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Should I Blanket?

This is a discussion on Should I Blanket? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Horse blanket study hoax
  • Doe long haired horse need a blanket?

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    01-13-2013, 06:15 PM
  #21
Foal
Here is some information on winter blanketing that may surprise you. This is the result of a multi-year study done by CSU, using state of the art thermal detection equipment. Colorado State University is widely considered to be one of the top three equine veterinary schools in the country: Blanketing horses is one of the worst things that you can do to a horse in the winter. Horses have the ability to loft and lower their coats to 17 different levels, so it's like exchanging 17 different thermal weights of blankets off and on them all day and night, depending on what they need- except that we don't know what they need as well as they do. Their 'self-blanketing' process works a little like 'chill bumps' do in our own skin. That's why long-haired horses may seem fluffier on some days than on others. Only three things make the 'self-blanketing' process not work: blanketing, clipping, and wind. Not even snow or rain stops their own thermostats from doing the job. Also horses are in 'neutral' (meaning not using energy for either heating or cooling) when the air around them is between 26 and 38 degrees. Otherwise, they're using energy to control their temps. So- since they're cooling their bodies when the temp is over 38 degrees, they're having to use extra energy to cool themselves when blanketed in temperatures o! Ver that. Any time a horsethat is outside and has a long coat is shivering, it's because the horse has opted to shiver to warm itself, instead of using the option of moving. Moving generates a considerable amount of heat for a horse, but they sometimes stand and shiver while napping, etc. It does not mean that they need to be blanketed. However- a horse MUST have a way to get out of the wind in order for their 'self-blanketing' abilities to function fully. It turns out that blanketing is done more for pleasing the human, than to fill a need of the horse. The horse blanket industry has done a great job of making us think that their product is a necessary part of good horse keeping- when it is actually an item that is very seldom needed
Posted by Young Living Essential Oils - Pets & People on Facebook
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    01-14-2013, 08:11 PM
  #22
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steph23    
Here is some information on winter blanketing that may surprise you. This is the result of a multi-year study done by CSU, using state of the art thermal detection equipment. Colorado State University is widely considered to be one of the top three equine veterinary schools in the country: Blanketing horses is one of the worst things that you can do to a horse in the winter. Horses have the ability to loft and lower their coats to 17 different levels, so it's like exchanging 17 different thermal weights of blankets off and on them all day and night, depending on what they need- except that we don't know what they need as well as they do. Their 'self-blanketing' process works a little like 'chill bumps' do in our own skin. That's why long-haired horses may seem fluffier on some days than on others. Only three things make the 'self-blanketing' process not work: blanketing, clipping, and wind. Not even snow or rain stops their own thermostats from doing the job. Also horses are in 'neutral' (meaning not using energy for either heating or cooling) when the air around them is between 26 and 38 degrees. Otherwise, they're using energy to control their temps. So- since they're cooling their bodies when the temp is over 38 degrees, they're having to use extra energy to cool themselves when blanketed in temperatures o! Ver that. Any time a horsethat is outside and has a long coat is shivering, it's because the horse has opted to shiver to warm itself, instead of using the option of moving. Moving generates a considerable amount of heat for a horse, but they sometimes stand and shiver while napping, etc. It does not mean that they need to be blanketed. However- a horse MUST have a way to get out of the wind in order for their 'self-blanketing' abilities to function fully. It turns out that blanketing is done more for pleasing the human, than to fill a need of the horse. The horse blanket industry has done a great job of making us think that their product is a necessary part of good horse keeping- when it is actually an item that is very seldom needed
Posted by Young Living Essential Oils - Pets & People on Facebook
Did you see my post on the last page?
This study is fake.
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    01-14-2013, 08:25 PM
  #23
Foal
A light fill shouldn't effect the horses ablity to fluff up it's hair but I wouldn't go heavier then 150g. Just a shell would probably do but if you want to you could go for a light fill.
     
    01-14-2013, 08:50 PM
  #24
Foal
Sorry some how I missed reading your post Sunny. Where does it say it was fake? Im not saying your wrong, I just would like read it too.
     
    01-14-2013, 09:06 PM
  #25
Trained
I go by coat and I feel their ears (if their ears are cold, I blanket). My mare never had much of a winter coat until this year. She must be psychic, b/c it is proving to be a cold one. To date, I blanketed her on cold nights every year but this one. On the other hand, my chubby little filly has a very thick coat, I think she could take a deep freeze just fine.
     
    01-15-2013, 09:01 AM
  #26
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steph23    
Sorry some how I missed reading your post Sunny. Where does it say it was fake? Im not saying your wrong, I just would like read it too.
No need to say sorry.

If you just do a google on the study, you will not find any single source from CSU, only the short snippet that has been passed around blindly. On another forum, there is a CSU student who even contacted the school about the study, and the school had no information on the study at all.

I do wish there would be a study on blanketing. It would be very interesting.
The thing is, there are SO many factors that go into whether or not to blanket that it would be difficult to conduct a study with solid results. Especially a statement like, "Blanketing is one of the worst things you can do for a horse in winter."

That is a biased statement in general, but coming from a study? Ridiculous.

I will go on a google search and try to find some pages on it to post.
     
    01-15-2013, 09:10 AM
  #27
Green Broke
Here we go, CSU's FB page.

There is a comment by a person named Rebecca Raven asking if it is a real study, they answered no.

http://www.facebook.com/csuequinescience
     
    01-15-2013, 09:11 AM
  #28
Green Broke
Here we go, CSU's equine FB page.
There is a comment from a person named Rebecca Raven asking if the study is real.
They answered no.

http://www.facebook.com/csuequinescience
     
    01-15-2013, 09:27 AM
  #29
Super Moderator
You shouldnt let yourself get pulled into the whole' horses survive in the wild' thing - because if you ever took a good look at horses in the wild you'd soon see that they actually don't survive very well at all - and I'm speaking as a Brit where we have native horses like the exmoor and dartmoor that havent changed much over centuries and they look pretty ropey at the end of the winter.
The horses we mostly own are nothing like wild horses, its all been bred out of them
Its the wet weather that really knocks them back if they have no shelter - they will do fine with dry cold if they have a thick coat - and don't rely for one moment that the 'boss' horse is going to stand back and say 'welcome in' if your horse tries to push through as that mostly never happen and you end up with a kicked horse as well as a cold one.
If your horse has a thick coat I would buy a good lightweight waterproof for wet weather or blizzards and take it off as soon as it goes dry again - but make sure to do that in the morning and not last thing at night.
Watch out for rain rot when temperatures start to go up if your horse is constantly exposed to wet weather.
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    01-15-2013, 09:44 AM
  #30
Super Moderator
Just to add to the comments on shivering and the coat lofting - I am speaking as a wife of a biologist
Horses are mammals exactly the same as we humans, dogs, cats etc
We also have hair on our bodies so to a lesser extent experience the same reactions to cold. You stand outside when its freezing and the hairs on your arms will automatically stand up as an automatic response to the body trying to keep the cold air away from the skin but as we don't have sufficient hair then its not effective - the same applies for horses with thin fine coats
Putting a blanket on will not prevent this happening 'ever gain' - the coat will flatten under the blanket as if the horse is warm the hair doesnt need to rise - remove the blanket and the hair will fluff up again.
Shivering is another automatic response to cold - the same will happen to you if you step outside in your underwear on a freezing day
Rain will flatten the horses coat so it can't even use the fluffing up to protect itself and quite often the wet hair then becomes clogged with dirt and grease and struggles to perform so well unless someone gives it a good curry comb to loosen it up so putting a light rug on will actually be beneficial to that process
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