Should I blanket my horse for winter? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-13-2013, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Montana
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Should I blanket my horse for winter?

Golley has recently been showing his age, losing a bit of weight and getting a bit of arthiritis. Well, recently his weight has been everywhere. But it is still good - we had a vet come out and said he was fine. No one has been riding him, but he has been getting his exercise in the round pen, trotting walking and loping without a leadrope and no rider in the round pen. No rider and no saddle - just making that clear.

SO he loses some weight, sometimes a lot sometimes not very much, then he gains it back. And the vet said it's just his age and we described what we had experienced with Golley and his age and such and she said it was normal. He is just old and getting his old figure on.
We are feeding him cool calories 100 and senior feed along with hay that has some alfalfa in it and grass hay as well.

We are finally getting our well on our other property, YES!! So that means that as soon as it is finished (hoping water will come out because we live on a giant rock....not kidding) then after we get electricity for it and such, we can buy hay and bring the horses over! S excited for that!

But anyways, if we do end up getting the horses back (they are currently boarded) then the main thing I am worried about is Golley when winter time comes. Montana winter is completely unpredictable, but I last year was pretty warm with a hot summer and this summer has been pretty hot as well, so I am not expecting much snow again. But either way, I am wondering if I should put a winter blanket on him? Or just a light blanket that still retains heat.
I have never blanketed any of our horses before, simply because they didn't need them.
But now I think it might be best for Golley this year. For his weight and I have no idea if his winter coat will be fine or what.

But what do you think is best?

If we don't end up getting the horses over here before winter, then I was planning on putting Golley in a stable. But would I still need a blanket then?

So here are my questions because I know I am not very organized when I write.
- Looking at Golley's age (21) and him getting arthritis and losing a bit of weight, should I blanket him for winter?
- If he ends up getting put in a stall, should I still blanket him?
- Should I use a winter blanket or a lighter one that still can hold heat and keep him warm.
- Do you think he will be fine without a blanket? (I am most likely going to buy one this winter, though.)

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post #2 of 6 Old 08-13-2013, 01:22 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
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I think it's always good to have a waterproof and breathable winter blanket available JIK. Also have a cooler and towels in the barn to dry him off if he gets soaked. I prefer a blanket with a 200-220 fill. He will still have somewhat of a winter coat so he'll overheat in a 400. You can also take it off on cold but sunny days and he'll be fine. More important than a good blanket is protection from the wind and rain/snow. He probably does not need a blanket if you keep him in the barn and he'll tell you if he's freezing.
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-13-2013, 02:36 PM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Minnesota
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I have a blanket for my Thoroughbred, she grows a good coat but it isn't that long. Last fall she had lost a ton of weight and when I got her I put the blanket on her a lot so she could put the food on to gain weight, after that I took if off and then put it on for blizzards, or cold nights. This year I am looking at getting a new one that fits better to use more often just because she is getting a bit older.

Now I also have a QH that is the same age as her, that horse grows a coat and looks like a wooly mammoth. I am not kidding.

How is your horse's coat?
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-13-2013, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Montana
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Well, his was pretty good last year. He was nice and fluffy and he completely reminded me of a big teddy bear the way his hair was!
This is a picture of his last year with most of his winter coat still on him.

Just imagine it a little more fluffier, haha!

And this one was taken a few years ago, and with a different camera, but it still gives you an idea of his summer coat.

SO hopefully you get a better idea of how it is. I'd say it was just a normal horse winter coat.

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post #5 of 6 Old 08-13-2013, 02:47 PM
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I kept my older horses into their 20's and one lived until he was 35yo, so I know about keeping older and arthritic horses.
Use every means possible to keep him out of the wind and sheltered as the temperatures start to decline. If you blanket too early you will prevent his coat building. My QH, "Ro Go Bar," (1982-2009, RIP) would grow a good coat but it was never as shaggy as my Arab, "Corporal," (1982-2009, RIP.), so you can't judge a coat by length alone.
I have 4 blankets and one canvas "blanket." I wash them periodically bc they usually just gather dust. STILL, I keep them on a shelf at the ready in my barn in case I need them. I have seen a horse that was shipped from TX to IL in January and I swear he shivered for a full week. That is what happens when your horse isn't allowed to build a coat. The owners double blanketed him--this was the 1980's and many insulating blankets weren't available then.
Feed wise make sure that he has lots of grass hay. Supplement this with alfalfa--I used to feed Corporal, my hard keeper with 2 grass flakes and 1 alfalfa flake, 2x/day, and he weighed ~900 pounds. I also fed him Purina Equine Senior and that really filled him in. As Speed Racer reminded us in a post this week, hind end fiber digestion creates heat in the winter for their bodies.
Try to make the winter water tepid instead of cold, so he will drink his fill, too. Hope this helps--I've BEEN there!

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post #6 of 6 Old 08-13-2013, 08:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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I blanket my 26 year old mare in the winter dont put one on till it stays in the teens pretty consistant. Have two diffrent blanket for her ones a 300 gram and other is 220 gram.

When real cold windy and below zero i double blanket her she wore double blankets pretty much all winter this last winter.
Shes the only one who i blanket other two dont get blankets unless we get a blizzard or freezing rain.

Might have to blanket other two horses this year both are pretty skinny right now.
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