Blanket non-clipped horse when temp is below -35 degrees celcius?
Hi I have a 10 yr old OTTB who is not clipped and does not wear a blanket for outdoor pasture board. There is a 3-sided run-in shelter in the pasture but he is at the bottom of the pecking order and I'm worried when it gets to be below -35 degrees celcius that he might not be let in the shelter. The pasture horses get free choice hay fed at two different spots so he can always eat while not being picked on. My instructor said he is at a perfect weight now a.k.a. wouldn't want him to get any fatter, so he's in a healthy condition and not skinny.
I am wondering if I will need to throw a blanket on him when/if we get a cold snap (can easily get to -40 degrees with windchill here in Edmonton, Alberta). If I should be throwing a blanket on, what weight of fill should it be (I don't want him to start sweating)? I'm assuming that I will need to get a 1200 denier count and make sure it's waterproof/windproof/ breathable. I read about insulated rainsheets, is this ideal?
Sorry, more of a back story on him, but last summer I boarded him somewhere else where he was not allowed in shelter and it was raining and he started shivering. Owner of place put a rainsheet on him and called him "thin skinned". I don't know if that info will help or not.
So, should I be prepared to blanket (need to know as I will have to buy one), what weight of blanket, and any brands or particular blankets that you guys like.
Thanks so much!
If you start to rug him now he will need it on until the end of the winter. He sounds as if he is OK at the moment but should you see him start to lose weight then a rug will make him more comfortable.
If he were mine I'd be rugging him in a medium weight for the winter months. Being wet to the skin and cold winds are the worst for them to deal with. Straight cold weather is no problem
I didn't reply earlier as I'm only a newbie to this area, and so not yet an expert! I can only say what I am planning on based on what I have been told by locals and their previous owner.
Mine live out, with some trees and a small shelter at one end of their pasture. They are not rugged. I am feeding them hay to supplement the grass that they can still dig at. They certainly have enough weight and hair to keep themselves warm and I just need to make sure that when it gets colder they do have enough forage to generate the heat.
In your position I wouldn't be rugging because I think it can be counter productive on an unclipped horse by squashing the hair, and it is also a 'once you start you can't stop' thing.
I would want to see that there is always sufficient piles of hay for the lowest ranking horse to be continually eating if he needs, and that he can get to shelter on the rare occasions that it rains, or wet-snows.
Also, if your shelter is situated so that he has access to three walls that will protect him from the wind and that is what most horses prefer. Most horses will stand bum to wall for wind protection. He coat is long enough that blanketing would cause him to overheat. Make sure there are more hay piles than horses.
Unfortunately shropshirerosie at some point when the horse has become soaked to the skin and then a cold wind blows these are the times when most horses don't cope so well, especially those that doen't grow a really long coat. If you see the horse shivering then it is miserably cold, rapidly burning off condition and if you consider how you feel when so cold your teeth chatter they too can't be feeling so happy.
TB's are really not horses of the colder climates - the density of the coat is so fine that in winter their coats look like the summer coat of a native pony.
Even my Clydesdale is covered in the worst part of winter - these are the months of January February in the Northern Hemisphere as they are the coldest months of the year. While a rug may flatten the hair it does prevent the rain from soaking through and eliminates the wind chill factor.
TB's also tend to get Rain Scald in the winter when uncovered, my four year old did really rapidly when we had a spell of constant heavy rain.
Good quality hay is essential and shelter available - they often don't use it, prefering to stand in a hollow or beside a hedge.
I personally think it depends on the horse. I have light blankets for my TB (whom doesnt get much of a winter coat PLUS im working her through winter) and i rug my pinto gelding as he got sick when the weather changed and stayed sick until i got him medicine and a blanket. When i start working my QH again i plan on getting her a blanket as well. However my mustang grows like a wooly mammoth and even though im working him even a light blanket gets him too hot. The only time he was ever blanketed was when it snowed.
-35 to -40 i deffinitly be blanketing my horse for that kind of weather. Some of the people blanket at my barn at only 5 degrees. Even if your horse has a winter coat, i think hed love a blankie. Especially with snow and wind. But if your horse has survived that weather with out a blanket, he she should be fine. Im not much of a blanketer but id deffinatly be blanketing at -5-10 an below for sure.
Especially if hes not in an insulated barn or heated barn. During the nights.
Very often horses will do far better in this extreme dry cold than they will later on. Just keep an eye on him, if he has a windbreak and plenty of hay he will probably do fine.
But, I would have a waterproof and possibly an underblanket available for when the weather warms up, and when we have the spring storms, that is when they can get chilled so easily.
I also have a 10 year old TB gelding unblanketed. Same situation, pasture board and run in shed. He is a little higher up in the pecking order than yours, but I wonder all the same things as you. Last week we had one day with a ton of rain. I found my horse standing out in the rain eating off the round bale. I got nervous about him being wet and threw a blanket on him for the first time this year. Next day, I rode him and he quickly overheated, so I'm going back to blanket-less. It's pretty obvious to me that he's far better at regulating his body temperature than I am.
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