The Horse Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi I have a 10 yr old OTTB who is not clipped and does not wear a blanket for outdoor pasture board. There is a 3-sided run-in shelter in the pasture but he is at the bottom of the pecking order and I'm worried when it gets to be below -35 degrees celcius that he might not be let in the shelter. The pasture horses get free choice hay fed at two different spots so he can always eat while not being picked on. My instructor said he is at a perfect weight now a.k.a. wouldn't want him to get any fatter, so he's in a healthy condition and not skinny.

I am wondering if I will need to throw a blanket on him when/if we get a cold snap (can easily get to -40 degrees with windchill here in Edmonton, Alberta). If I should be throwing a blanket on, what weight of fill should it be (I don't want him to start sweating)? I'm assuming that I will need to get a 1200 denier count and make sure it's waterproof/windproof/ breathable. I read about insulated rainsheets, is this ideal?

Sorry, more of a back story on him, but last summer I boarded him somewhere else where he was not allowed in shelter and it was raining and he started shivering. Owner of place put a rainsheet on him and called him "thin skinned". I don't know if that info will help or not.

So, should I be prepared to blanket (need to know as I will have to buy one), what weight of blanket, and any brands or particular blankets that you guys like.

Thanks so much!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
998 Posts
If you start to rug him now he will need it on until the end of the winter. He sounds as if he is OK at the moment but should you see him start to lose weight then a rug will make him more comfortable.

If he were mine I'd be rugging him in a medium weight for the winter months. Being wet to the skin and cold winds are the worst for them to deal with. Straight cold weather is no problem
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,639 Posts
I didn't reply earlier as I'm only a newbie to this area, and so not yet an expert! I can only say what I am planning on based on what I have been told by locals and their previous owner.

Mine live out, with some trees and a small shelter at one end of their pasture. They are not rugged. I am feeding them hay to supplement the grass that they can still dig at. They certainly have enough weight and hair to keep themselves warm and I just need to make sure that when it gets colder they do have enough forage to generate the heat.

In your position I wouldn't be rugging because I think it can be counter productive on an unclipped horse by squashing the hair, and it is also a 'once you start you can't stop' thing.

I would want to see that there is always sufficient piles of hay for the lowest ranking horse to be continually eating if he needs, and that he can get to shelter on the rare occasions that it rains, or wet-snows.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,293 Posts
Also, if your shelter is situated so that he has access to three walls that will protect him from the wind and that is what most horses prefer. Most horses will stand bum to wall for wind protection. He coat is long enough that blanketing would cause him to overheat. Make sure there are more hay piles than horses.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
998 Posts
Unfortunately shropshirerosie at some point when the horse has become soaked to the skin and then a cold wind blows these are the times when most horses don't cope so well, especially those that doen't grow a really long coat. If you see the horse shivering then it is miserably cold, rapidly burning off condition and if you consider how you feel when so cold your teeth chatter they too can't be feeling so happy.

TB's are really not horses of the colder climates - the density of the coat is so fine that in winter their coats look like the summer coat of a native pony.

Even my Clydesdale is covered in the worst part of winter - these are the months of January February in the Northern Hemisphere as they are the coldest months of the year. While a rug may flatten the hair it does prevent the rain from soaking through and eliminates the wind chill factor.

TB's also tend to get Rain Scald in the winter when uncovered, my four year old did really rapidly when we had a spell of constant heavy rain.

Good quality hay is essential and shelter available - they often don't use it, prefering to stand in a hollow or beside a hedge.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
976 Posts
I personally think it depends on the horse. I have light blankets for my TB (whom doesnt get much of a winter coat PLUS im working her through winter) and i rug my pinto gelding as he got sick when the weather changed and stayed sick until i got him medicine and a blanket. When i start working my QH again i plan on getting her a blanket as well. However my mustang grows like a wooly mammoth and even though im working him even a light blanket gets him too hot. The only time he was ever blanketed was when it snowed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
-35 to -40 i deffinitly be blanketing my horse for that kind of weather. Some of the people blanket at my barn at only 5 degrees. Even if your horse has a winter coat, i think hed love a blankie. Especially with snow and wind. But if your horse has survived that weather with out a blanket, he she should be fine. Im not much of a blanketer but id deffinatly be blanketing at -5-10 an below for sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,433 Posts
Unfortunately shropshirerosie at some point when the horse has become soaked to the skin and then a cold wind blows these are the times when most horses don't cope so well, especially those that doen't grow a really long coat. If you see the horse shivering then it is miserably cold, rapidly burning off condition and if you consider how you feel when so cold your teeth chatter they too can't be feeling so happy.

TB's are really not horses of the colder climates - the density of the coat is so fine that in winter their coats look like the summer coat of a native pony.

Even my Clydesdale is covered in the worst part of winter - these are the months of January February in the Northern Hemisphere as they are the coldest months of the year. While a rug may flatten the hair it does prevent the rain from soaking through and eliminates the wind chill factor.

TB's also tend to get Rain Scald in the winter when uncovered, my four year old did really rapidly when we had a spell of constant heavy rain.

Good quality hay is essential and shelter available - they often don't use it, prefering to stand in a hollow or beside a hedge.
We don't get wet in the winter, the snow is dry and it is to darn cold to rain, so the circumstances here are very different.

Very often horses will do far better in this extreme dry cold than they will later on. Just keep an eye on him, if he has a windbreak and plenty of hay he will probably do fine.

But, I would have a waterproof and possibly an underblanket available for when the weather warms up, and when we have the spring storms, that is when they can get chilled so easily.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,176 Posts
I also have a 10 year old TB gelding unblanketed. Same situation, pasture board and run in shed. He is a little higher up in the pecking order than yours, but I wonder all the same things as you. Last week we had one day with a ton of rain. I found my horse standing out in the rain eating off the round bale. I got nervous about him being wet and threw a blanket on him for the first time this year. Next day, I rode him and he quickly overheated, so I'm going back to blanket-less. It's pretty obvious to me that he's far better at regulating his body temperature than I am.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
I prefer not to blanket my horses...my Arab is 27 years old and has a fantastic coat! I only blanket him if it's heavy wet snow combined with wind as he hates being in a shelter and can get chilled. Otherwise he stays unblanketed.

but...

My OTTB is another story. He is usually always blanketed in the winter. Even at -5. I too live in Canada (northern BC) and the winters can be rough on him. He doesn't get a very thick coat and is a hard keeper.

My friends TB is never blanketed!

It totally depends on your horse. Monitor him as the temperature drops. Like I said...I prefer not to blanket, but if they need it, well they need it! -35 is very cold and if there is a wind that could chill him if he can't get out of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,611 Posts
My horses have never been blanketed in the cold. In North Dakota, we can also get to -20 below with a -50 below windchill. Very cold. My horses have always had windbreak and plenty of free choice hay. Outside. And I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen one of them shiver over the last 20 years, which they were put inside in those cases. Most healthy horses are quite capable with dealing with cold. But every horse is different.

I actually just experienced a horse seminar last week which discussed a horse's calorie needs during cold winter months. When the temperature drops below 30 degrees F is when a horse needs to start tapping into some extra calorie energy to stay warm. Therefore the horse needs to 1) eat more calories 2) be blanketed. Horses naturally have some 16 different "heating levels" just based upon how "puffed up" their hair coat is, which allows air to be trapped around the hair, warming the horse. You'll notice on colder days the horses look fuzzier. On warmer days, they look less so. That's their hair naturally standing on end, or laying flat to adjust to the right amount of warmth.

ALL horses need windbreak. Wind is the one thing there hair coats can't defend against. Wetness is also a factor that they have a hard time staying warm with, because it smashes the hairs down. If their is wind or rain, horses need more calories to stay warm. You may heed to supplement grain to reach to calorie needs.

If you are going to blanket, DO IT RIGHT. If you're horse is only a "little bit cold", you cannot just throw a little lightweight liner sheet on the horse to at "a little more warmth". But adding any blanket, you just squashed down all their hair -- their only warmth mechanism. So if you choose to blanket your horse, you've got to committ to it, and be ready to change blankets when the temperature changes around the clock, and to have a heavy enough blanket, and possibly a neck hood, when the horse needs it.

Have a blanket ready, but why don't you just watch him when the temperature gets cold? If he is shivering or seems to be dropping weight (make sure you FEEL your horses every day as their puffy hair coat can hide lost weight), then you'll need to start blanketing him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
447 Posts
I also agree that it totally depends on the horse. If they aren't shivering then it may be best to leave them be unless you know they tend to drop weight over the winter (as with my 31 year old). What I don't like is the wetness. I keep a waterproof sheet on her if it's raining/sleeting even if it's not extremely cold to keep her dry. She also gets a neck cover if it's snowing heavy, windy or extremely cold. I agree with some of the others that when they get wet all bets are off.

But, I'm a worry wort about her since she's old and drops weight a lot.

My minis, on the other hand, only start to shiver when it's incredibly cold. I think I saw them shiver a total of 5 days the winter before and no days last winter. No point in putting a rug on though, they take them off within 5 minutes. lol.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top