Blankets, sweating, weight loss, all that jazz... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-21-2011, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Oregon
Posts: 7,737
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Blankets, sweating, weight loss, all that jazz...

This question probably has a pretty straightforward answer, I just haven't been able to think of it. haha

As some of you probably know: my mare is 26 (27 in the spring), pastured 24/7, she has shelter, and she grows a winter coat like a wooly mammoth.
Only problem? She hates being rained on and since we reside in rainy Oregon, I've generally blanketed her because, at her age, I want her moving around as much as possible instead of just standing around in one place acting all lethargic because she's "cold".

However, this year her coat came in REALLY early. She has a nearly full, ridiculously thick, winter coat right now even though it's in the 50's/60's during the day but since it's raining, I want to blanket her (lightweight blanket, obviously, no fill), but that ends up with her being soaked with sweat. So I haven't been blanketing her. But, now each day when I go up to see her, her hind legs are a little stocked up and she's stiff because she's not moving around enough. And, on top of that, she's lost weight from being wet and getting cold.
I've been making sure she has plenty of hay to munch if she wants, so she can keep herself warm via digestion but it doesn't seem to be really working since she's still losing weight. On the plus side, she was a little chubby to begin with so the weight loss is currently benificial, but soon she won't be losing extra anymore.

So I guess my options are:
-blanket her anyway
-re-clip her and probably clip more than she is already (her chest was clipped but it's almost thoroughly grown out)
-leave her unblanketed and hope it gets cold before her weight gets too low

What would you do?

I'm probably being super overprotective but she's completely priceless to me, so humor me, if possible, please.

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
Wallaby is offline  
post #2 of 6 Old 10-22-2011, 11:52 AM
Join Date: May 2011
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if losing weight in the mid 50's/60 degree weather...i would worry about something other than the blanketing.

to clarify....she is sweating with a blanket on but cold with it off? and it is just a turnout sheet?

is she sweating in the day time with it on and getting cold at night with it off? if that is the case i would go out and put the sheet on only in the night when the temp drops so she can stay comfy.

putting a blanket on to the point of sweat is just the same as leaving it off and her getting soaked because the sweat most likely will chill her too if it is cold and windy,

if putting on the sheet only at night doesn't work and she is miserable in the day with it off i would re-clip her and then put the sheet on.

however. i would still get a vet out and maybe an equine dentist out ( if not already been looked at)

how much hay/pasture is she getting? does she get any grain/beetpulp?

hope you find the solution.

*Member of the Quality Free-Choice Hay/Pasture Feeders Society* *In Favor of Turning horses out as long as Possible*
Royal Pine Buck is offline  
post #3 of 6 Old 10-22-2011, 12:09 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Olds, AB Canada
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I agree ^

Personally, I would try clipping her and see if that makes the problem go away.

Horses are scared of two things... Things that move and things that don't.
Ray MacDonald is offline  
post #4 of 6 Old 10-22-2011, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Oregon
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She's sweating with a lightweight turnout sheet on but cold with it off, yes.
Another factor I forgot to mention is that we're smack in the middle of our yearly "huge cold wind that blows for days" weather so I'd imagine that that's not helping her stay warm in the least.

Putting the blanket on in the evening and taking it off in the morning could work. I'll give that a try this next week. It might be a little challenging with getting out the door in the morning and all, but I'll give it a try.

That's what I was thinking about the sweat as well.

I'll see what I can do about getting the vet to come out. Maybe I'll first email her and see what she says because she's very willing to give very complete advice over the phone/via email (and she just checked out Lacey a few month ago and gave her a clean bill of health).
Lacey got her teeth done last June so they should be fine, they're certainly "fine-er" than they were then! O.o

She's getting free choice grass hay and about 5 pounds of alfalfa everyday, plus pasture but the pasture is in that transition point between growth and being dead for the winter so she's grazing a little but not a bunch. She gets a pound of Enrich 32 (ration balancer) everyday with about a pound of beet pulp, all soaked (even though she has all her teeth, I feel she can process it better soaked).
I think I need to start upping her alfalfa to her winter ration (aka, 15 pounds of alfalfa, free choice grass hay, same amount of BP+RB) but I'm hesitant to do it too soon since she still does have some pasture and she's not acting overly hungry when I come to feed her everyday and it'll go to waste if she's "not feeling like eating it". Silly horse.

I'm crossing my fingers that it's going to start getting cold soon. We're ready! haha

I'll try clipping her again as well. I'd like to try and leave it for a few weeks so that maybe her coat will be pretty finished coming in and I can just shave it off instead of doing it a little too soon and have the clipped part be long again really soon, if that makes sense...

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.

Last edited by Wallaby; 10-22-2011 at 12:30 PM.
Wallaby is offline  
post #5 of 6 Old 10-22-2011, 01:23 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Middle Tennessee
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Even though it's late in the year, I would really ask the vet to do an ACTH test on her for cushings before I did any clipping.

She is at a really good age to be dealing with cushings with the things you describe.

She sounds cushings to me; they don't have to have that Yak-looking coat to be cushings.

If the vet does the test, do NOT let him do the Dex test. Have him draw blood and read that.

While ACTH tests aren't accurate this time of year, because the horse is naturally storing fat for the winter, I would still get it done.

If your horse is headed toward cushings, the readings will be really high and you will have a benchmark for spring.

Then ask the vet if clipping is a yes or no for her for the winter
walkinthewalk is online now  
post #6 of 6 Old 10-22-2011, 02:09 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: OK
Posts: 13,725
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I've had a couple of really old horses who dropped weight in the 50's & 60's and were skeletal by spring. The only things I've found that worked were bringing them in out of the weather the minute things got below 65F and feeding them Senior to a point a couple hundred pounds OVER where I thought they should be. So, if your horse is at 800 lbs and should be at 950 then I fed for 1200 until they had some fat on. So if the bags says, 6 lbs for an 950 horse in pasture or very light work, and 10 lbs for a 1200 lb horse in moderate work, I started with 2 lbs per feeding for 3 or 4 days, then went to 3 lbs per feeding for 3 or 4 days and then went to 4 lbs then 5lbs and of course, all the hay they want and lots of fresh water. I also added 1 lb/feeding of Purina Ultium Compete for the fat content.

I finally had to put one down at 32 years old and the other at 28, but they were both looking very good even at the end. I also would put a windproof sheet on them if the wind was blowing and it was 60 or below and I wanted them outside. Once it got below 50 I put on a medium weight blanket and below 30 I put on a heavy weight blanket. If it got down to15 or below, they gotthe medium & heavy weight blankets on.

The main thing I found was that I had to really keep the easily chewable and digestable feed coming because they could no longer chew well enough (they both had their teeth and were floated) to extract the nutrients and calories they needed from the hay. I left them hay to chew on but more as just something to do rather than expecting that to keep them healthy. There were days when I was out changing blankets 3 & 4 times because the weather changes so much here in OK. Mainly in fall though, I'd make sure to take the sheets off by 10 or 11 a.m. and then make sure they were back on by 3 or 4 p.m. and that stopped a lot of the sweating problems. I did not clip them and they were both YAKS but they needed that fur for midwinter.

Heres' the 28 year old:

And the 32 year old:

Dreamcatcher Arabians is offline  

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