It completely depends on the horse.
The majority of the horses at the barn don't wear blankets, but a handful do including my own.
Sunny wears one because we are in the south, and she drops weight like crazy in the winter. In the south, at least here in AL, it is 80 F one day and 15 F with wind chill the next. Because of this, Sunny's poor coat gets extremely confused. When winter first came in she sad a nice fluffy coat. Then the bipolar weather came about, and BAM! She shed every bit of it out. She's as sleek as a summer pony right now, which is all good and dandy on the warm days which are 75% of the time, but on the crazy nights when it gets below 30 F she gets a blanket.
Even when she does have a decent winter coat(like she did last year), she still drops weight in the cold. This is the first year I've blanketed her and, guess what? No weight loss.
So to Joe, my horse is not clipped, is not under lights all day, and has free choice hay but she still needs a blanket.
The other horses who get blankets are either clipped or very elderly and can't spare the precious calories on keeping warm or they drop weight.
So like I said, it entirely depends on the horse. Many horses get by with their nice, fluffy winter woolies. But some can't, and a blanket may be in their best interest.
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Last edited by Sunny; 02-14-2012 at 11:30 PM.