Can you stop blanketing a horse that's been blanketed its whole life? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 45 Old 09-22-2014, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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Can you stop blanketing a horse that's been blanketed its whole life?

Hi, I was wondering if you can completely stop blanketing in a horse who has pretty much been blanketed its whole life, as I am not too keen on blanketing, I just think it's unnecessary and unnatural whilst the horse has perfectly good natural oils in its fur to keep him both cool and warm. If it helps, he's a thouroughbred around 10 years, I know their skin is more thinner than most horses. Also I wouldn't mind blanketing in the older years or when medical problems, just now.

Thanks
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post #2 of 45 Old 09-22-2014, 11:29 AM
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I've heard that once you start blanketing you can't quit. Because the horse doesn't build up or make whatever he needs to stay warm/cool/dry because the blanket is there to do it for him. I could be wrong though.

My horse has probably never worn a blanket, and he's survived 18 summers and 17 winters
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post #3 of 45 Old 09-22-2014, 11:35 AM
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For some horses, yes, it is possible, IMO, as long as you stop during warm weather and do not put back on in fall as weather gets colder. However, thoroughbreds are not known for their hardiness, and can be bought to keep weight on in winter climates…..I guess to me it would depend on your horse and your climate. If you are in someplace that gets frigid with winds-I personally wouldn't, but, then personally I like mine with some protection for my own reasons….like easier to clean up to ride…..
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post #4 of 45 Old 09-23-2014, 09:17 AM
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If you don't start blanketing at the beginning of the winter, you should be fine. Just watch your horse and see how he does.

Unblanketed horses in cold climates should always have enough space to move, and a shelter from wind and rain (they'll likely stay in the rain and snow anyway, but the wind is dangerous)

Blankets are very useful when a horse have some medical issue, or when he gets worked hard very often and a long fluffy coat would take too much effort and time to dry.

Healthy horses who don't sweat for an hour every day? No reason to blanket them really.
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post #5 of 45 Old 09-23-2014, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cielo Notturno View Post
If you don't start blanketing at the beginning of the winter, you should be fine. Just watch your horse and see how he does.

Unblanketed horses in cold climates should always have enough space to move, and a shelter from wind and rain (they'll likely stay in the rain and snow anyway, but the wind is dangerous)

Blankets are very useful when a horse have some medical issue, or when he gets worked hard very often and a long fluffy coat would take too much effort and time to dry.

Healthy horses who don't sweat for an hour every day? No reason to blanket them really.
And lots of forage.
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post #6 of 45 Old 09-23-2014, 10:00 AM
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In nature, horses can seek out a lot more shelter, and are on the move more and hence warmer, than what happens in an average paddock. A horse will need some protection from sun, wind and rain to be comfortable - whether a walk-in shelter, good overhanging shelter belts, or rugs in adverse conditions. Horses can survive all sorts of stuff - but whether they are comfortable is another question. Horses like the Norwegian Fjord, the Shetland Pony and the Iceland Pony are far better adapted to life in cold climates than the TB and most common riding breeds these days. In many areas of Australia, healthy horses with at least decent plant shelter should be comfortable without rugging except in winter or adverse conditions. Here on the South Coast, we have high winds and cold that kills sheep in their paddocks, so we do rug over winter and in adverse conditions.
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post #7 of 45 Old 09-23-2014, 10:30 AM
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Pony, watch the horse for shivering almost non stop, altho shivering is a warming mechanism. Too much, like several days, can result in weight loss. Often just a breathable rain sheet provides enough protection from cold winds and will trap some of the horse's heat. I'm not familiar with Aussie weather but in Canada we get -35C. My horses aren't blanketed altho one needs a little help if we get strong winds with rain/snow at the beginning of winter. In his case he'd wear it during the day when turned out as that's when the weather is at it's worst. It seems to abate during the night. They won't go in the barn but opt for a thick stand of trees. Of course, because I'm prepared for that type of weather with a new rainsheet, it won't happen. Yeah!



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post #8 of 45 Old 09-23-2014, 11:19 AM
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My BO gets lots of ottbs straight off the track in the fall, many from Kentucky and florida. Some adjust right away, others we blanket as little as possible and usually they adapt by the second winter.

There are some horses that never adapt, and must be blanketed their whole life. I knew someone with an appaloosa like that.

pay attention to how much coat he is growing and his weight. Make sure he's not shivering regularly, I rarely see any horse here shivering, even at -40 celcius.
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post #9 of 45 Old 09-23-2014, 11:21 AM
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I happen to have experience with this type of situation. When I got my QH as a four year old he had been babied his whole life, blanketed, kept in a barn ect, mind you we live in FL and it rarely gets below 40 and not for long. Any way this horse of mine does not grow a winter coat, and starts shivering when it gets into the 50s. The first year I had him I tried giving him more hay, I tried just a sheet, and he lost weight and was cold, so I caved and put a blanket on him.

I read somewhere that putting blankets on them all the time damages their hair follicles or something like that. Anyway wearing a blanket prevents them from ever puffing up their coat on there own so that mechanism sort of dies. Vague I know, wish I knew where I read the article.

Back to my horse, I have had him 4 years now and even though it is still hot down here the days are getting shorter and I am noticing my others already starting with the winter coats, not my QH.

As for your guy you can always try and see how he does, but be prepared to put a blanket on him.
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post #10 of 45 Old 09-23-2014, 12:08 PM
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I have blanketed my TB for the past 5 years.

It's been getting cooler here and I have noticed other people's horses that don't have blankets on during the winter I already starting to grow the winter coat. My TB is not growing his yet.

But I believe my boy is a bit wimpy... last year with the very cold temps and a heavy blanket, tons of forage, and a stall my boy was still shivering.

Just watch your horse, and see how he does.

Chad Barnes 6-16-85~7-22-13
Hero Act - Thoroughbred Gelding ~ Gunner - Quarter Horse Gelding ~ John Deere - Mini Gelding
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