Winter blanketing

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Winter blanketing

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

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    07-23-2010, 01:58 AM
Winter blanketing

Alright- for those of us in the bitter cold regions of the world- do you blanket your horses for winter?

Mine are on pasture with access to a loafing shed. They rarely go in, unless escaping bugs. Wintertime it is very cold here- in January and February it gets as cold as -40 for weeks at a time. Last year we had winchills of -100 below F and the horses didn't bother going in the shed.

A good friend of mine suggested blanketing the horses to save on hay. She said that the more they eat to keep warm the more feed you waste- and that they will eat 1/3 less hay if they are blanketed against the cold.

What do you think? I have blankets for some of the horses, I use them if someone comes in emaciated during the winter. I am all for saving money on hay- last year I spent over 6K on hay for my horses, goats and sheep.
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    07-23-2010, 02:07 AM
I'm not sure you would save quite that mare was blanketed last winter, and she still ate the same amount of hay...I tried dropping her back a bit, but she would lose a bit of conditioning, so she wound up getting the same amount.

Cold is cold, and when it's that cold, they are going to have to eat to maintain their body heat and function, regardless of a blanket. I grew up in MN, and we never blanketed our horses, and it got COLD!!! They may have eaten a bit more hay, but I'm not sure it was 'that' much more, than if we had tossed a blanket on them. I would rather feed a bit more hay, than have to go through the hastle of blanketing all the horses; you have to take them off, and on, and make sure they aren't rubbing, etc...Maybe blanket some of them and see for yourself if it makes a difference that you find worth going through the extra effort of blanketing. The only reason my mare was blanketed last year, was because she was body clipped, and she may get body clipped again this year, depending on how well she does working in the winter (she would get really overheated and very sweaty last year, and that was just during our 'warm up' time! So I clipped her, and that made a huge improvement there).
    07-23-2010, 02:14 AM
Green Broke
I blanket my horse in the winter, she is stabled in an outdoor stall at night (which I love, because its sooo much warmer in an outdoor stall, but they still are outside) but I ride her in an arena, so to be able to work her without her dying from being to hot, lol. I have to blanket. The horses at the barn eat just as much, if not more then in summer, and theyre all blanketed. :)
    07-23-2010, 07:57 AM
Frankly I don't believe it'll be a real cut in hay. It's HOT now here but they eat lots of hay (grass been too dry). I blanket my girls when it's too cold (IMO) but I didn't notice any change in amount of hay they eat. Although we don't get -40 either.
    07-23-2010, 10:59 AM
It's certainly not that cold here in Australia over winter, particularly where I am, but most of the horses are blanketed. I have a little welsh mare that I do not blanket over winter as I prefer her to grow a good thick coat, but if she starts to drop weight I'll put one on her, she's in her 20's and retired so have to look out for her.

My TB boy is blanketed to his eyeballs! Tonight he has 2 woollen doonas on, a polar fleece hood and a 300 fill synthetic combo, in a yard with stable attached. In the mornings he is certainly not hot under all of those!
    07-23-2010, 11:10 AM
We live in Wyoming where it gets -50 at times for long stretches without the wind chill. I have never blanketed the horses, they have a turn out shed to go into but usually stand out with their butts to the storm, their manes and tails get iclicles on them, but they very rarely go in the shed. They get long long furry coats and I just let them grow it and shed it according to the season.
Lots of hay during lots of cold seems to work well, even the aged horses at 22 plus years do fine with no blanket and lots of hay.

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