To blanket or not to blanket. That is the question! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-26-2008, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Minnesota
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To blanket or not to blanket. That is the question!

Ok so I live in Minnesota, my horse is outside 24- 7, he is a 16yr old Thoroughbred. I have never used a blanket in past years because I always new he had a shelter he could get into if he wanted and he always had hay at all times if he wanted . But we had to move and now he is at a new barn and in the pasture with 3 other younger horses( 5-9yrs) the shelter is only large enough for 2 horses and I know he won't be one. The pastures are surrounded by lots of trees that do block the wind and the pasture also has a very low spot that is great for wind block. I do ride 2-5 times a week. If I put a blanket on him doesn't it have to come off daily? What do you guys think? I am really stressing out about this! I know once I put him in one he needs to stay in one, but things I read on the Internet also tell me that horses don't need Blankets that with proper hay source and there own hair will be enough. But what if it snows in the middle of the night all night long( it does happen) ?Also i am not sure how if he is getting enough hay because of the 3 younger ones but I will be keeping a close eye on his weight by using the wieght tape. I am so worried about doing the wrong thing please help!Sorry so long.

I am owned by the Sandman
prbygenny is offline  
post #2 of 10 Old 09-26-2008, 08:11 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: MD
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First of all, I'd look for the barn WITH shelter. I know that may not be an alternative, but trees and all do not prevent from the rain. My horses developed bold spots and rain rots when the BO got too many horses and they couldn't fit into shelter in nasty weather. After I moved them they were back to normal coat in a month.

I do use the blankets for the nights when its' very cold outside. VERY rarely during a day time (only when we had ice storm for several days). I'm not sure it's really good to use them in rain. And if you use one all the time you have to take it off often and brush your horse, otherwise he can have problems with the coat (plus he won't grow much in blanket).

kitten_Val is offline  
post #3 of 10 Old 09-26-2008, 10:08 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Greenville area / SC
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When I lived in PA my horses were turned out 24/7 as they are now as well. They rarely went in the barn even though they had 100% access to it. Even in the rain and snow (I hate snow). They would rather have a foot of accumulation on their backs then go inside. The only time that I put a blanket on them was when I trailered to a ride.

When I got a new horse this past January, she was always stalled so an open pasture was new to her and she didn't have the coat necessary for insulation. I had to blanket her and keep her inside when we got freezing rain/ice until she acclimated to the weather. Once she grew her coat I had no further problem.

If your horse can grow a good coat then I would not worry about it so long as he can get out of the wind which I think is the real culprit. Just be sure he can have free access to hay which I find is very important. The act of grazing and eating helps built internal heat.

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iridehorses is offline  
post #4 of 10 Old 09-26-2008, 11:05 AM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Missouri
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I would say that if your horse has the option for shelter and can still grow a good winter coat I would avoid blanketing. IMO it messes with their internal thermostat. Not all the horses will try to cram into the shelter at once. My guys stood out in the middle of an ice storm last year head to tail. *shrug* As much as we wanted them to go inside...they chose not to.

We provide free choice hay all thorough the winter months. We get quality round bales and let them eat what they want.

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.

1 Chronicles 28:20

Dumas'_Grrrl is offline  
post #5 of 10 Old 09-26-2008, 11:10 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: MD
Posts: 23,909
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It's funny though, but whenever we have rain (doesn't matter summer or winter) both my horses stay in shed and if I open the stalls for them they FLY there and look very happy. :) They have nice coat and are young and not skinny, but still love to be in stalls.

kitten_Val is offline  
post #6 of 10 Old 09-26-2008, 11:22 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: SE Kansas
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I've only had one horse that needed a blanket in the winters. She was a Thoroughbred so maybe that had something to do with it. I was always told if they shiver when its cold then they need a blanket if they don't they don't need one.

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-26-2008, 12:06 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
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I live in Pennsylvania and last year it got to -20, so I know cold. ;) My horses have never been blanketed and do just fine. They are fed the amount of good quality hay they should, have access to a shelter and grow very thick coats. I would find another barn, if you are worried about your horse having access to necessities (food, shelter) then it doesn't sound like a good place to board to me.
iheartcloudnine is offline  
post #8 of 10 Old 09-26-2008, 02:02 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ontario
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I vote for no blanket. I too have seen them standing in the cold as happy as could be when the barn is 20 feet away! As for the snowing all night -- not a problem with a good coat. Last winter my two horses stood so still in the snow storm that they had white coats instead of bay. One had *2 inches* of snow on him! No kidding. And that just proved to me right there how good his winter coat was. His body heat was not escaping out to melt the snow. Perfect! I think your guy will be fine, esp since he is already used to it.
NorthernMama is offline  
post #9 of 10 Old 09-26-2008, 03:30 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Michigan
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Sorry if I repeat anything but I didn't read all of the replies. I have a 28 yo quarter horse and I live in the Upper Peninsula of MI. Very similar to MN... When he was at my 4-H barn about 4 or 5 years ago and one of the older horses. Well, often when they are the oldest they become dominant. All Scooter had to do was pin his ears and the others would leave the food. We had to start feeding him way away from the others lol. Also, when he was at my house alone before I got another horse he'd stay inside and we'd shut him in when it was really cold but now with a younger horse that prefers to be outside they stay outside pretty much all winter. Sometimes Scooter will go in and Hunter will stand in the doorway but anyway, he does just fine. I'd just keep an eye on him..Give him a bit of time to adjust and see what happens. Chances are his body will adjust and he will be fine.

TM Tardy's Chick "Hunter" - 13 yo Paint
Remmy - 18 yo Morgan/QH cross
Gunner 3/31/11, Heidi 7/2009 Miniature Sicilian donkey
RusticWildFire is offline  
post #10 of 10 Old 09-26-2008, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 225
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Thanto all that gave a responce I really appreciate your wealth of knowledge!
When he was out the last 2 years on pasture 24-7 he did grow a great coat and he put on a little extra weight so I knew he was fine. This year he is actually closer to me so I can go out everyday if I have to, to check on him and I am sure I will, I have so far. lol
I will be keeping a very close eye on his weight and coat, but I am happy to hear that I am doing things ok for him. As far as the older horses becoming the dominant one.. I don't think that will happen here. On his 1st day he was introduced to the other brand new horse and they connected instantly, but when they were put in with the other 3 young ones they were run around and have been being kicked off the hay every time I am there. I wish he was just a little more dominant. There is really just one horse that is a bully the other 2 will just move my boy and the other new guy, but the bully tries to bite them and has a few times ( he is not even the dominant horse) I think he is trying to keep his standing as 2nd.
Thanks again and I will keep on watching!!

I am owned by the Sandman
prbygenny is offline  

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