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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
*I italisized my questions for ease of finding them!

I am fairly new to blanketing my horse, and where I lived previously, it was pretty cut-and-dry with what he needed. I originally started blanketing him because he is in his low 20's, and struggles with his weight, although he does grow a crazy winter coat. But in the UP of Michigan, the winters could get nasty, and I didn't want him ever using up his spare calories shivering. I had two blankets available to him at all times, a midweight (220gm, for between 15-40F) and a heavyweight (380gm, for 15F and below). I also have a rain sheet available, but only really ever used it for horse show mornings.

So, the blankets I have are:
- Rain sheet
- 1 Midweight blanket
- 2 Heavyweight blankets

I attached a picture of his current condition - this is his "normal" weight, his ribs show just a little. I am currently in between adding a fat supplement (Buckeye Ultimate Finish, see previous threads for specific feeding), or switching him to being stalled at night so he can have access to alfalfa. Please give me your opinion this as well!

Now that we have moved to the LP of Michigan, I am out of my element of how to handle blanketing. The weather currently during the day is in the high 50's to mid 60's, but at night it dips into the low 40's. I would ideally like him to be blanketed at night right now, but my barn does not offer blanketing at all, and I don't blame them! I don't live close enough to realistically drive back and forth daily. My midweight blanket is too warm to be left on during the day to cover him at night, and I don't own a blanket light enough to stay on during the day. I don't want to risk using just the sheet, in case it hurts his ability to keep himself warm.

The blankets I use offer a lightweight option (80 gm) that I am open to purchasing - would that be better for him to wear until it gets consistently cold enough for his heavier blankets? Or should he stay naked?

And then this is all further complicated with having access to an indoor arena - this is my first time ever actually being able to ride during the winter months and make real progress! But, I have very little experience with sweat and freezing weather. Tentatively, I figure both of my horses will end up with a partial clip to help with the sweat, but from what I understand both would have to be blanketed then?

I've also begun looking into coolers, that I remember being commonly used at the training barn I worked at. Is it worth the investment to get a cooler? Do they actually promote drying moreso than just patiently waiting? There is a wicked deal on a Dura-tech one right now, and I am wondering if I should get it now just in case. I know I would use it in the future at shows, but will it help now?

Thank you all, as always!
 

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You’re in a really difficult situation because your horse really doesn’t look as if he can afford to burn up any calories just to keep warm.
Ideally, he needs to have blankets changed but that doesn’t sound possible.

Being overheated isn’t good for a horse - they cope with much hotter temperatures in the summer but there’s no point creating that condition.

If you can’t remove a blanket in the morning I think I’d opt for night time stabling and leave him naked until the days are cold enough to warrant blanketing 24/7
 

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My feelings are if he's stalled at night you might be able to get away with the lightweight blanket or none at all depending on his hair length and condition. If you leave him out then he could benefit from the lightweight blanket till it gets colder. How sunny is it getting? That might also determine if you can leave the blanket on in the day time.

I think it's absolutely worth getting a cooler, especially since you can get them for as little as $20! It seems to keep my horse much more comfortable when I've needed to give him a bath when it's cold out, and he did dry faster than he would otherwise in the same weather conditions. Another option is something like a quarter sheet to help cool down after a ride. I'd go for the cooler first.

Also, just a disclaimer, it gets cold here, into the 20s at night since were right by the creek but we don't get weather like you do in MI.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You’re in a really difficult situation because your horse really doesn’t look as if he can afford to burn up any calories just to keep warm.
Ideally, he needs to have blankets changed but that doesn’t sound possible.

Being overheated isn’t good for a horse - they cope with much hotter temperatures in the summer but there’s no point creating that condition.

If you can’t remove a blanket in the morning I think I’d opt for night time stabling and leave him naked until the days are cold enough to warrant blanketing 24/7

I just messaged my BO to transition him to being stalled - I think it is the right call, and I think I've known since it's started getting colder. The biggest reason I was considering a stall was because he is kept with my easy-keep Morgan, so free choice hay is out of the question for her. Now that he is hopefully going to get stalled, he will be fed the super high-quality hay and I hope that he becomes chunky.

With stalling, something I haven't done for 5+ years either, will he be okay in a blanket at night once the temperatures drop outside? I figure we will be using the midweight blanket for the majority of the year if the LP of Michigan continues having wimpy winters. I'm not sure how warm the barn gets at night, and I'm not totally sure which doors they close/don't close.
 

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When stalled I just used the "one down" blanket option compared to what I'd use outside. So if I would use a lightweight outside I'd use a fleece stabled. Medium-out = light in. But also depends on stable if its damp and gets a lot of wind. Or inside or connected to a bunch of other stables. If blanketing "up" a weight then I'd consider sun position and the weather for next morning/day. I don't like much they can't move around to warm up and ease joints so sometimes for the old boys I saw at first yard I agreed with them being warmer. I much prefer this routine coz working out blanketing when clipped but 24/7 out while fairly warm AND wet but freezing at night.. it's driving me nuts :p

last note: I love stable rugs. In winter I'd go and snuggle underneath them with her. Always a bit cleaner than the turnouts ofc... any excuse for more rugs :< good luck!
 

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I would stall and give the horse a fat supplement like the Buckeye Ultimate Finish, Purina Amplify or Nutrena Empower Boost to get faster weight on the horse with the addition of the now fed alfalfa hay.
It's getting colder and that in turn means automatically the horse starts to burn more calories staying warm.
Your horse is older and has a history of weight gain & maintaining it issue and right now, he is thinner than many realize because he is already fluffy looking on the way to looking a bear in fur coat.
But he is thin... he needs more weight now to get him most comfortable for the winter miseries fast approaching.

You say you have blankets...but are they waterproof or stable blankets? Or both??
Turnout style is your rain sheet, but your blankets are??

On the now covering issue...
I would invest in a stable sheet now he will be stalled at night.
They come in different weights with thread count and by manufacturer some are a thicker blanket/sheet than others.
Night air in a barn with individual stalls can get damp from all the horse breath although it is warm...weird but he needs some protection and warmth given.

Rain sheets or t/o sheets are great outdoors but they are not as warm as a stable sheet/blanket to me indoors.
You can layer that stable sheet under any blanket for added warmth layer of air trapped between layers too..
I often place a stable sheet under my horses turnout sheets when to warm for their blankets but they need something more than their t/o sheet offers in warmth factor.

So...coolers...
Yes, they do make a difference in cool-down and drying time of a hairy coated horse in winter sweat from exercise.
You mention Dura-Tech which to me is a polar fleece product.... :|
I use wool and know about them and my experience with fleece of any kind is they get wet and soggy from sweat and stayed that way sometimes for days they did not dry in the barn.
They are gross to handle when wet/damp and I see "0" advantage to them cause they don't whisk away the wet and allow the horse to breathe and cool down their body very well...
Maybe today's materials are better but what was in the past was just not in the horses best interest to being warm and having drying time accelerated..
Why would you make a animal wear a wet blanket to get chilled in that does not whisk away and aid in return to normal body temperatures nor steal the wet as it allows drying, promotes drying to occur.
I went to sstack to look at their cooler offerings...yup,...nope.
Nothing in their blurbs yanked me to run out and buy a cooler of this material...nothing. :frown_color:

Are you actually going to invest in a cooler that goes from ear to tail with the neck covering and belly band or just a fitted cooler? Or are you doing the big square cooler? Many options and all are pretty costly..
I use https://www.doversaddlery.com/centaur-wool-dress-cooler/p/X1-240249/ or similar.
Dover at one time had their own line of wool coolers that this has now taken the place of...nice selection of color choices, with contrasting binding and piping to make them pop on a horse in appearance..
And they worked great at their job designed for...


These worked great for the show with not being so heavy the horse stands and sweats under it, but is warm and comfortable. After a ride they are full sized and buckle in front, a surcingle for the belly and a braided tail cord along with hip dart and embellishments of far more expensive coolers.
I do have a Triple Crown custom cooler, far heavier wool that often was just to heavy honestly.
Its like buying a wool coat, there is a wool coat and then there is a wool coat in warmth factor.
I was in single digits to teen temperatures often not sub-zero, always though at a show venue there is open space and breezes if not windy conditions.

I often tossed a wool cooler on my horses going to a show for the trailer ride not their heavy winter blankets...they arrived warm and dry, not over heated and damp when you pulled blankets to tack and ride for warm-ups.
So, my experience is with wool as when I was buying my equipment you had wool or fleece and fleece including at that time polar fleece was junk to me...not sure what is so special about Dura-Tech Polar fleece...it sure is expensive though. :|

Wool is a animal fiber known to breathe and offer incredible drying properties and warmth...
You want real warmth, place wool on the horse then top it with a rain sheet and your horse will be as warm as if he had a blanket on...it breathes yet allows moisture to dissipate and keep dry.
Ever use wool socks layered to keep your feet warm...then think how comfy your toes are with no batteries operated socks and the fact you don't sweat in your shoes either...amazing.

So, a stable sheet I found that was warmer than many because of the weight and weave of the fabric, had shielded shoulders to reduce rubs, ample drop to cover a larger barreled horse and a nice tail cord or leg straps... https://www.doversaddlery.com/wb-cotton-stable-sheet/p/X1-240571/ .
No vast color choices, either navy/red or dark green/navy I've seen.


But now that you decided to bring him in at night he still needs protection from drafts... a stable sheet.
Blankets and ability to layer them for when he goes outdoors in any kind of weather would be turnout- style blankets so he not get wet if a sudden weather change happen.
A fitted wool cooler is what I would purchase...never a big square one that can and will billow in winds gentle or strong that will allow his body to get chilled.
But doing at least a stable sheet will give you layering possibilities under any combination to get the warmth factor the horse needs to remain comfortable but not overheated...
Turnout style for outdoor weather and wind protection.
Stable sheet for now at night and allowing you to layer..
Cooler, or yes so the horse cools and dries faster and most importantly not chill the kidney's, slowly cool the muscles and inner body temperatures to resting rates is important for any horse, but a aging friend, vitally so.
:runninghorse2:...
jmo...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would stall and give the horse a fat supplement like the Buckeye Ultimate Finish, Purina Amplify or Nutrena Empower Boost to get faster weight on the horse with the addition of the now fed alfalfa hay.
It's getting colder and that in turn means automatically the horse starts to burn more calories staying warm.
Your horse is older and has a history of weight gain & maintaining it issue and right now, he is thinner than many realize because he is already fluffy looking on the way to looking a bear in fur coat.
But he is thin... he needs more weight now to get him most comfortable for the winter miseries fast approaching.

You say you have blankets...but are they waterproof or stable blankets? Or both??
Turnout style is your rain sheet, but your blankets are??
His senior feed is being increased tonight, along with being stalled with hay...I'm thinking we will go from there. I won't lie, I'm on a limited budget moving him to being stalled, that's more $$$ per month. If the senior feed + hay will do it, I'd rather start there before spending more to get Buckeye Ultimate Finish here again (no where local sells it, or the other products!).

As for the blanket type (I'm not up-to-speed with the lingo!), they are all waterproof turnout blankets by StormShield. I've used them for 1-2 years depending on the blanket, and not once has rain, sleet, or snow gotten him wet underneath.

On the now covering issue...
I would invest in a stable sheet now he will be stalled at night.
They come in different weights with thread count and by manufacturer some are a thicker blanket/sheet than others.
Night air in a barn with individual stalls can get damp from all the horse breath although it is warm...weird but he needs some protection and warmth given.

Rain sheets or t/o sheets are great outdoors but they are not as warm as a stable sheet/blanket to me indoors.
You can layer that stable sheet under any blanket for added warmth layer of air trapped between layers too..
I often place a stable sheet under my horses turnout sheets when to warm for their blankets but they need something more than their t/o sheet offers in warmth factor.
The issue with having something specific for when he is inside versus when he is out, is the barn will not do blanket changes, even for a fee. If I lived much closer, I would be willing to drive and do them, but it's unrealistic living 30 minutes away.

I'm also pretty unsure of how the winter goes in this part of the state, being the middle. I lived in the UP before, and along the coast of the lake...both areas getting lake-effect blasting snow storms. In the past couple of years, it barely snowed at my parents' house on the lake, and it really didn't snow much anywhere on the lower half of the state, nor get very cold.

Going off of Google and the average temperatures, the high/lows for November through March are 47F/15F in my city. That's way warmer compared to the UP, and chances are that he won't be belly deep in snow all winter either.

So...coolers...
Yes, they do make a difference in cool-down and drying time of a hairy coated horse in winter sweat from exercise.
You mention Dura-Tech which to me is a polar fleece product.... :|
I use wool and know about them and my experience with fleece of any kind is they get wet and soggy from sweat and stayed that way sometimes for days they did not dry in the barn.
They are gross to handle when wet/damp and I see "0" advantage to them cause they don't whisk away the wet and allow the horse to breathe and cool down their body very well...
Maybe today's materials are better but what was in the past was just not in the horses best interest to being warm and having drying time accelerated..
Why would you make a animal wear a wet blanket to get chilled in that does not whisk away and aid in return to normal body temperatures nor steal the wet as it allows drying, promotes drying to occur.
I went to sstack to look at their cooler offerings...yup,...nope.
Nothing in their blurbs yanked me to run out and buy a cooler of this material...nothing. :frown_color:

Are you actually going to invest in a cooler that goes from ear to tail with the neck covering and belly band or just a fitted cooler? Or are you doing the big square cooler? Many options and all are pretty costly..
I use https://www.doversaddlery.com/centaur-wool-dress-cooler/p/X1-240249/ or similar.
Dover at one time had their own line of wool coolers that this has now taken the place of...nice selection of color choices, with contrasting binding and piping to make them pop on a horse in appearance..
And they worked great at their job designed for...


These worked great for the show with not being so heavy the horse stands and sweats under it, but is warm and comfortable. After a ride they are full sized and buckle in front, a surcingle for the belly and a braided tail cord along with hip dart and embellishments of far more expensive coolers.
I do have a Triple Crown custom cooler, far heavier wool that often was just to heavy honestly.
Its like buying a wool coat, there is a wool coat and then there is a wool coat in warmth factor.
I was in single digits to teen temperatures often not sub-zero, always though at a show venue there is open space and breezes if not windy conditions.

I often tossed a wool cooler on my horses going to a show for the trailer ride not their heavy winter blankets...they arrived warm and dry, not over heated and damp when you pulled blankets to tack and ride for warm-ups.
So, my experience is with wool as when I was buying my equipment you had wool or fleece and fleece including at that time polar fleece was junk to me...not sure what is so special about Dura-Tech Polar fleece...it sure is expensive though. :|

Wool is a animal fiber known to breathe and offer incredible drying properties and warmth...
You want real warmth, place wool on the horse then top it with a rain sheet and your horse will be as warm as if he had a blanket on...it breathes yet allows moisture to dissipate and keep dry.
Ever use wool socks layered to keep your feet warm...then think how comfy your toes are with no batteries operated socks and the fact you don't sweat in your shoes either...amazing.

So, a stable sheet I found that was warmer than many because of the weight and weave of the fabric, had shielded shoulders to reduce rubs, ample drop to cover a larger barreled horse and a nice tail cord or leg straps... https://www.doversaddlery.com/wb-cotton-stable-sheet/p/X1-240571/ .
No vast color choices, either navy/red or dark green/navy I've seen.


But now that you decided to bring him in at night he still needs protection from drafts... a stable sheet.
Blankets and ability to layer them for when he goes outdoors in any kind of weather would be turnout- style blankets so he not get wet if a sudden weather change happen.
A fitted wool cooler is what I would purchase...never a big square one that can and will billow in winds gentle or strong that will allow his body to get chilled.
But doing at least a stable sheet will give you layering possibilities under any combination to get the warmth factor the horse needs to remain comfortable but not overheated...
Turnout style for outdoor weather and wind protection.
Stable sheet for now at night and allowing you to layer..
Cooler, or yes so the horse cools and dries faster and most importantly not chill the kidney's, slowly cool the muscles and inner body temperatures to resting rates is important for any horse, but a aging friend, vitally so.
:runninghorse2:...
jmo...
I was specifically looking at this cooler, that is Polar Fleece: https://www.sstack.com/dura-tech-polar-fleece-duo-fit-cooler/p/17341/

Previously I had one of the big, square, wool trophy-class coolers that I received free at a tack sale. The barn I worked at would use a big blanket clip - the front of the cooler, underneath of the neck, would be twisted together and clipped - it would hold the cooler closed snuggly until the horse was done drying off. I do not have the budget unfortunately for a true wool cooler again...maybe I will shop the used market.

I can stretch my budget a bit for 'forever' things - at least things that will last many years, and am willing to buy quality. Plus, my gelding and mare wear approximately the same size in blankets and sheets, so I don't worry too much about not getting enough use.

This seems like it would fit the bill, at least being partially wool, because I agree, wool is incredible with it's moisture-wicking capabilities: https://www.sstack.com/dura-tech-contour-wool-blend-cooler/p/15644/
 

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In mn it's been high 40s or low 50s during the day. Night time is 28 to 32 last few nights.

During the day ice wears a turnout sheet no fill. Night either medium weight or his light weight blanket ,depending on how cold.

What you're horse wears while stalled at night depends on how warm barn is. If it 55 degrees in barn then a sheet would do. Barn I work at takes off blankets or sheets when horses are brought in. Barn is 60 degrees. They blanket an take off blankets if owners want that service.

If horses are to wear a blanket or sheet it's hung outside stall. If no blanket or sheet outside stall horse doesn't get blanketed. Whatever owner wants done with horse gets done. Of course there's a fee for the service.

My horses are at home, so I can easily change my horse blankets as needed.
 

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I lived in East Lansing for 5 years- I had no idea before moving there just how damp and dreary it would be, particularly in the winter. I imagined it would be like living in New England, but it wasn't. If I remember correctly, Lansing is second only to metro Seattle in terms of the highest number of cloudy days every year. Point being, they aren't going to get the benefit of warm, sunny winter days. Here in Vermont, there are plenty of mid-winter days where the temp might be around 20*F, but it's a day with brilliant bright sunshine and I strip off all the blankets and the horses take flat out naps in the snow because the sun feels so good on their bodies. It's now going on 10 years since I lived in East Lansing, and I know climate change is accelerating arrival of new weather patterns, but when I lived there we got mostly snow, not much freezing rain/ice. Once snow arrived around the holidays the ground stayed covered through March. The lakes don't really affect weather patterns there. I'm sure you'll have days in the fall and spring with cold, wet rain and sleet, but I don't remember that being such a problem during the actual winter. (I didn't have horses in MI so didn't have to think about any of this stuff while there...)

The barn not being able to change blankets is definitely an issue. Sometimes I might go through 2-3 blanket changes a day, which is admittedly a little excessive (my horses are home). When I boarded, I found the BO actually tended to over blanket, but I travelled a lot for work then so I couldn't do much about it. I'd often leave blankets off knowing I couldn't get out to take them off on a warmer day while I'd be away, and come back to find them bundled in blankets and neck covers.

Are you friendly with any other boarders/lesson students who can help you if you pay them?

I don't have hard-and-fast "rules" for blanketing, but generally for me:
-sleet/freezing rain when it's hovering between 30-40*F means I'll put blankets on all three
-light, moderate snow with no wind, 1 out of 3
-heavy snow with no wind, 2 out of 3
-heavy snow/nor'easter with high winds driving the snow, 3 out of 3
-sunny, dry winter days with snow on the ground, if it's above 20*F I'll probably have blankets off all three and put them back on overnight for 1 or 2, depending on the wind.

My oldest mare is 26. She gets miserable when wet so having a neck cover actually is a really important part of her blanket set, even if the temps require only a rain sheet. She's still right around a "5" on the body scale right now, but going to a hay-only diet combined with colder weather does affect her negatively so I have to pay attention to subtle changes in her body. With the grass negligible for more than "busy time" at this point in the year, her senior feed is going up by 1/2 cup per feeding per the vet looking at her condition last week. I'll also start adding soaked timothy/alfalfa cubes to her feed. She can go without a blanket on sunny, precipitation free days, but it won't be long before I start adding a sheet or lightweight blanket for her as temps become more consistently below freezing. She also is the only one that will wear a heavyweight during storms with high winds.

I don't know if any of that's helpful. It's just what I've learned by trial and error over the past couple of years.
 

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I am fairly new to blanketing my horse, and where I lived previously, it was pretty cut-and-dry with what he needed. I originally started blanketing him because he is in his low 20's, and struggles with his weight, although he does grow a crazy winter coat. But in the UP of Michigan, the winters could get nasty, and I didn't want him ever using up his spare calories shivering. I had two blankets available to him at all times, a midweight (220gm, for between 15-40F) and a heavyweight (380gm, for 15F and below). I also have a rain sheet available, but only really ever used it for horse show mornings.

So, the blankets I have are:
- Rain sheet
- 1 Midweight blanket
- 2 Heavyweight blankets

I am currently in between adding a fat supplement (Buckeye Ultimate Finish, see previous threads for specific feeding), or switching him to being stalled at night so he can have access to alfalfa. Please give me your opinion this as well!

Now that we have moved to the LP of Michigan, I am out of my element of how to handle blanketing. The weather currently during the day is in the high 50's to mid 60's, but at night it dips into the low 40's. I would ideally like him to be blanketed at night right now, but my barn does not offer blanketing at all, and I don't blame them! I don't live close enough to realistically drive back and forth daily. My midweight blanket is too warm to be left on during the day to cover him at night, and I don't own a blanket light enough to stay on during the day. I don't want to risk using just the sheet, in case it hurts his ability to keep himself warm.

The blankets I use offer a lightweight option (80 gm) that I am open to purchasing - would that be better for him to wear until it gets consistently cold enough for his heavier blankets? Or should he stay naked?

And then this is all further complicated with having access to an indoor arena - this is my first time ever actually being able to ride during the winter months and make real progress! But, I have very little experience with sweat and freezing weather. Tentatively, I figure both of my horses will end up with a partial clip to help with the sweat, but from what I understand both would have to be blanketed then?

I've also begun looking into coolers, that I remember being commonly used at the training barn I worked at. Is it worth the investment to get a cooler? Do they actually promote drying moreso than just patiently waiting? There is a wicked deal on a Dura-tech one right now, and I am wondering if I should get it now just in case. I know I would use it in the future at shows, but will it help now?

Thank you all, as always!
#1 Feed & Stabling: I would move him indoors (and see where that's what you're doing) AND I'd feed the Buckeye Ultimate Finish, or Amplify, whatever is easiest to get and gives the highest fat percentage and I'd have him fed alfalfa in addition to his regular hay. If he's looking that 'shark finny' at the withers and that ribby now, he's going to really be cold later, so I'd be pouring the weight on him now.

Kind of an aside since you didn't ask, the sheet will help cut wind which will help him stay warmer. It's a myth that blanketing stops them from being able to stay warm. I had an older mare (26) who would drop weight like crazy if I didn't put a sheet on her at 60F. 50 & below = lightweight, 40 & below = Medium and 30 & below = heavy. 15 & below she got a light plus a heavy and put in the barn. I could go up or down depending on how humid it was. Also, OK is notorious for being 80 one day and dropping down to zero the same night. I understand MI is nowhere near that crazy in fluctuations. Once it got 20 & lower, she came inside the barn and stayed until it warmed up a bit. Here in OK it doesn't normally stay very much below freezing for extended periods.

#2 "The blankets I use offer a lightweight option (80 gm) that I am open to purchasing - would that be better for him to wear until it gets consistently cold enough for his heavier blankets? Or should he stay naked?".

And for coolers, I like the Irish knit anti-sweat sheet. That thing will absorb more than its weight in moisture and will wash up like a dream. I find if it's not cotton or wool, it just isn't very absorbent. Hope this all helps.
 

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I just messaged my BO to transition him to being stalled - I think it is the right call, and I think I've known since it's started getting colder. The biggest reason I was considering a stall was because he is kept with my easy-keep Morgan, so free choice hay is out of the question for her. Now that he is hopefully going to get stalled, he will be fed the super high-quality hay and I hope that he becomes chunky.

With stalling, something I haven't done for 5+ years either, will he be okay in a blanket at night once the temperatures drop outside? I figure we will be using the midweight blanket for the majority of the year if the LP of Michigan continues having wimpy winters. I'm not sure how warm the barn gets at night, and I'm not totally sure which doors they close/don't close.
We use the 100gm fill outdoor blankets (Premier Equine, they ship to the US) for most of the winter.
I switch to the mid weight blankets when it gets really cold. I leave them on all the time other than when they get brushed over.

Shutting doors and windows makes a difference but unless the Barn’s heated, it doesn’t make that much difference once it’s goes well below freezing.
Our Barn’s insulated quite well but the water still freezes into a solid block pretty fast in minus stupid conditions!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
We use the 100gm fill outdoor blankets (Premier Equine, they ship to the US) for most of the winter.
I switch to the mid weight blankets when it gets really cold. I leave them on all the time other than when they get brushed over.

Shutting doors and windows makes a difference but unless the Barn’s heated, it doesn’t make that much difference once it’s goes well below freezing.
Our Barn’s insulated quite well but the water still freezes into a solid block pretty fast in minus stupid conditions!
I love my Premier Equine half-pad, so I'll have to look into them next time I need a blanket. Even shipping across the big pond, they were faster than pretty much any other popular equine store in the US. Currently I use the "Stormshield blankets with the belly guard", as they have held up incredibly well and go on crazy deals at the beginning/end of season.

Talking to my SO, we remember the large sliding doors being closed in February when we toured the barn - and I believe all of the stall windows to the outside are also closed as well. I remember it being cold though, so I don't think it is insulated well, and is definitely not heated. I think my horse would be okay wearing his outdoor blanket indoors when he is brought inside, but we will see once it starts getting colder.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
#1 Feed & Stabling: I would move him indoors (and see where that's what you're doing) AND I'd feed the Buckeye Ultimate Finish, or Amplify, whatever is easiest to get and gives the highest fat percentage and I'd have him fed alfalfa in addition to his regular hay. If he's looking that 'shark finny' at the withers and that ribby now, he's going to really be cold later, so I'd be pouring the weight on him now.

Kind of an aside since you didn't ask, the sheet will help cut wind which will help him stay warmer. It's a myth that blanketing stops them from being able to stay warm. I had an older mare (26) who would drop weight like crazy if I didn't put a sheet on her at 60F. 50 & below = lightweight, 40 & below = Medium and 30 & below = heavy. 15 & below she got a light plus a heavy and put in the barn. I could go up or down depending on how humid it was. Also, OK is notorious for being 80 one day and dropping down to zero the same night. I understand MI is nowhere near that crazy in fluctuations. Once it got 20 & lower, she came inside the barn and stayed until it warmed up a bit. Here in OK it doesn't normally stay very much below freezing for extended periods.

#2 "The blankets I use offer a lightweight option (80 gm) that I am open to purchasing - would that be better for him to wear until it gets consistently cold enough for his heavier blankets? Or should he stay naked?".

And for coolers, I like the Irish knit anti-sweat sheet. That thing will absorb more than its weight in moisture and will wash up like a dream. I find if it's not cotton or wool, it just isn't very absorbent. Hope this all helps.

I placed an order for Buckeye Ultimate Finish 40 - last year I used Buckeye Ultimate Finish 25. I figure it will be better if he is fed less volume of feed, as he is already getting Senior Feed + California Trace. I think the Ultimate Finish 25 would make his meals a bit too big, plus the results I've seen online from the Ultimate Finish 40 look great. I will be thrilled if he covers his ribs once and for all (he has shown ribs consistently for 5+ years), and I will be over the moon if he gets a little bit fat.

I think I am also going to stop riding him for the time being, and focus on slow, in-hand work, likely over poles. My SO also rides him once a week, so we will probably continue that as it is usually W/T only. I would switch him to riding my mare, but last time he rode her, she had her ears glued to her neck and was really upset about it - I don't think she is ready for a novice rider.


The one thing I don't understand about the blanket guide, which I have been staring at on SStack's website is the huge overlap between the lightweight and midweight blankets. The lightweight is for 30-50F+, but the medium weight is for 30-45F...I'm not sure if I'm sold on getting another blanket for the protection of 45F+, because I don't think I would use it at all if its above 50F, unless it's raining, and if it's raining and dreary, I think I would just use the midweight because it will be miserable windy too...

I guess this is all a trial-and-error, but I don't want to have another blanket that isn't used at all.
 

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The one thing I don't understand about the blanket guide, which I have been staring at on SStack's website is the huge overlap between the lightweight and midweight blankets. The lightweight is for 30-50F+, but the medium weight is for 30-45F...I'm not sure if I'm sold on getting another blanket for the protection of 45F+, because I don't think I would use it at all if its above 50F, unless it's raining, and if it's raining and dreary, I think I would just use the midweight because it will be miserable windy too...

I guess this is all a trial-and-error, but I don't want to have another blanket that isn't used at all.
There's a lot of trial and error to find what works for you. Depending on what you already have in stock you may or may not want to add another blanket. With my old girl who would drop a drastic amount of weight if she got cold, I did various combinations. Your horse is not as thin as she would get but he is thin enough that I would sheet him now and not remove it except for grooming. When she was as thin as he is, she burned up all her calories trying to stay warm at 55 F and below. Once I added a good windproof sheet, that helped her to not be cold and stopped the wind chill for her. I would combine a sheet + a light blanket or a sheet plus a midweight. It cut the wind, held the warmth in and then when it started getting really cold here (and the wind never stops, so always significant wind chill) I'd do light weight + medium or light + heavy when the windchill got down in the teens. Otherwise, she was stuck in the barn with no turnout. On the years when we'd go below 0F, plus windchill, she got a light + heavy and frequently was kept inside with lots of hay for her to eat. After I started playing with layers, she went into spring fatter than she was before winter set in. Bear in mind, down here we frequently have WILD temperature swings, 80F one day and below freezing the next or even colder, so none of mine grow much coat. Compared to horses I see from WI or MI or Canada, they look summer slick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I figured I would provide a quick update on Mr. Toofine - he has been being stalled for about a week now, which has come with it's challenges... He is herd-bound with my mare, Minnie, and when I was out on Saturday after he had been put in his stall, all he did was weave and pace, calling out to Minnie. I think I will give him to the end of the month to settle, maybe until the end of November, and if he doesn't, I figure stalling will be more detrimental than being out at night.

He is currently eating a scoop (3 qt scoop) of Triple Crown Senior twice a day, 4 oz of Buckeye Ultimate Finish 40 once a day, and California Trace.

I did talk to some other boarders about the temperature of the barn in the winter, and everyone said it is comfortable if you are wearing a jacket indoors, and it doesn't get miserable cold - so, we will see. I do forsee a partial clip job being done on Toofine in the winter to help with his sweating when we start riding regularly again, so hopefully that helps with maintaining a comfortable temperature if he has to wear his blanket in his stall.

Not ideal, but we are making it work.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I figured I would give a quick update, since it's been a little over two weeks since Toofine has begun living the life of luxury (inside the barn at night).

After a week of hollering to Minnie and pacing the wall of his stall, he has settled in and only calls out once if I walk by with Minnie. I rode him lightly on 10/25 and for a lot longer 10/27, and he feels great. I actually did a considerable amount of jumping yesterday (over small crossrails) and then went over a couple of 2' jumps (which seem huge after not competitively jumping 2'6+ in 5+ years). Even after 40-ish minutes of riding, he was still wanting to go and continue jumping, so his energy levels are absolutely great.

And better yet, his weight gain is noticeable - I'd say his ribs are almost totally covered. I meant to snap some pictures while I was out there, but it totally slipped my mind. I'm not sure which part of the feed regimen really made a difference, but I'm going to put my money on being inside + hay/alfalfa. I am considering transitioning him off of the Buckeye Ultimate Finish 40, and seeing if we can maintain on senior feed + hay/alfalfa. I'd really like to get him into regular work again, see how his weight holds, and go from there. Based off of how he was feeling last night, I'd say we will likely make a return to competing next year (or at least do 1 or 2 one day events).

Next week I am expecting more blankets to arrive in the mail, including a lightweight and a medium weight. This will bring my blanket inventory to 1 rainsheet, 1 lightweight turnout, 2 medium weights, 2 heavyweights. With Toofine being stalled, I'm assuming he will be wearing 1 weight lighter than what Minnie will be wearing outside (plus she will be partially clipped soon), so hopefully only having 1 lightweight turnout will be fine for now.

Once tack sale season starts up, I will be shopping for any reasonably priced coolers (fingers crossed on wool) and just more turnout blankets. I would also like to find a used neck cover or two, just in case we get awful cold weather or rain.

So, all in all, great news!
 
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