Blankets - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-17-2017, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
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Blankets

Hi, I am a newbie and will be buying blankets for Dallas for his first winter with me. We live on Long Island where at times it can be pretty dang cold... or not! ( at least not for long we pray!)

Dallas is a 15.3hh QH gelding.


How many blankets do I need? Light, medium, heavy? All?



At what temp should which weight of blanket go on him?
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-17-2017, 11:29 AM
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Does he even need to be blanketed? If he's living in turnout and/or an unheated barn, most horses do just fine without blankets. If he is boarded, does the barn owner agree to put blankets on and off as needed? If not, you'll have to do it, and be aware that as the temperature changes, you may need three different blankets in a day... A blanketed horse is a lot of work and time, so if you don't have to blanket, don't. An improperly-blanketed horse is worse off than one without blankets at all.

That doesn't mean you may not want a nice blanket or turnout rug 'just in case' a horse is ill or injured and needs some extra warmth for a few days, but if he's going to be blanketed all winter, make sure you have a system in place to be sure he isn't getting too warm and sweating under the blanket which will take all insulating properties out of the coat and the blanket and lead to a chilled horse, or if the temperature goes from sunny and 40 degrees at noon to windy and -10 by 6:00 that someone is there to blanket appropriately. Blankets are expensive, often need repair, you need spares in case a horse damages one, and you really need to be on the ball and available to change the blankets or remove them as needed.

If a horse is healthy and has a normal coat, he is fine outdoors in all weather as long as he has access to some shelter if needed, and a windbreak. My horses live out year-round in temps from 110F to -40 with no issues. I have a blanket to use if trailering a sweaty horse home from a roping or arena ride, but otherwise no one is ever blanketed and they do great. My two turnout blankets have been in a trunk in my trailer for six years and never used.
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post #3 of 11 Old 10-17-2017, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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He is in an in/out paddock of his own. And yes, it would be the barn manager having to deal with the on and off. So I guess unless it gets really cold, one of those cold spells, I don't have to worry about it. I will see what she does for the others.

thanks!
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-17-2017, 11:41 AM
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I agree. If there isn't a need then don't become a slave to the blanket. Cold isn't a need. Combined with other factors (age, illness, show coat) it could become one but horses that aren't clipped and their coats are allowed to come in based on local weather conditions will do just fine. Make sure there is a wind break or shelter, fresh water and hay available. He'll be just fine.

Cross post. I still wouldn't take the chance or insist on it as you open yourself up to the what ifs. I'd rather know there is a wind break/shelter and hay available at all times than worry if the rug is being taken off. I see far too many (and have seen even when I lived up north) left on when temps rise and you end up with a horse that is far worse off than if he would have been left without.
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-17-2017, 11:48 AM
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A horse with a normal coat is nearly impervious to even the most frigid conditions. You won't need a blanket because of cold.

The old grooms used to use the adage that a horse could be wet on his back (rain or snow) or on his belly (hard work in the mud) without a care, but if he was wet on the back AND the belly, then he might need a blanket for a bit to take the chill off. Cold won't hurt a horse. Wetness can, but only if he's in hard work and then taking a chill. Turned out with access to shelter and a diet with plenty of hay, he'll be fine. Mine have access to shelter, a windbreak, and lots of trees and I'll still see them out in the wind-driven sleet and rain, grazing with their rears to the wind and happy as clams. They also seem to prefer being outside out of the wind than inside in shelter with more warmth even during blizzards. I'll see them out in the south side of the barn rather than in it.
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-17-2017, 12:22 PM
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When I had my QH the only time I had to blanket him was when it was rain/snow mix and windy, or when he was clipped. QHs generally will be just fine, this is the weather they have been bred to withstand as ranching horses.

If he's in good weight, grows a half decent coat, isn't in hard work, has access to adequate food and shelter, help probably be fine without.

Blankets are a hassle, especially if the barn staff isn't willing to switch blankets and you work most of the day.
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post #7 of 11 Old 10-17-2017, 12:40 PM
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also make sure you check with the barn.. Our barn had a dollar a time fee for blanketing/ unblanketing.. so each day could cost you $2 extra. My horse prefers outside and gets a coat like a mammoth.. unless its below zero then he goes into the barn.. I don't even have a blanket for him, with his leanto and coat he has been fine every winter, if I know its going to be super wet and crappy, bring him in

Make it idiot proof and someone will make a better idiot.
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post #8 of 11 Old 10-17-2017, 01:17 PM
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Unless you are planning to ride and exercise often this winter....then not only will you need to blanket well you will also need a cooler to help whisk the sweat off and the coat to dry to the skin level.
Blanketing will help reduce some hair thickness grown, but you must have a assortment of different weights and availability of someone dedicated to switch blankets as the weather dictates.
Long Island "cold" is not like a cold in many other locations because it is a damp and wet cold...
Surrounded by water, I too lived their and understand what it is you face for the horses comfort.
So, if a "in & out stall" your horse should have the ability to get out of the weather...if he uses it.
I would purchase a turnout sheet, that will help keep him drier from inclement weather that comes in fast and leave them soaked to the skin with a cruel north wind which chills them bad.
Protection from the wet and invading damp cold, the blustery winds that cut but the horse will use his own mammoth coat of winter woolies to stay warm.
If your horse is not heavy coated, does not grow a warm thick coat then yes, you probably should offer some better form of warmth for him.
I would not go to "heavyweight blanket warmth, but I would go light-medium weight. 180-250 grams of warmth.
The secret to keeping warm is staying dry and layers for humans, it is no different for animals either.
If the horse is not body clipped and allowed to grow his winter woolies naturally, {they are only really started} days of cold but dry he probably can go out in the sun "naked"...
Days of overcast damp drizzle, he needs that sheet to keep him dry...
Days of wind chills and low teens to single digit he needs that blanket.
When you get to low single numbers, sub-zero with wind chill he needs blanket layered with that sheet and shortened turnout time...
Normal temps are one thing and your horse grows his coat and protection for that...when you differentiate a lot from "normal" either in temps, winds, wet...then step in and give the added protection the horse needs.

To me it isn't that your horse can't survive without blankets...
But why make him work harder to stay warm by burning calories he needs to stay a good consistent weight...
Shivering horses are not happy horses, they are cold and miserable.
That is why horses that are "stabled" put out in a t/o and then left out during incoming inclement weather stand at the gate begging to get inside...they're miserable, cold and wet!
Knowing the hay situation you probably have, I know there are few places that have round bales on the island if any...those who say "feed extra hay" also don't realize that the island is not like that in "endless" hay fed...not happening.
Your horse is fed a set daily allotment of hay and that is it...it is not a endless supply.

When my horses were kept on the island and I lived their...
I used turnout blankets for outdoors. Turnout style kept them dry and provided a wind break from the biting winds.
I had a fitted cooler, turnout sheet and a medium gram weight blanket...if needed that allowed me to use any combination of layering to give enough protection against the cold winter.
I had actually 2 coolers so if as I was cooling down and it got damp I could switch it to a dry one especially as I went back to the barn and not be drafty on the back and loins. I also did not use acrylic coolers as they get cold, clammy and damp in a hurry defeating the purpose...you know that feeling and how chilled you get stuck in that clothing...no different for our hooved friends.
As my inventory of blankets increased, I added stable blankets and sheets.
These were great but only for inside use as "0" protection from wet do they give.
It can be a sunny beautiful day but if the ground is wet & muddy from snow-melt and the horse rolls...he is now wet to the skin...
Only use turnout style blankets for outdoors...these though can also be used for indoor protection gladly.

Just some differing ideas from one who lived and had their horses their, weathering years of the 4-seasons.
Enjoy the upcoming winter beauty only found astride riding in snow softly falling....
....
jmo...
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The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #9 of 11 Old 10-17-2017, 01:39 PM
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I'm not going to enter the "Blanket or Don't" debate, but I'll tell you that my horses tell me real quick when it's time for a blanket. I live in an area where the temps are really inconsistent, so one day it could be 80 and then drop down to a - 10 Windchill overnight. They never get acclimated when you have that kind of weather going on. Through observation, especially a couple of the 'opinionated' mares, they let you know.

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post #10 of 11 Old 10-17-2017, 01:44 PM
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I found these for you to help answer some questions on weights = warmth factor.
All offer a little different in information shared...each a good reference.
All of these places below are excellent places to purchase from and stand behind their products...all of them sold.

https://www.horse.com/content/blanke...ket-do-i-need/
https://shop.doversaddlery.com/about...-page-1/a/437/
http://blog.smartpakequine.com/wp-co...5/10/Chart.jpg
https://www.sstack.com/horse-blankets-and-sheets/
...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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