To blanket or to not blanket?
Not sure if this is the correct area for this topic. I searched for related discussions but found nothing.
Anyhow, I have been fortunate to have at least one horse all my life minus the last 6 years. I have recently got a AQHA filly and am getting back into the swing of things.
I'm looking for opinions and suggestions on blanketing. My growing up life my mom would never let me blanket my horse. She claimed it affected the horses natural body temperatrure in the winter, that they can't properly acclimate on their own which in turn invites illnesses. Makes sense to me, however, I see so many that do banket their horses. In turn I would feel bad my horse didn't have a blanket.
I have had a few horses since on my own and never blanketed them but still continue to have that question. So? To blanket or not to blanket?
(I live in Northern Nevada, our winters can get as cold as -3*F to a high of 65*F and our summers are as low as 37*F to 100+*F)
Thanks for any input:-)
I choose to blanket, my horse is hard keeper, doesn't grow a long winter coat, and shivers when wet and the temperature is under 10 degrees (50 degrees for you). It is totally a person decision, go through the pros and cons, do you want to change blanket depending on temperature some times three times a day? Do you want to buy three or four different blankets and sheets? Spend time cleaning, waterproofing, and repairing blankets?
I agree with Cruiser 100%.
I do blanket my mare but she's 27 and I know for a fact that in the last two or so years her internal temp-regulating system has begun to go south. She easily overheats in the summer and she drops weight like no body's business if she goes unblanketed in the winter even with a thick winter coat of fur and plenty of hay. Therefore, I blanket her because at her age, caring for her no matter my view is the right thing to do.
Here's a good discussion on why some people do and some people don't blanket:
I have done it both ways. may get wordy here so sorry. blanketing is a human thing..mother nature encourages things to take place, including a winter coat of hair (some horses grow thicker coats than others) & a horse uses energy to keep itself warm (just the act of eating hay produces energy by increasing metabolism) thereby increasing hay availability in the winter can produce a significant difference for the horse..all that being said, when I had 1, 2 & 3 horses I blanketed diligently...thus preventing mother nature from producing what ever winter hair was going to grow & creating the need to keep the horses blanketed through out the winter for their protection. when I went to 4,5 & 6 horses I said no way..let them have natural winter coats!! Gahhh..the hair in the spring was unbelievable, all over everything including my mouth :(. So last winter I blanketed everyone but waited till it was consistently below 40degrees...warning horses can over heat in a blanket & it can be fatal! This spring was great..yes shedding but very tolerable. I do know people who let the horses get full winter coats naturally & then shave them in the spring but I have never gone that way
If you're not showing, blanket when the horse is shivering. I didn't show for the past 5 years, and the horses were perfectly fine with their natural coats. Only on the really bad nights did we blanket. The key to keeping them warm is upping their hay intake. A horse's internal body temperature relies on how much food he is digesting.
Unless you are showing and putting the horse under lights, blanketing is more trouble than its worth - and dangerous too.
I do the same. My horses had/have blankets, and if the weather temperature suddenly drops a lot, I will blanket overnight, but take it off in the morning. If they are shivering, of course I will blanket, or if it is icy rain, I blanket to keep them dry. Mostly I increase their hay, sometimes by quite a bit. We haven't had drastic temperature drops in the last few years, so it has been about three years since I blanketed. My sister's thoroughbred can't take the cold, and he gets blanketed for at least a couple of nights every year.
A saddle blanket is the only blanket that's ever been on any our horse. My grandfather always said that mother nature gives the cows and horses everything they need. Ours seldom even use the stalls or run-ins (depending on what pasture their in).
Eclipseranch hit the nail on the head with blanketing being human thing. I can remember in my youth when they gave me my first horse (that was "mine") and I felt so sorry for her standing out in a near freezing rain so I went out, led her into the stall and brushed the water off of her. Walked back to the house and my grandfather was standing on the porch laughing, because he'd watched her walk out of her stall back out into the field about 2 minutes after I left her. I just couldn't understand why she would want to stand out there (all the horses were like that, but she was mine and needed to be protected from the weather :lol:). So he once more explained to me that the horse knows when it needs to be in and when it doesn't want to be. We give them places to escape the rain, wind, heat or whatever the weather happens to be. We then give the horse credit for having enough sense to know when it needs it.
If they shiver, depending on the length of time related to the shiver, blanket. If not then don't. As long as the horse has access to shelter, hay, and clean water it should be fine. Age, health etc., will be a factor.
I have 2 horses that will stand and shiver and look absolutely pitiful if they aren't blanketed even if it isn't even that cold. I usually use summer sheets,light rain sheets,medium, and heavy weight blankets throughout the year. Sometimes I blanket just to keep them clean too if I'm going to want to ride because it gets so nasty muddy after 2 weeks of non stop rain..haha.
I personally blanket, ONLY if its wet and cold. My horse can stand freezing tempuratures if its dry. He has a long winter coat, and is still quite young. But, if its raining, snowing, hailing, etc. I blanket. As thats when he shivers. If your horse is shivering, I would blanket him. If he isnt shivering, I wouldnt blanket him...
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