Horses permanently rugged - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 65 Old 08-29-2012, 04:37 AM
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And yes, loosie, we sometimes get worried calls from passers by (and some even called animal control on us! ) about freezing horses that are dying (umm, it's called sleeping, actually) in the snow. The BO is then more that happy to invite them for a visit, and show&tell them about how horses are meant to live, how they keep themselves warm by having natural termoregulation and free access to good quality hay. One thing is for sure - my horse enjoys winters more than summers. No horseflies, ticks and other insects around to bother him, no heat, no dust...
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post #12 of 65 Old 08-29-2012, 04:40 AM
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My horse has 5 rugs on in winter... he loses weight otherwise. If I could get away with less over-the-top-ness, I would.

Just to play devil's advocate, sometimes there IS a very good reason for it :)

...of course my other horse is the other extreme, totally nekkid no matter how cold it gets.
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post #13 of 65 Old 08-29-2012, 04:45 AM
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Well, when there are reasons, there are reasons. I consider buying a winter rug just in case my horse ever REALLY needs it - because of sickness or injury, sudden extreme temperatures (-40 by Celsium and such), and so on. But senseless rugging ("just because!"), to my mind, is a crime against horses' health.
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post #14 of 65 Old 08-29-2012, 04:50 AM
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Blue Eyed, yes there are indeed exceptions to just about every rule, but have you considered buying one of the thick, high tech rugs that will do the same job as weighing him down with 5? Also while it's a matter of degrees of course, horses these days currently suffer metabolic issues because they remain overweight - or even a 'good' weight long term without those 'bad' seasons to use up their fat stores. Horses losing weight in winter is not necessarily a bad thing at all & can be beneficial for their health.
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post #15 of 65 Old 08-29-2012, 05:00 AM
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Good point, loosie. Our horses always lose some weight (not much enough to harm their health, of course) during early spring (because the hay is of lesser quality then and there is no grass yet), during the middle of the winter (because of lower temperatures), and during the middle of the summer (when the horseflies give them a reason to move, lol), and we always monitor them and are sure they are in good shape. Such conditions stimulate their termoregulation and immunity, and we get healthier and active horses.

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post #16 of 65 Old 08-29-2012, 05:59 AM
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I do agree that there can be good reasons for a horse being rugged. Though I never understand why people put 5 or 6 rugs on instead of 1 or 2 good thick rugs.

Most people I know only rug if they have too but almost every show person I know (not saying everyone is like this) has had 1 rug minimum on during a hot summer and up to 6 during winter. Most have said they do it because they don't want the horse growing winter thick hair and they can't be bothered to clean the horse if it gets dirty.

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post #17 of 65 Old 08-29-2012, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by EvilHorseOfDoom View Post
Oh gosh, pchick I am so with you!! So many over-rugged horses here in Australia. Especially hack show ponies - layers and layers of rugs, plus a skinny hood, as they sit sweltering in a barn in summer with no breeze to speak of. The poor things would rub up against everything and look utterly miserable. There were a few people muttering about it but it seemed so accepted by most. "*snooty voice* 35C? Oh, perhaps we'll only use the cotton rug and the lycra slinky rug today! Take the polar fleece off!" AGH!!

My horse gets one medium doona rug in winter out in his paddock - more to help keep the elements off than anything. Where he is, it gets down close to freezing in the early hours of the morning. He had a very light cotton rug for May and August/September when he was stabled, but I didn't use the doona rug til it was getting down below 10C at night (June/July) and didn't keep it on in the day unless it was very cold. Because I didn't rug til late in the year he developed a lovely winter coat (shiny too - but I wouldn't mind if he were fluffy!).

Australia, wake up and go and see what sort of weather it takes for northern Europeans to put rugs on a pony! And stop clipping in winter unless you're actually working them hard, horses look nice with a natural coat! Grrr.

YOu see, for me , 10 Celcius (50 Farenheit) is not a ruggable temp. That is a pleasant temp., a bit on the cool but no where near cold.
If the horse is in a stall and cannot walk around to stay warm, then I might want to blanket at around 5 C or less. But if they are out , can walk around and have access to hay and a windbreak, they will not need blankets at all, (assuming their winter hair has not been clipped off). I guess it's all relative.

I know that some horses dont' grow much of a winter coat, so they might be an exception

Most horse grow a perfect winter coat. WE put a coat on them becuase we feel cold, but we forget that their fur is already an amazing coat!
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post #18 of 65 Old 08-29-2012, 01:09 PM
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Definitely agree with this thread. Three of my four horses are blanket-free all year. The only reason I blanket my thoroughbred mare in the winter is because she's from Florida, and I live in Northern Ontario. She doesn't need to be heavily blanketed, but it is necessary because she doesn't grow a coat like the others do. Other than that, they all do extremely well. The other three are completely content even in -30 celsius weather, never seen a chill on any of them unless it's damp or the weather is bad, then they come inside.

Where I used to work, one boarder had her horse blanketed 365 days a year, 24/7. The only times I'd see the horse without a blanket was when she was riding. The horse was stalled 18 hours a day (private turnout), and turned out with a stable blanket to prevent the sun from bleaching his coat. This was in mid-summer (25-30 celsius weather). I suggested overnight turnout but that was quickly turned down. She didn't want him outside for prolonged periods because he could get injured (he was in a completely flat, electric fenced sand paddock with no other horses - he was a gelding, not a stallion) and didn't want him out without his sheet because he'd get dirty.

Now, I'm not into A circuit showing or anything, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I just find it sad. A herd animal who's meant to be outside stalled for 18 hours a day and turned out in mid summer with a stable sheet alone. Arg, don't mean to start a debate, just a personal opinion!
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post #19 of 65 Old 08-29-2012, 01:12 PM
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It IS sad. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing how happy horses are to meander a field, together. we could learn a lot from that.
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post #20 of 65 Old 08-29-2012, 01:54 PM
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I remember in my early teens bringing my horse(s) into their stalls from sleet and from freezing rain only to have them walk right back out into the horrid weather as soon as I left ...... to the never ending amusement of my grandfather who would always point out that "they know where the stalls are if they want out of the weather" (and that I didn't any horse sense ). It only took about three times of me wasting my time (and being laughed at by my grandfather) for it to sink in that a horse will know when it wants to come in out of the weather. Some did come in (sometimes).

Blanketing a horse is a "people" thing. People get locked into the mindset that if they're cold the horse feels the same and should given what the person thinks they need. Mother Nature gave them what they needed long ago...including "horse sense" which some horse owners don't seem to have
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