Rugging up in Winter.
 
 

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Rugging up in Winter.

This is a discussion on Rugging up in Winter. within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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        02-07-2013, 04:55 PM
      #1
    Foal
    Rugging up in Winter.

    This winter I would like to try and minimize the time my horses spend in covers. I was wondering if I was to leave them uncovered for most part but to put covers on them for days of really bad weather such prolonged heavy rain will that effect their natural ability to keep warm when I then remove the cover? Also will a few days spent in a cover effect the growth of their winter coat?

    The horses are in paddocks not stalled.
         
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        02-07-2013, 06:55 PM
      #2
    Weanling
    When you start to cover a horse all the time it takes a long time to get there hair growth back to where it should be to keep work. The best thing to do is just put a rain sheet on them when its raining if they don't have any cover. You don't want a super heavy cover on them. If they start to shiver, then had a light blanket. You will have to do this for some seasons to get the horses coat back into growth.
         
        02-07-2013, 10:45 PM
      #3
    Trained
    Absolutely! While horses generally cope perfectly well without rugs at all, I don't think there are any major 'cons' to rugging horses occasionally, but there are lots of cons to over rugging them, rugging them for long periods of time, rugging with the same rugs when weather is different, etc.

    I assume you're in the Southern Hemisphere tho & not thinking of just leaving your horses naked half way thru winter?? If I assume wrongly, I'd still be considering the above & minimising rugging to a degree, but remember they're acclimatised to wearing rugs & they will also have a reduced ability to regulate their own temperature, due to long term rugging. So best to wait until the weather warms up & ditch the rugs next winter.
         
        02-08-2013, 04:00 AM
      #4
    Weanling
    If there are trees and natural windbreaks you can possibly blanket less, but if you have no shelter whatsoever I would consider investing in a shelter if possible or relocating them to an environment where there is either man made or natural shelter available so they have the option to get out of the elements.

    I don't know the details such as your general location, how cold are the temps, ages and breed of your horses, health issues if any, but generally speaking I think blanketing with good waterproof clean blankets they would likely appreciate during cold, wind and rainy days, as long as you check the blankets daily to be sure they aren't soaking through, and not leave them on all the time.
         
        02-08-2013, 01:53 PM
      #5
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by loosie    
    Absolutely! While horses generally cope perfectly well without rugs at all, I don't think there are any major 'cons' to rugging horses occasionally, but there are lots of cons to over rugging them, rugging them for long periods of time, rugging with the same rugs when weather is different, etc.

    I assume you're in the Southern Hemisphere tho & not thinking of just leaving your horses naked half way thru winter?? If I assume wrongly, I'd still be considering the above & minimising rugging to a degree, but remember they're acclimatised to wearing rugs & they will also have a reduced ability to regulate their own temperature, due to long term rugging. So best to wait until the weather warms up & ditch the rugs next winter.
    The two that I was thinking of not rugging are a 3 year old Standardbred gelding and a 9 year old TB. I'm in New Zealand so it does get cold, although I think the amount of rain we get is probably worse than the cold. The Standardbred is a pretty hardy little guy, I stopped rugging him with a month to go last winter as he had destroyed a few to many rugs for my liking. I kept an eye on him and he didnt seem to be suffering, no weight loss or anything. The TB may be a different story though, this will be my first winter with him. It is currently summer here and his coat is very short and thin.

    There is not alot of wind/rain breaks on our property however I may be able to think of something for the coming winter.
         
        02-08-2013, 02:26 PM
      #6
    Weanling
    I think it really depends on the horse. My Arab's previous owners never put so much as a blanket or a sheet on him and he lived outside and they said he was fine for the 4 years they had him.
    For what ever reason, he really didn't get a thick winter coat (this is my first full winter with him) and as soon as fall hit and it was 50 F and raining, he actually started shivering, so I threw a waterproof sheet on him. It's been getting in the single digits so I have him double blanketed with 2 medium weight because he was still cool even under one medium weight.
    It could be because I brush him daily (he's a grey and I can't wash him all winter, haha) or because I started blanketing him so now he's used to it. But it really just depends on the horse and what you think they can handle.
         
        02-08-2013, 02:35 PM
      #7
    Super Moderator
    This may sound odd, but I have never seen a horse shiver from cold. I have seen them "shiver" , or rather tremble, from pain, like in colic, but never from cold.
    I think my climate is likely near to yours, OP. It rains a lot here and winter nights are just above or just below freezing, for a good three months. The horses at "my" barn are never blanketted, except one thoroughbred.
    I guess that it really depends on the horse. I always think that they must be cold, but I go to get them and they're out in the open, standing around , even in the rain, instead of seeking shelter. They must not be THAT cold.
    loosie likes this.
         
        02-08-2013, 04:10 PM
      #8
    Foal
    I will give it a go with just trying to use rainsheets if I need to. I guess worse that happens is that I end up rugging then up again for winter :P
         
        02-08-2013, 06:34 PM
      #9
    Weanling
    Tiny, I never have either except that one time and it scared the poo out of me, ha. But he was soaking wet, too.
         
        02-08-2013, 06:54 PM
      #10
    Green Broke
    My horses never shiver, and we get some pretty cold weather up here! Sometimes -18 below. (2 more ft of snow yesterday too) Neither have been blanketed, and they are 21 & 19 yrs old - they have very thick winter coats, plenty of free-choice hay available which provides the "fuel" for their "furnaces". I brush them every day, (when they're dry) which brings out the natural oils, and they'll literally stand outside and eat with snow/icecicles on that top layer of hair and act as if they don't even notice! I'm all for no blankets unless of course a horse has severe health issues. I do agree that your horse should definitely have a shelter of some sort to get out of the weather, though. Best of luck :)
         

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