Originally Posted by its lbs not miles View Post
If I send a small child out in the cold, bundled to the level I think is appropriate, but it turns out not to be, that child has two options that it can exercise (heaven knows I did and so did my children). They can remove some of the bundle if it's too much or they can come in and say "dad, I'm cold" or "I'm too hot". The poor horse, being dumb animal (dumb actually means unable to speak for those who only think it's slang for someone who's stupid) and without opposing thumbs :) cannot make use of either of those options.
When your children were too small to talk and definitely too small to remove their own outerwear, did you just keep them inside??
I am an early childhood teacher and a portion of my job IS dressing 16 kids, ages 2.5 and under, for the weather outside. At least 2/3rds of those children, at any given time, are too young to dress themselves and/or effectively communicate if they are too hot or too cold. They can cry to let me know that they are uncomfortable, but that's usually the extent of the communication they are capable of - in regards to clothing.
It's up to me to look at what I want to wear going outside, the temperature out there, the wind/rain/etc, and dress the children with that in mind. As I get to know each child, I learn which kids run hotter than I do and which run colder - some kids need more clothes and others need less. Some absolutely always need gloves, others really don't.
It's literally exactly the same with blanketing horses.
Some horses get cold easily, others don't, and, if you're paying attention, it's not hard to learn a particular horse's blanketing needs.
Blanketing should never be a one-size-fits-all thing.
For instance, my gelding has a tying-up disorder which renders him particularly prone to tying-up when he is cold. It's a common occurrence in muscle myopathy horses - muscles clench when they are cold, and a horse with a tying-up issue has a hard time unclenching his/her muscles.
He'd be fine if I didn't blanket him, in the sense that he wouldn't probably keel over dead, but he would be in an incredible amount of pain. Unblanketed in the winter [with a suitable shelter, etc], he loses a massive amount of weight, despite free-feeding on high quality hay
I never wanted to blanket my gelding, but I had to make the choice between keeping him warm and healthy, vs letting him live naturally and in extreme pain.
I keep a very close eye on my gelding, his muscle tone, and his blankets. I know which blankets for which temperatures, and I blanket accordingly. I know his signs when he is too warm or too cold, and I listen to him when he tells me what he needs.
One size does not fit all.
Blanketing is certainly something that shouldn't be taken lightly, it drives me nuts when I see a thin sheet thrown on a horse with a well-fluffed coat because the weather has turned cold. You have to
replace the lost hair-fluff with blanket fill, at the very very least. You can't just throw any blanket on any horse and assume that he/she must be feeling better because he/she has a blanket on, the blanket MUST be appropriate for the weather.
But, in the proper hands, blanketing can do an incredible amount of good, especially for elderly and special needs horses.