using a rain sheet all winter....
 
 

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using a rain sheet all winter....

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  • Is using i rain sheet make horse cold
  • Use of rain sheets for horses in mild winter weather

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    01-01-2012, 03:28 PM
  #1
Foal
using a rain sheet all winter....

I would like some advice on winter blanketing. I am in Ontario, Canada. Lots of snow, although currently pouring rain.

My two horses are outdoors 24/7. They come in for feeding in the evening then go out again. They have free access to hay and water, and a large run in shed bedded deeply with straw. Invariably when I go to see them even if it is raining hard and cold, they are outside the shed. I am thinking that it would be a good idea to leave a rain sheet on both for those cold and very wet days. Just the fitted rain sheet, no other winter blanket. Both have a pretty good winter coat right now. Can I leave this sheet on all winter? Should I even use a blanket. Advice? Opinion?
Thanks!!
     
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    01-01-2012, 03:33 PM
  #2
Yearling
I blanket...but I think I do it more for my own comfort/piece of mind and I like blankets lol. I don't think mine care. I do get concerned about wet and cold but they have run ins and can stay dry. My personal opinion is that horses don't need heavy blankets and I think your just fine with your sheet.
     
    01-01-2012, 03:46 PM
  #3
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by CecilliaB    
I blanket...but I think I do it more for my own comfort/piece of mind and I like blankets lol. I don't think mine care. I do get concerned about wet and cold but they have run ins and can stay dry. My personal opinion is that horses don't need heavy blankets and I think your just fine with your sheet.
thanks! I think the only reason I am contemplating it is for my own sense of comfort. I worry about them getting very wet, then the temperature dropping dramatically and then getting very cold. At least a rain sheet would prevent this from happening. I just wondered if I should keep the sheet on 24/7 since I have been trying to put it on ONLY when it was freezing rain etc. But, that can happen in the middle of the night lol. Thanks for your response, appreciate it.
     
    01-02-2012, 02:38 AM
  #4
Green Broke
24/7 rainsheet would probably work well. I would use heavier rugs buf it would be for my peace of mind probably.

Although ensure the sheet is actually waterproof, in my experience many leak after substantial and prolonged rain, and a wet blanket is worse than none.
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    01-02-2012, 02:54 AM
  #5
Showing
I'm doing exactly as you say.. rain sheet all winter. He has a nice coat but he tends to shiver and get stressed out when it rains when it's cold out (like 30s or lower) and he's doing great! Keeps his weight on and hasn't gotten sick :)
     
    01-02-2012, 03:10 AM
  #6
Weanling
Your horses have access to hay 24/7 correct? AND shelter? If so, they probably don't need blankets. Even if they're wet, they'll eat hay to get warm. I blanket my horse because he doesn't have a run in, and he doesn't get hay 24/7. (and he's still a tad underweight) Just my 2 cents...
     
    01-02-2012, 03:16 AM
  #7
Super Moderator
Nope, not a good idea.

A blanket (no matter the weight) is going to flatten down the hair that a horse needs to raise to keep warm. Therefore, if you just stick a rain sheet on your horse you're going to be effectively incapacitating their natural ability to use their own body heat to warm themselves.
The reason blankets are different weights (different amounts of fill) is to replace the amount of heat that would have been collected by the hair, had it not been flattened by the blanket.

If you blanket appropriately for the temperature (aka blankets of the correct weight/fill level for the temperature) your horses will be warm and dry. If you just stick a rain sheet on, without a thought to the outside temperature, you'll be making your horses colder than they already were. Horse hair does a great job of keeping the hair layer closest to the horse dry, so even when the outside layer is soaking wet it's likely that your horse is actually feeling dry.

As long as they have plenty of hay and shelter to access if they need it, they'll be fine.

If you really want to blanket your horses, go buy some cheap blankets that are correct for the temperatures you're experiencing. If you take the time to look, it's not hard to find something for $50 or so (sometimes under if you look for "Tough-1"s).

Good luck! I completely understand about hating to see horses standing out in the rain. I have the same concern so I blanket my mare all winter. :)
     
    01-02-2012, 05:56 AM
  #8
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by albion    
thanks! I think the only reason I am contemplating it is for my own sense of comfort. I worry about them getting very wet, then the temperature dropping dramatically and then getting very cold. At least a rain sheet would prevent this from happening. I just wondered if I should keep the sheet on 24/7 since I have been trying to put it on ONLY when it was freezing rain etc. But, that can happen in the middle of the night lol. Thanks for your response, appreciate it.
Being wet and cold is the most chilling, so I always recommend rain sheets if you want to cover your horse. I am very sure that when the weather is cold and wet, keeping a horse dry, either by a rain sheet or a shelter (that they use), is very effective because (from my experience) there is a noticeable reduction in the amount of hay that they eat to keep warm.
In the past, we have left rain sheets on for 4-5 days without any problems at all. Even though I haven't read of any problems with leaving them on for longer, I would take it off, if possible, when the weather permits to check for any rubbing/chaffing and let the skin get some sun/air exposure to guard against fostering skin problems.
     
    01-02-2012, 08:16 AM
  #9
Showing
Albion, they have too much winter coat to put even a rain sheet on. It cause cause them to overheat, they will roll to combat the itchies and the sheets will be in shreds before long. With the thick coats the skin is still dry. Horses are equipped with waxy dander which is often mistaken for dandruff, which is a waterproofer. Horses feel safer outside and will often bum up against a building so they only have to watch three sides instead of four.
     
    01-02-2012, 12:41 PM
  #10
Yearling
I would only use the rain sheet very sparingly. Their winter coats are quite waterproof and while they may look wet on top, they will still be quite dry next to their skin. If you run your fingers under their coats, you can feel they are dry and warm. Horses are adapted to being outside in all weather provided that we don't muck with their natural patterns and let them grow a good thick coat. As someone already mentioned, even a light blanket can flatten the winter fur and reduce its insulating abilities.

That said, I would dry and then blanket them temporarily if they are wet to the skin or shivering. I live in the western prairies and it can be raining one minute and then drop 20 degrees with wicked wind the next. Fortunately, I keep my horses at home, so I can blanket and un-blanket on a moments notice if needed. I only do so if it is really necessary (shivering or extreme weather), and prefer to get my horses through the colder / wetter spells with extra feed and a little extra grain. This seems to work quite well.
     

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rain sheet, winter blanketing

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