Are some horses more sensitive to cold than others? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 12-21-2012, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Georgia
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Are some horses more sensitive to cold than others?

I feel a little stupid for asking this. But I'm curious.

My horse doesn't grow much of a winter coat. She stays slick all winter, especially in comparison to "normal" fluffy horses. I live in southern Georgia, where that winter coat isn't necessary but for a handful of days at a time.

My horse was at the vet today, tied to the trailer. The weather had turned suddenly the night before. It was 45 degrees and windy. The vet went to look at her and noticed she was shivering. The vet said she acted like she was cold. All the other horses were fine.

Is there something wrong with my horse, for her lack of an apparent coat and low tolerance for cold weather? Are some horses just better suited to handle cold than others? Why?
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post #2 of 7 Old 12-21-2012, 08:45 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Middle Tennessee
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Not a stupid question, it's a great question

And the answer is "yes", some horses are colder than others. As for the "why", I don't have answer unless it's genetics.

I have a horse just like yours. He is 17 and never has grown the Winter Woolies like my other three -- his winter coat is slicker than some horse's summer coats. He is insulin resistant but I have another horse with metabolic issues who still grows the same short & thick winter coat he has always grown.

The vet was here today and for the second time has said this horse "--is a cold horse, and do I have a turnout blanket for him?"

I am to use my judgement, but the vet wants this particular horse blanketed for turnout when the weather's bad. Today the sun was shining but it was windy and the actual temps never got above 31 degrees. This horse went out with his winter coat and his legs wrapped because he has torn ligaments and sesamoiditis.

His injuries are a whole 'nuther story but my point is "funny you ask" since my vet grilled me pretty good today on what kind of blanket I have for this horse and that I need to keep his legs wrapped 24/7, over the winter, to help keep his injuries warm.

This horse will look like an equine "Michelin Man" if I decide to buy him a lined neck cover

If you don't have a waterproof, lined, turnout blanket, buy something that is at least 1200 denier and that has the gussets (pleats) at the shoulders to give the horse more shoulder room/movement.

There are a lot of different brands. I bought Weatherbeetas for all four of my horses because they were reasonably priced and I don't use them all the time.

I hope this helps

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

Last edited by walkinthewalk; 12-21-2012 at 08:47 PM.
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post #3 of 7 Old 12-21-2012, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Georgia
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That does help! I don't feel like I'm asking such a dumb question!

My mare is six-years-old and healthy. She just doesn't grow a coat. I thought that maybe if I didn't blanket this year she would wool out to suit herself. Nope.

People at my barn think I'm crazy for blanketing. They're all, "Blankets aren't natural and horses in the wild don't need them!" When I tell them my horse shivers, they look at me like, "Whatever. Stop being so over projective." But she's lost weight over the winter (something she hasn't done in the past), and shivering isn't going to help that.

It's currently 38 degrees and dropping quick. Low is 28. Winds around 20 mph. She's in a medium weight Weatherbetta, which I hope will keep her toasty enough.
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post #4 of 7 Old 12-22-2012, 08:03 AM
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The medium weight is what I have for all of mine and they stay plenty warm. I am in southern Middle Tennessee, so a medium weight should be enough for the cold weather you have.

I wouldn't leave it on her when she's in her stall; if she's still shivering in her stall, something's wrong and I would get the vet out to look at her.

When she's ready for turnout, you will have to use your best judgement, whether to blanket or not --- she needs the sunshine and Vitamin D.

If the weather is raw (windy, no sun, with or without rain), I would blanket her if the temps are under the mid-40's.

On the other hand, if the sun is out, the air is dry, there's no wind and the temps are down in the 30's, I might turn her out without the blanket and watch her.

Of course, when the sun goes down this time of year, things chill down pretty quick and she needs to get in the barn if she's without a blanket.

I don't believe in blanketing a horse but I have no choice with my 17 yr old. What I am trying to say is to use your best judgement and try not to get her used to a blanket every day.

While diet helps, it's not the be-all-end-all for a situation like this, when the horse just doesn't want to grow a winter coat. My 17 yr old was born and lived 100 miles NE of me for 11 of his 17 years. That's the KY/TN border - a lot colder than down here on the TN/AL border and he's never had any sort of thick coat. He barely gets any leg hair and the hair on his coronet bands rarely needs clipped

If your horse is not insulin resistant, you might try adding some crimped or clipped oats to her diet. NOT corn because it's harder to digest than oats. Oats are somewhat of a warming food.

Make sure the folks feeding her give her plenty of hay; if they don't co-operate you can also add some timothy pellets to her diet. One dry pound of timothy pellets equals one pound of hay.

She should be receiving 1.5% to 2% of her body weight in forage every day. More in the winter as far as I'm concerned but that's my opinion

Good luck keeping her warm and chubby this winter

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.
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post #5 of 7 Old 12-22-2012, 08:52 AM
Join Date: May 2012
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Well, my horses (a paint mare and a fat pony), always grow winter coats and don't seem to like the protection of their blankets at all! I think that's weird, to not want a blanket, but hey, Squaw and Bullet seem to think differently!
I've never heard of a horse shivering before... I think I'm going to google that and get back to you :)!
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post #6 of 7 Old 12-22-2012, 09:01 AM
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Anne is the same way. she was born and raised a florida girl so fifty degrees is just wayyyyy to much for her to handle. shes got thin tb skin, and almost zero fuzzys cause this year we got our first cold front early, then she started shedding when it got back to 80. bleh. shes got a light blanket for anything between sixty and forty five. and a medium for anything under that. shes mad at me this morning. it was under sixty last night.... bad mommy.
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post #7 of 7 Old 12-22-2012, 10:25 AM
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Just like people can be cold sensitive so can animals. My horse and I were perfectly suited to each other in this regard - I don't like the cold either!

He doesn't grow much of a coat and I think it's just how he is. I've tried delaying blanketing him to see if be gets more growth and all I ended up with was a cold, grumpy horse.
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