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post #1 of 20 Old 11-03-2016, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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Blankets

Hello, I live in Central Florida and I realize that it doesn't get cold enough to warrant a full heavy blanket for my horse. What do the rest of you in a similar climate use? Any hard and fast rules I should know about? I had gotten her a fleece blanket for when it goes below 40*F. Should I get anything heavier? Right now it's way to hot for anything but late January can get to freezing some years.
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post #2 of 20 Old 11-03-2016, 12:45 PM
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I'm from Southern California. Likely somewhat similar climates.

Most important question is, is your mare clipped? If not, I wouldn't blanket at all. Horses have a winter coat that's designed to withstand subzero temperatures, so just below 40 degrees (or even freezing) is practically nothing to them. I wouldn't use the fleece blanket, not sure which one it is, but it could flatten down her winter coat and make her colder by wearing it than if she wasn't because she can't thermoregulate.

I do have blankets for my horses, but rarely use them. My retired mare gets a blanket only when it rains for more than a day because my two have open shelters (just a roof) that aren't too large so she usually walks outside in the rain. One day is fine, since they can dry up quickly the next day, but for prolonged periods of rain, i blanket. If the temperature drops to freezing, I might (but a slim might) blanket, especially now that she has DSLD and moving around can be difficult for her. My gelding gets blanketed once I do a full body clip, as it can get warm here during the day and he is my riding horse. I wouldn't use more than a mid weight for him (200 gram) and would prefer less, but 100 gram blankets can be rare.

Right now, neither of my two wear a blanket. I still need to clip the gelding (gotta find the time). Last year since I wasn't riding, I left them both natural and very fuzzy (and we didn't get much rain that lasted more than 24 hours anyway)

If you have an unclipped horse, you're better off feeding extra hay on those "colder" nights instead of messing with blankets.
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post #3 of 20 Old 11-03-2016, 01:43 PM
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HI Glory....

I'm also in Central Florida.
When you have more than a 40 degree drop in temperature with that sharp north winter wind we usually get our southern horses may just not have enough coat to fluff up.
Daytime highs in the 80's are normal and nights can be in the 20-30 range is common for us.

So...my guys have wind protection from their barn they use.
I use turnout sheets/blankets so the wind is stopped and their butts are covered and no sheet flapping in the breeze.
On nights when it is forecast to hit out of normal range cold...
I DO blanket with a 180-220 gram fill turnout blanket, never heavier.
My guys are agitated when cold, yes they get cold, and settle down once they are covered
Honestly, when temps are forecast to hit low 40's with a wind the blanket goes on.
My guys do not grow a thick coat and this works for me in my situation.

You will get a thousand answers with no one right or wrong.
Know your animals, read their body language and do what is best for YOUR animals is my thinking.
I can tell you though that when up and out early in the morning you see many wearing sheets/blankets often so my thinking is shared by many I guess...

Do what your conscience tells you, makes your horses happiest and that will also make you happy.
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post #4 of 20 Old 11-03-2016, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horselovinguy View Post
[FONT=Arial]You will get a thousand answers with no one right or wrong.
Know your animals, read their body language and do what is best for YOUR animals is my thinking.
Yep, agree with this!

I blanket my unclipped horse (who does not grow a big winter coat) when the temp is forecasted to drop to a certain level or if at a certain level and the wind is forecasted to be a certain speed (increasing wind chill). She has shelter on most inclement weather days (sometimes, weather dependent, I leave her in the turn out area), but still when the temp drops as indicated above, it makes ME feel better to have her all wrapped up, LOL. Over the years that I've been blanketing, I can read the forecast pretty well and have not had any instances of overheated horses.

That said, as horselovinguy said, there is no right or wrong answer. You do what you feel is comfortable for your horse and yourself.
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post #5 of 20 Old 11-03-2016, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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She's not clipped but from what I'm reading a 180 - 220 blanket might be a good idea.

My goats get blankets when it gets cold just because it doesn't stay cold long enough for a coat to grow in and if I don't blanket, they are just cold.
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post #6 of 20 Old 11-03-2016, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GloryAnn View Post
Hello, I live in Central Florida and I realize that it doesn't get cold enough to warrant a full heavy blanket for my horse. What do the rest of you in a similar climate use? Any hard and fast rules I should know about? I had gotten her a fleece blanket for when it goes below 40*F. Should I get anything heavier? Right now it's way to hot for anything but late January can get to freezing some years.
Agree with the others --> just listen to your horse.

If they are not clipped and have a decent coat and appear fine when the temperature dips, they likely don't need a blanket at all. Most healthy horses are just fine.

You never want to over-blanket a horse (it can make them sweat and then get chilled). And of course, you don't want to under-blanket or you will defeat the purpose of blanketing. Proper blanketing is tough!

If you put your hand under the blanket, they should not feel warm or cold. They should feel neutral. Then you know you have the right blanket weight.

I don't live in Florida ... far from it. I live in North Dakota. I've had horses my entire life (I'm 30) and I've never once blanketed in the winter. Of course, my horses are not clipped. They have food and shelter and healthy bodies and they are just fine. Just listen to your horse!
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post #7 of 20 Old 11-03-2016, 03:46 PM
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It's such a broad issue! :) I agree with a previous poster that said, "Know your horse". I always know when mine are too cold, they get tight haunches, may shiver, and definitely fuss with one another!

I don't blanket or sheet mine 24/7, in fact, most of the time they are naked. I do protect against rapid (and/or wet!) drops in temperature by either leaving them in or putting a water proof sheet on if it's going to go from 72 to 37 with precipitation.

Yay for the weather channel! That being said, if you cannot keep a close eye things, no blanket is better. I have ripped blankets off of horses that don't belong to me at many a boarding barn when the owner couldn't be bothered to get out there and their heavily blanketed horse was sweating in 65 degree sunshine after the storm. : /
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post #8 of 20 Old 11-03-2016, 04:50 PM
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Horses in climates that aren't as winter cold but get a lot of rain do benefit from a good waterproof outdoor sheet for the days when its wet all day - apart from the protection from the wet that flattens the coat down so removes the 'fluffing up' ability it also helps protect against rain rot which thrives more in milder wet weather than it does in places where its much colder but drier
I would consider a stable blanket more for keeping an unclipped horse clean than keeping it warm where you are - so some sort of a sheet or a 100gm blanket would be most suitable
If you stable and use shavings fleece blankets can be a pain because they're like magnets for shavings to stick too - I only use them for travelling in cooler weather or to throw over a horse that I want to dry off
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post #9 of 20 Old 11-03-2016, 09:59 PM
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Agree that most times a healthy un clipped horse do not need a blanket, if he has a windbreak, and a shelter on rainy days
However, I do keep a sheet on my show horse, during the summer, just to keep dirt off,and do use a rain sheet on rainy days, on those hroses I ride regularly and who are dry lotted, even though they do have a shelter, just because they don't move like my horses in turn out, nor can they head for the woods
We can have huge temperature fluctuations in Alberta, esp in the winter, and in Chinook areas, where we live\Thus,we can have minus 25 C on one day, and if a chinook rolls in, have temps get to plus 10 C or more, the following day
I do blanket my IR horse, when those temps really drop, because of winter
laminitis
I allow the rest, unless they have special needs, am hauling them, ect, to just adjust, versus getting them dependant on blankets for temp regulation, then always wondering whether to take those blankets on or off, or change to a warmer one, ect
My horses,do though, all have wind breaks, woods as part of their pastures and run in shelters, with lots of room to move, and lots of forage to paw for, in between hay feedings. Thus, their needs are way different, then a horse in a turn out pen, no wind break, not much movement, plus perhaps used to being stalled at night
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post #10 of 20 Old 11-04-2016, 11:08 AM
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North Texas here, so we also get those periodic 20* nights mixed with 50-80* days! I have waterproof turnout sheets and 180g blanket liners on hand, but my goal is to not use them unless absolutely necessary - my horses are at home and it is still cold when I head to work at 6am, but no one is home to remove blankets as the temps rise! Overheating is usually worse than a little shivering.

My 21yr old Arab grows a thick coat and my coming 6yr old QH barely fuzzes up, but both were fine in their 3 sided shelter with extra hay this past mild winter. I can bring them inside if weather is seriously cold/wet/windy, but generally I think it's safer/healthier for them to not have to adjust from toasty barn to cold outside since again, I'm not home during the day to watch how they are handling the weather. I stop clipping legs, heads, and pulling the QH's mane in October.

When I boarded that same QH (stalled with daily turnout,) he grew zero coat in the well-insulated show barn, and he was never put outside without at least a turnout sheet or Schneider's Thinsulate turnout blanket, since his paddock had no wind breaks. We had a cold front come through 2 winters ago (temps stayed 15-25* for 1.5 weeks) and he required his 180g liner under the Thinsulate blanket, plus the sheet over top, and he couldn't tolerate turn out.

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