Blanketing in New England? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 04-10-2015, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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Talking Blanketing in New England?

I've been poking around on this subject for a while... I live in northern MA, and my barn turns out until the temperature drops to about 15˚F. Would an unclipped Belgian-QH cross (she grows a heavy winter coat) be sustainable to be turned out unblanketed in the winter? Or if she is to be blanketed, any suggestions anyone has on type, fill, or tips on blanketing vs. not, they would be greatly appreciated!

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post #2 of 12 Old 04-10-2015, 10:10 PM
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As long as their winter coat grew in properly (not a warm weather horse that was suddenly moved to a cold weather climate) most drafts do not require blanketing whatsoever.

That doesn't stop some people from doing it anyways, but at every facility / farm I've ever been to over my many years around horses nobody ever blanketed their drafts.

All the drafts at our current barn spend the entire winter unblanketed and outdoors...where they want to be. Put them in a stall and they lose their minds. We routinely get below -20C (-4F) and -30C (-22F) on occasion. They do just fine. A proper windbreak/shelter/run-in is considered essential by most people however and is a big part of their ability to just stay out.
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post #3 of 12 Old 04-10-2015, 11:08 PM
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I blanket my draft horse, yes I let him get a coat but I feel that if he is going to do well a blanket is going to help keep him healthy. ( just how I think )

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post #4 of 12 Old 04-11-2015, 10:35 AM
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I'm in the white mountains of NH and I don't blanket any of mine. I don't limit turnout. They have a large run in and come and go as they please all winter.
They actually use the barn more in the warm weather to escape the heat and bugs.
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post #5 of 12 Old 04-11-2015, 12:42 PM
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If he's unclipped he'd probably be fine - but horses seem to differ so much so until you see how he copes there's no way to really know. Its the rain that drags them down because the coat gets flattened and can't 'fluff' up to insulate them but we don't get that much rain in the winter here.
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post #6 of 12 Old 04-11-2015, 12:57 PM
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and access to free choice hay, all day. hay in the belly keeps the horse warm.
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post #7 of 12 Old 04-11-2015, 01:00 PM
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I'm in southern NH (30 min north of Greenfield, MA) and I blanket my Morgan mare in 30* or below. Turnout is never limited where we board-they go out when it gets down to 0*, just get extra hay. There are a couple of draft crosses where I board. One is a young gypsy vanner gelding, he may get a blanket on when it's below 0*. The other is a 20 year old Percheron cross mare and she is blanketed around 30*. I agree with folks who say it really depends on the horse and what makes them comfortable while still holding good winter weight.
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post #8 of 12 Old 04-11-2015, 02:00 PM
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Blanketing screws up how a horse regulates it's core temperature. Mine grow a good thick coat and have survived -40* because they have access to all the hay they need. I did buy one a good rain sheet, too late for last winter. Winter arrived with nasty cold wind with rain/snow. One horse's coat wasn't fully grown in so he shivered for two days. This year I was prepared and none of that weather arrived. 15* and no more turnout. That's when the horse is most comfortable with turnout as they can deal with cold much better than heat. Think of it this way, if you had a nice full length mink coat, would you wrap a thick quilt around it?



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post #9 of 12 Old 04-11-2015, 02:05 PM
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If she grows a winter coat heavy enough to be outdoors.
If she has protection from the wind, snow, rain...."shelter" of trees or shed/run-in
If she is able to maintain her body condition..
If she doesn't mind the cold temperatures...
If, if and more ifs....

Like others have said...each horse is a individual and should be treated and maintained as such.
What works and is comfortable for one may not work for another...
I would rather have on hand a blanket and waterproof sheet for "just in case", planning on using and be pleasantly surprised and not need them than need and not have.

Your horse is also a cross of quarter and Belgium so the coat that some drafts grow may also not appear on yours quite the same...
It is all in their genes...


If you know how heavy the winter coat is then you can make some pretty good educated guesses on how warm a blanket you will need to keep the horse comfortable. To much warmth factor and they sweat...
To little warmth factor and they will actually be cold...
You might also be looking to ride during the winter and must be prepared for a sweaty horse to be cooled and not get a draft on them during the process...much to think about.
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post #10 of 12 Old 04-11-2015, 02:25 PM
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I live in New England and my horse for a run in shed hay or grass 24/7 with no blankets and there fine.
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