I have had TJ for almost three years. In those years we've moved 6 times. Last winter I sent him to a "professional trainer" for three months, which turned out to be a huge mistake. I was paying for a stall, and he did not get it. He was pastured with another horse and a shelter only big enough for one horse. His blanket was stolen. He had lost so much weight he lost muscle mass in his neck. Granted, he was not at death's door, my vet wasn't worried about him...but nobody wants to see that, yah know?! So now, I'm VERY paranoid about him in winter weather, even though I do prefer pasture 24/7 and he's a breed built to last in winter...I just cannot help but worry.
I moved him to my friend/his now trainer's barn (not her barn, she rides there). Before I ever moved there, I asked about keeping a blanket on him (and my 200 other questions) and related my worry and bad experience to the BO. This is what I was told:
We do not like to have the outside horses blanketed due to the
risk of the blankets getting wet and causing health problems. Horses
can be smart and use the run-in but I've also seen them standing right
out in the rain soaking away.
This was my response:
as long as I know it's okay to put one on him when it's like -0 degrees and freezing rain overnight
To which they did not say otherwise. I was leary of asking them to blanket him, 'cuz I knew they didn't want to. But I thought it would be fine for ME to blanket him myself -- on and off -- when the weather was horrible. Like any combo of wind, rain and freezing tempertures.
Fast forward to this weekend. My sister bought TJ a pretty new blanket for him as an early Christmas gift. I went out that night in the pitch black to put it on him. It was 20 some degrees with a frigid wind, like 26 mile an hour gusts! So I left the blanket on him.
I sent the BO an email saying he had his new Xmas blanket on and I would be out the next day to take it off. I specifically told them, they did not have to touch it. I was responsible for it.
When I went out the next day his blanket was off. The owners were in the barn when I got there, and ran back to the house without saying a word to me while I was out in the field. Not even a "hi". I got home and checked my email and sure enough there was an email from the BO, in no friendly manner saying "the 'ground rule' was no blankets on pastured horses. If it was an issue I should look for a new winter facility." :shock: I was really upset to put it mildly (as was my sister who spent money on the blanket).
I went and checked every piece of paperwork and no where is anything written about blankets. It was never mentioned in any verbal conversation. It was mentioned in an email that I brought up (as stated above). And that doesn't sound like it was setting ground rule to me?!
Now, I'm not bashing them for there decision to not blanket or allow blankets on pastured horses. I'm unhappy with how it was handled. I'm confused as to why I cannot blanket my own horse. And I am a little angry that they would just go out and rip his blanket off him.
I haven't responded yet, because I'm a little nervous to. This isn't the first snarky reply I've had from them. I have been feeling like the BO just wants me out. Which is very upsetting to me, 'cuz neither I nor my horse has done anything to warrant getting kicked out. :-( And I'm really afraid they'll use this whole blanket thing to throw us out. So I don't want to say the wrong thing?
I don't want to have to move AGAIN. Not right now, anyway...I have so much going on and other things to worry about!
Boarders...how would you handle this as not to cause a scene or battle?
It sounds like you have two choices: Don't blanket or blanket and move. We don't blanket. We're in IL.
When I boarded my two guys, the barn owner made it clear that they preferred no blankets, but if you wanted to blanket, you had to do it yourself.
My guys have been in their turnouts in nasty wet Georgia winters - and I'm glad that they did have their blankets.
Does the BO give you a reason as to WHY she doesn't want blankets on? You are at least entitled to that much. But, rules are rules - and it sounds like this one was made especially for you!
seriously i think its stupid. its your horse and you should atleast be able to blanket him yourself. if you want to blanket him and they wont let you then i'd move.
I would tell them it is a stupid rule because your not asking them to do anything and you will be moving your horse. My pasture horses don't have a good shelter so I blanket them religiously. Even when their new lean-tos are built, I'll still put blankets on because they're ******ed enough to stand out in the freezing rain.
It might be a liability issue. Everyone is suing everyone these days over everything.
My guy is out 24/7 and our BM hounds me if its sub 20 degrees and he doesn't have a blanket on.
As blossom said, it sounds to be a liability issue? I've never heard of health issues resulting from a wet blanket...
I have a few points to make:
- Most blankets on the market (specifically turnout blankets made for rain or snow) these days are waterproof. They have a layer that is very impenetrable to water. It has been many years since I've had a blanket fail that duty. The blankets are also made to breathe, so the coat is not deprived of oxygen.
- If the blanket does become wet, then yes take it off because it can cause skin problems. However a dry blanket should not cause these problems if you are taking it off a few times a week to let his skin breathe.
- Make sure you are taking the blanket off a few times a week for a few hours at a time.
- Be sure you're doing the blanket up correctly, and that the straps are all adjusted to your horse. Make sure to criss-cross the back leg straps, and if your surcingles are cross-biased, that they cross over.
Every barn has its rules, however I have never been to a barn that has not "allowed" blankets. I do find that very strange, as I religiously blanket my horse... I have a light stable blanket for when he's in or being shipped, a rain sheet with no fill, a mid-weight winter blanket, a heavyweight winter blanket, and a few fly sheets.
The thing with the shelter also would get to me - how many shelters are there? If there's just one and more than your horse in the paddock/pasture, there is no guarantee that he's getting in the shelter when the weather is crappy unless he's "top dog."
I'm not saying everyone should or has to blanket, I personally prefer to, and I wouldn't board at a place that didn't allow it :P
It does sound like a liability issue but at the same time, you have stated that you'll be responsible of putting on and taking off the blanket. It is your horse after all. So perhaps it really is more of a grudge.
My horses all have blankets on during winter, and some have them all year round (eg, white cottons in summer to cool the darker ones and prevent sunburn on the greys). They're turned out 24/7 with approipriate 3 sided shelters etc. But then I do come from a country considered to have the most over blanketed horses in the world :P
If I were you, or in your place Id be leaving the barn. As a BO myself, I have absolutely no right to remove a blanket from my client's horses without permissionm or good reason. Infact I have no right to touch anyones property, including their horses without permission or good reason.
It sounds like Your BO removing your blanket may be just a taste of things to come :(
IMO it's your choice if you want to blanket your horse or not. Obviously if he is going to be blanketed while pastured and out in the elements your going to have a waterproof blanket on him and as long as you check it regularly and re-waterproof as needed I don't see what the problem is. I was at a boarding place a while ago where my filly was turned out all day, which was great except that the turnouts had no shelter at all, I would come out in the eve and she would be in the pouring rain shivering her equine butt off, the BO was an ass in my opinion as she could have been put into her stall (and run) but anyway I just got her a waterproof sheet and things were much better. If they are ademant about it though you may have to move if you want to blanket, their barn, their rules so to speak. Maybe they had a bad experience in the past with wet blankets and sick horses, but if that were to happen, you would be the one responsible for the vet bill.
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