Type of Clip and Weight of Blanket for Canadian Winter
Hi, I have a 16.2 HH TB who is hard to keep weight on in winter. I've moved to a place with an indoor arena so I'm wondering if I should give him a belly/neck clip (least evasive one). I plan to ride at at least 3 days/week. I have a fleece cooler to help him dry out afterwards. He does grow a nice fuzzy coat but is thin skinned in summer sometimes with a cool rain. I feed him alfalfa cubes with corn oil and black oil sunflower seeds/rice bran (I haven't decided which I like better yet) to help keep his weight on.
So I'm wondering if a belly/neck clip would be worth it in our can be harsh Canadian winters (live in Edmonton, AB), and if so what weight of blanket to get (I know to get a 1200 denier but not sure of fill). I board him so he isn't at my house but I try to make it out to see him at least 5 days/week so I'll check for sores/brush him if he's wearing the blanket. If I should clip him, when should I do it?
Thanks so much, this is my first post so I hope it goes well :)
Subbing. Next winter will be my first winter in Canada, just outside of Edmonton. My horses will be living out, but will be in work.
I know what to do with them in the UK..... but might as well be moving to Mars as far as my knowledge of the Alberta climate goes!
I live on Alberta and when I'm riding hard throughout the winter, I absolutely clip the horse for their comfort and my convenience. I've only done full body clips, but may try a trace clip this year with Ro. I can post pics when I get home if you're interested.
As for blankets - I have three main blankets I use in the winter - midweight (~150 gram fill) stable blanket, medium weight turnout with neck, heavyweight turnout with neck. I blanket and layer depending on the temperature and horse.
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Thanks JustDressageIt for your reply, and I'm hoping Shropshirerosie you're learning too ;)
Maybe I will do a partial clip (still don't know which one though). I should mention that my gelding is on pature board (has access to run-in shelter but isn't brought into a stall at night or anything).
Pictures would be great JustDressageIt, do you do the clipping yourself?
Sorry one more question to add, what brand of turnout sheet do people use?
I read really good reviews on the Saxon brand, but don't know if it will be warm enough for here. Here's the two weights I was looking at (third link is blanket with hood):
Saxon 1200D Turnout Blanket 150g - Horse.com
Saxon 1200D Turnout Blanket 250g - Horse.com
Saxon 1200D Combo Turnout Blanket 250g - Horse.com
Thanks again everyone!
My thoughts would be for your belly/neck clip if you're sure you absolutely need it. If he's not getting excessively sweated up when you ride him and he's dry when you turn him out after the ride you probably won't need a clip. The other thing is that if you decide to go ahead with a clip, I would do the clip earlier rather than later in the season -- this will allow some of the hair to grow out and provide your boy with some insulation but not to the point of retaining excessive amounts of moisture.
For cold climates it really depends on how the horse is being kept. If they come in at night and are in hard work a full body clip, including the head, is OK but leave the belly and legs if you are planning on turning out even on the coldest days. For blankets make sure to have a heavy stable blanket, a medium stable sheet and a heavy turnout with a neck - combining these blankets will work for winter. For warmer days in the spring a non hood, mid-heavy blanket will be good. These 4 blankets will get a clipped, inside horse through from October to April in a northern climate.
For any horse living outside 24/7, good shelter and 24/7 hay are a must especially if they are clipped. The most I would recommend for these horses is a modified trace/blanket clip leaving hair on the head, most of the neck, the top part of the horse, the belly and the legs. Then blanket similarity to the fully clipped indoor horse. On very cold days the horse should not be brought inside, or worked at all as he can catch a chill, feed more hay on cold days if you are worried about the warmth of the horses.
For an unclipped, healthy horse being outside 24/7 with no blanket is also an option as long as they have hay, shelter and are not worked.
The other thing is to make sure your water is heated to above freezing to encourage drinking. Horses do not like cold water.
ETA you should have the equivalent of 600-700g of fill available for the very cold days. This can be 2 300g blankets and a fleece on the bottom, or three 250g blankets, etc.. Back on Track sheets are great for a "bottom layer" as well.
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So - like a Hunter Clip, but with the head and belly and saddle area on??
Methinks that this winter my horse(s) might remain unclipped whilst I learn how to ride / live in the winter, and come next winter I will be a seasoned veteran (hah!) of the weather.
Hay and Shelter seem the key - and I will have both of those.
ooooh - just seen Minstrel's post.
Okay, I think I can cope with this, so long as I apply large dollops of common sense?
SR, I think not clipping the first year is a good plan, you may find it takes a while to settle in and get used to the idea of going out in the winter, let alone doing much riding.
I have never clipped yet, but never actually work in the winter just ride out sometimes to enjoy the cold and the snow, so I don't get them hot.
It is still very odd getting used to not putting blankets on horses when it is so brutally cold, but as long as it is dry they manage great.
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