Turnout Blanket Weight
Our senior gelding hasnít been eating very well lately and I was starting to think It might be a good idea to get him a blanket. Weíve never really needed them on any of our horses before so I donít know what weight to get him. Right now heís got a pretty think winter coat, so I was wondering if just a turnout sheet would be okay, or if he should be getting something with a heavier weight. Suggestions?
Have you checked his teeth? His teeth might be hurting him or they are overdue and make it difficult to chew with.
I do not understand why you think putting a blanket on him would help with the amount he is eating?
His teeth have been done within the last two months, heís just old enough where his teeth arenít the greatest regardless. Weíve been trying to switch him to different feeds that the vet suggested to help him keep weight, but heís really picky and refuses to eat any of the new stuff. Heís back on the senior feed he was originally getting, which usually he eats but lately heís been leaving some and he doesnít always finish his hay.
I was just wondering if we got him a blanket if it would help him to not loose weight so quickly, so he wouldnít waste as many calories trying to stay warm.
I think she means that since he's not eating as much hay, and therefore not generating as much body heat for himself, she thinks he needs the blanket to keep warm.
I live in FL, so I can't really be of much help, I'm afraid!
Edit: we posted at the same time!
Here's a blanketing chart to help you figure out what weight you need:
The amount of hair under the blanket doesn't make much of a difference with how thick the blanket should be. For instance, if the blanketing chart says to use a heavyweight, you shouldn't use a midweight just "because his/her hair is thick" or something like that, if that makes sense. Of course, if he's clipped, that's completely different, but it doesn't sound like he is.
You don't want to get just a turnout sheet, unless it's warm enough out that that's all that's necessary, because the weight of the sheet is going to press down his hair (the air caught in the "loft" of the hair is what keeps the horse warm) and effectively remove even more of his protection. The "weight" of the blanket refers to how much hair loft is replaced by the blanket, not how much heat will be added on.
Basically, blanketing is kind of like math. The blanket takes away some potential heat by smooshing down the hair so you need to add enough heat (through blanket fill) to compensate for that heat loss and add to that, since you're trying to get him warmer.
Hopefully that makes sense! :)
Have you tried putting him on a weight builder supplement?
The reason I ask this is because my old man started doing things like this before he past, but unlike your horse he was eat everything I was hiving him he just was not putting on weight. I would recommend you feed a combo of Safe Choice Empower and whatever senior feed your giving him and maybe even try adding two scoops of weight builder to that mix, add some water and maybe some salt and powdered sugar, not much only a little for taste, mix it all up and let him have it. This has always worked for the tough ones I have had to deal with, I would resort to a blanket at last resort. Because in my opinion the become a crutch more as anything else.
It's been proven that, as they age, horses, like humans, loose the ability to regulate their internal temperature as effectively as they were able to at a younger age. They have a harder time keeping themselves warm in the winter and a harder time keeping themselves cool in the summer, it's just the way it is.
In my opinion, it's a kindness to blanket an older horse that's showing signs of becoming unable to regulate his/her own body temperature.
I like to think of blanketing an older horse as thanking him/her for all the years of enjoyment he/she has given me. I want someone looking out for me in my golden years so I figure I'll give that same respect to a horse in their golden years.
As an example, my mare is turning 27 this year. She's in good weight, sassy as all get out, energetic, etc and I blanket her. Why?
Because that sassiness, that energy, and quite a bit of that weight, disappears asap if I leave her blanket off for a week of 35*F (or colder) at night weather even with her full "wooly mammoth" winter coat. I could give her as much hay as I want during that time but if she's blanket-less, that hay doesn't seem to matter.
She used to be not like that but as she's gotten older, she's gotten a little bit more needy in that area of things. It can be a hassle to keep her blanketed right but seeing her thriving, at her age especially, is worth it.
Just my thoughts.
Blankets for younger horse=not a huge fan, blankets for old man and old woman horses=huge fan.
completely agree with ya Wallaby.
I just think so few people know how to properly blanket horse and so many people jump to think their horses need to be blanketed when really they do not.
With that being said, that is why I advise so many to try and get to the bottom of the real issue at hand, rather then throwing a blanket on and thinking problem solved.
I also believe older horse **** right deserve being spoiled and looked after more, but in this situation right now I know not of age on this horse or how "cold" it gets where the OP is....some people consider the teens as being senior, senior to me is 20+.
I also do not think it wise to blanket unless the temps are below 50, but I do tend to feel for them when its wet, windy, and cold even with temps of mid 60's. So I would only blanket in those temps and conditions.
I still think she should try other things before turning to a blanket but it definitely would not be a bad idea if nothing else starts working.
Also OP, if you could answer these questions for me that would be great :)
(age, temp, and normal weather conditions right now.)
Also, if you could tell us what senior feed you are giving him and what others you have tried would be nice. Not that by answering these questions could lead to other answers, I would just like to know.
Iím currently attending college out of state, so Iím writing this for my parents. Iíll suggest trying the Safe Choice Empower combination to them.
This is for Shadow, whoís a 33 year old morgan. I guess up until January winter was pretty mild, with no snow and it normally stayed above freezing. This month, however, winter finally hit and temps have mostly been teens and 20ís. He getís stalled when itís real cold or windy out, but our barn isnít insulated the greatest and still gets cold. He also has shelter in his turnout.
As for the feeds, I know theyíve tried alfalfa pellets, rice bran, and beet pulp. Heís been on Nutrena Life Design Senior and Purina Equine Senior, but I donít know what theyíre currently using.
Thanks for the responses everyone!
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