Winter Rugs - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 03-25-2019, 07:05 AM Thread Starter
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Winter Rugs

We are coming up to winter over here in Aus, and im curious on winter rugs?? Theres sooooo many types and im unsure where to begin?! Theres different thicknesses, neck, head and body combos etc... So, wondering where to start? What type/ thickness? Do i get a fleece underlay? Or no underlay? Combos? Yes ? No? .

Our winter's in my area can get down to negatives but no snow in years. Frequently get to single digits..

Thanks all x
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post #2 of 26 Old 03-25-2019, 09:14 AM
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Not familiar with Australian weather, but I am in Canada, so I am intimately familiar with horse blankets (which you call rugs)!

First, decide whether or not your horse needs a blanket. I assume this is your first winter with a horse, otherwise you wouldn't be asking. So I would start by determining whether your horse has needed a blanket in past winters. If he never wore a blanket, and grows a good winter coat, you may not need/wish to blanket at all. Two of my horses are not blanketed, and we get much worse weather than you (they also live outside 24/7 with access to their stalls). If you start blanketing now, you can't stop mid-winter, so this is an important decision. Don't blanket too soon either, give the horse a chance to acclimate to the cold and grow a good coat. Obviously, if you're going to clip your horse (I don't), that changes things. You should always blanket a clipped horse since you're taking away his natural protection.

Another important consideration is whether you can add/remove blankets during the day. I have my horses at home, and have flexible work hours, so I can usually change them as much as needed. Often, some horses might need a light blanket at night, but once it warms up by about mid-day, the blanket would ideally be removed. The only thing worse than a cold horse at night is a horse that sweats all day under a blanket, and THEN has to cope with suddenly plummeting temperatures as the sun goes down. They should not wear the same blanket day and night, just like you should not go to bed in your down-filled winter coat.

Finally, observe your horse. Do you see signs of the horse being cold? Is he shivering, reluctant to leave his shelter? A horse should never get cold enough to shiver. But if he's perfectly content, wandering around looking completely comfortable, chances are, we as humans are just projecting our feelings of cold onto our equines. They do just fine when the temperature is around freezing, even slightly below. But each horse is different. I have an older horse who does get cold, so he gets blanketed. I've seen him shiver in his stall, reluctant to go outside, so he gets blanketed as much as necessary to keep him comfortable. Today, it's just below freezing, so he is wearing a light sheet - more of a windbreak than anything, and I will take it off him shortly since the sun is out and shining. It's good for the skin to remove those blankets too. On colder nights, he wears a fleece under his sheet. On really cold nights (-20C), he wears a winter blanket (mid-weight) and on really, really cold nights (-30C or colder), I add a thick liner under that winter blanket. He has quite a collection of blankets :) But he has done very well with a little extra TLC. He didn't do so well the one winter we decided not to blanket. There are charts telling you what blankets a horse needs at what temperatures, but honestly, each horse is completely different so what applies to one does not necessarily apply to another. Wind and precipitation are huge factors too.

Hopefully some of our members from Australia can give you information specific to your area.
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post #3 of 26 Old 03-25-2019, 10:09 AM
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Blanketing is a personal choice made by each owner for each individual horse and should be also made with the horses comfort and health foremost in mind.
Some horses need a blanket as they just don't do well keeping weight on in winter chill/cold.
Some horses do not grow a good coat and need the protection a blanket can provide.
Some horses just enjoy being blanketed...their body English is relaxed when blanketed and not needing to burn stored energy {fat} reserves to stay a consistent temperature...
There are many reasons to blanket just as there are many reasons not to...all are legitimate things to think about.

Blankets come in 2 distinct types...stable and turnout..
Stable blankets will not offer any protection from weather conditions outside...they are not waterproof/water-resistant.
Turnout blankets are made slightly different and fabric is treated to offer protection against many kinds of inclement weather..they can be worn in the barn or outside.
Blankets come in many degrees of insulating warmth or no warmth at all...that would be called a sheet.
Turnout style blankets are known to have leg straps, cross-surcingles under the belly, front closures or fixed/sewn shut front, a larger tail flap sewn to the back edges to offer wind protection and draft reduction to the horse.
Sides are often longer, called the blanket drop.
Most blankets regardless of what kind/style have a nylon shoulder panel to help reduce rubbing of the coat and over time bald spots occur and shiny skin that can be sore to the horse.
Those are basics...
Schneider's Tack has one of the largest collections of blankets, sheets for stable and outdoor use I've ever seen.
From mini and foals, through the largest of drafts they cover it all.
Many choices in cut of blanket, insulating or not properties, colors and strength of materials used are choices.
A link and do read their tutorial about warmth factor, cut and fit as blanket to blanket it can be different.
Manufacturers all have patterns they cut from and just like same manufacturer different style fit can change for us humans...the same is true for horse blankets.
Read and get informed of the choices this one place offers...there are many places/manufacturers that do blankets and each is slightly different too so make sure you read and do your homework about what you need or think you need.
https://www.sstack.com/horse-blankets-and-sheets/

There is no right or wrong in blanketing or not...
Be informed though what your horses need and you are most comfortable having your horses wear during winter cold is a decision only you can make.
...
jmo...
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The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #4 of 26 Old 03-25-2019, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
Not familiar with Australian weather, but I am in Canada, so I am intimately familiar with horse blankets (which you call rugs)!

First, decide whether or not your horse needs a blanket. I assume this is your first winter with a horse, otherwise you wouldn't be asking. So I would start by determining whether your horse has needed a blanket in past winters. If he never wore a blanket, and grows a good winter coat, you may not need/wish to blanket at all. Two of my horses are not blanketed, and we get much worse weather than you (they also live outside 24/7 with access to their stalls). If you start blanketing now, you can't stop mid-winter, so this is an important decision. Don't blanket too soon either, give the horse a chance to acclimate to the cold and grow a good coat. Obviously, if you're going to clip your horse (I don't), that changes things. You should always blanket a clipped horse since you're taking away his natural protection.

Another important consideration is whether you can add/remove blankets during the day. I have my horses at home, and have flexible work hours, so I can usually change them as much as needed. Often, some horses might need a light blanket at night, but once it warms up by about mid-day, the blanket would ideally be removed. The only thing worse than a cold horse at night is a horse that sweats all day under a blanket, and THEN has to cope with suddenly plummeting temperatures as the sun goes down. They should not wear the same blanket day and night, just like you should not go to bed in your down-filled winter coat.

Finally, observe your horse. Do you see signs of the horse being cold? Is he shivering, reluctant to leave his shelter? A horse should never get cold enough to shiver. But if he's perfectly content, wandering around looking completely comfortable, chances are, we as humans are just projecting our feelings of cold onto our equines. They do just fine when the temperature is around freezing, even slightly below. But each horse is different. I have an older horse who does get cold, so he gets blanketed. I've seen him shiver in his stall, reluctant to go outside, so he gets blanketed as much as necessary to keep him comfortable. Today, it's just below freezing, so he is wearing a light sheet - more of a windbreak than anything, and I will take it off him shortly since the sun is out and shining. It's good for the skin to remove those blankets too. On colder nights, he wears a fleece under his sheet. On really cold nights (-20C), he wears a winter blanket (mid-weight) and on really, really cold nights (-30C or colder), I add a thick liner under that winter blanket. He has quite a collection of blankets 🙂 But he has done very well with a little extra TLC. He didn't do so well the one winter we decided not to blanket. There are charts telling you what blankets a horse needs at what temperatures, but honestly, each horse is completely different so what applies to one does not necessarily apply to another. Wind and precipitation are huge factors too.

Hopefully some of our members from Australia can give you information specific to your area.
Thanks so mucg! This is my first horse and first time dealing with winter. He has a summer rug but they don't have a winter rug for him (previous owners). So i assume he may not need it? I guess i might just save my money and wait to see how he goes!

Im a stay at home mum/student who studies from home, So plenty of freetime to rug/unrug throughout the day if needed, he is on an agistment property too so if im not there, there is someone who can do so for me if needed! Thanks heaps for the information.
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post #5 of 26 Old 03-25-2019, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horselovinguy View Post
Blanketing is a personal choice made by each owner for each individual horse and should be also made with the horses comfort and health foremost in mind.
Some horses need a blanket as they just don't do well keeping weight on in winter chill/cold.
Some horses do not grow a good coat and need the protection a blanket can provide.
Some horses just enjoy being blanketed...their body English is relaxed when blanketed and not needing to burn stored energy {fat} reserves to stay a consistent temperature...
There are many reasons to blanket just as there are many reasons not to...all are legitimate things to think about.

Blankets come in 2 distinct types...stable and turnout..
Stable blankets will not offer any protection from weather conditions outside...they are not waterproof/water-resistant.
Turnout blankets are made slightly different and fabric is treated to offer protection against many kinds of inclement weather..they can be worn in the barn or outside.
Blankets come in many degrees of insulating warmth or no warmth at all...that would be called a sheet.
Turnout style blankets are known to have leg straps, cross-surcingles under the belly, front closures or fixed/sewn shut front, a larger tail flap sewn to the back edges to offer wind protection and draft reduction to the horse.
Sides are often longer, called the blanket drop.
Most blankets regardless of what kind/style have a nylon shoulder panel to help reduce rubbing of the coat and over time bald spots occur and shiny skin that can be sore to the horse.
Those are basics...
Schneider's Tack has one of the largest collections of blankets, sheets for stable and outdoor use I've ever seen.
From mini and foals, through the largest of drafts they cover it all.
Many choices in cut of blanket, insulating or not properties, colors and strength of materials used are choices.
A link and do read their tutorial about warmth factor, cut and fit as blanket to blanket it can be different.
Manufacturers all have patterns they cut from and just like same manufacturer different style fit can change for us humans...the same is true for horse blankets.
Read and get informed of the choices this one place offers...there are many places/manufacturers that do blankets and each is slightly different too so make sure you read and do your homework about what you need or think you need.
https://www.sstack.com/horse-blankets-and-sheets/

There is no right or wrong in blanketing or not...
Be informed though what your horses need and you are most comfortable having your horses wear during winter cold is a decision only you can make.
<img style="max-width:100%;" src="https://www.horseforum.com/images/smilies/runninghorse2.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Runninghorse2" class="inlineimg" />...
jmo...
Thanks so much! I will check out the link!
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post #6 of 26 Old 03-25-2019, 09:22 PM
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A rainsheet might be worth getting, if nothing else, as even a horse with a really good winter coat can get chilled if they get soaked on a cold day.
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post #7 of 26 Old 03-25-2019, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by SteadyOn View Post
A rainsheet might be worth getting, if nothing else, as even a horse with a really good winter coat can get chilled if they get soaked on a cold day.
Question...

Do you refer to a turnout sheet...
No insulating value but made to be worn outdoors in all kinds of weather. They do come with a neck covering some styles too...this one shown is similar to what I have in design/style.

Or....

Do you refer to what I know as a rainsheet that I use when my horse is tacked and say waiting ringside in the rain so my saddle and my horse not be soaked?


The rainsheet that I know of and think of would not withstand much and it would be ruined.
A very controlled use atmosphere for that rainsheet {this one I actually own}
...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #8 of 26 Old 03-25-2019, 10:28 PM
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When I lived in California I blanketed about five days a year, during heavy cold windy rain storms. Here in Massachusetts, I blanket with a medium weight turnout (waterproof and lined with medium-level insulation) when the temps dip below 20F or for you, about -7C. Zero or below (-18C) gets a heavyweight turnout blanket. My horses are not clipped nor are they of particularly thin-skinned breeds. When it's above 20F the blankets come off. This is a daily ritual from some time in November to some time in April.

Horses can take a LOT more cold than we think they can, generally. One thing about living in a cold climate though, horses go through an astonishing amount of hay just keeping themselves warm, and blanketing will cut down on your hay bill.

In climates where it doesn't snow, just providing a place where they can get out of the wind and get dry is all they probably need. If it is real wet and windy, a turnout sheet (waterproof but unlined) might be appreciated.
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post #9 of 26 Old 03-25-2019, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avna View Post
When I lived in California I blanketed about five days a year, during heavy cold windy rain storms. Here in Massachusetts, I blanket with a medium weight turnout (waterproof and lined with medium-level insulation) when the temps dip below 20F or for you, about -7C. Zero or below (-18C) gets a heavyweight turnout blanket. My horses are not clipped nor are they of particularly thin-skinned breeds. When it's above 20F the blankets come off. This is a daily ritual from some time in November to some time in April.

Horses can take a LOT more cold than we think they can, generally. One thing about living in a cold climate though, horses go through an astonishing amount of hay just keeping themselves warm, and blanketing will cut down on your hay bill.

In climates where it doesn't snow, just providing a place where they can get out of the wind and get dry is all they probably need. If it is real wet and windy, a turnout sheet (waterproof but unlined) might be appreciated.
Thanks! Ill look into the turnout sheet. We are getting alot of rain lately and now that its getting colder i think you're right and this would be wise.
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post #10 of 26 Old 03-26-2019, 07:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horselovinguy View Post
Question...

Do you refer to a turnout sheet...
No insulating value but made to be worn outdoors in all kinds of weather. They do come with a neck covering some styles too...this one shown is similar to what I have in design/style.
Yep! One for turnout. Maybe it's just a regional thing, but the waterproofed, turnout-style rain sheets up here are usually just called rain sheets, even in store advertisements.
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