
    01-07-2014, 02:34 PM
I'm not leaving them on any longer than I need to =) and Suzie stopped shaking not 6min after being hooked into the blanket. Phouka(white mare) Still is =/ So when I bring her in I'm going to put the heavy one on her, and check every ten min. When she stops I'm going to try and place a lighter one on just to maintain that body heat while being in the barn. Its sappoused to be in the 20's tomarow and I will remove then until either A temp drops. Or B one starts really shaking again. Sorry for the panic mode above. I've never had to deal with this. And around here very few people do more than just toss them some feed in the field every now and then so I had no one to turn to for advice
sherie likes this.
    01-07-2014, 02:53 PM
Leave the heavy weight blanket on the older gal. The others will be fine with medium or there abouts. The older horses, who in your case, are also not used to the cold are not digesting and chewing as well as they once did so their food isn't as good at keeping them warm. Lots of hay for the younger ones will help them keep warm digesting it, but the older horse is probably now to the point where she's going to need help especially in really cold windy weather. I'd take them all back inside the barn with all the hay they can hold and leave the blankets on until this cold front passes.
sherie, natisha and Yogiwick like this.
    01-07-2014, 03:29 PM

Don't worry, I remember when I was young and our old mare got a chill. I was panicked and made my dad drive out in a storm to see her (experienced my first 360 spin :P) We called a lady at a nearby barn for advice and she loaned us a blanket and said to shut her in and she would be fine. 5 minutes later the mare was good :)
    01-07-2014, 03:43 PM
Isn't shivering a sign of homeostasis? I was blanketing my mare for a bit until my dad shunned me and told me I was inhibiting her natural instinct. I ripped it off, she shivered for a bit but then she was fine.
    01-07-2014, 04:09 PM
Horses and people shiver when they are cold to generate some heat. Older horses can no longer thermoregulate properly due to a lesser ability to digest what they eat and because frequently they can't chew what they eat properly. A lot of digestion begins in the mouth and if teeth are worn down or missing then the food isn't ground up and mixed with saliva properly to start the digestive process. Once the food reaches the part of the gut where it is digested and heat is generated in the process, the digestive process isn't as efficient as it was when they were younger. If they can't digest and thus produce heat with the process, they start to drop weight. Once they drop enough weight, then they can't thermoregulate properly anymore and need help, ie a blanket. You have to see the horse that is standing in front of you, not the horse the textbooks or old timers are always talking about. That may not be the horse you have.

There are all kinds of things that play into this too, the climate they're used to, their teeth, their age, their overall health and body condition, windy & cold vs wet & cold vs wet, cold & windy and so on. You have to evaluate each horse on their own merits, not just follow a general rule or do things one way just because "that's how we've always done them". A lot of research is done daily and new things are discovered daily.

My favorite example of this is: The little old person who is always cold. It's August, 95 F, humid and they are covered in Ben Gay and wearing a heavy sweater. They are no longer thermoregulating the way they used to.
sherie and Yogiwick like this.

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