The Horse Forum banner
1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do you blanket your horses? Why or why not? I’m considering buying one but I’m not sure. It’s been below freezing and very icy so that’s why I was concerned. Some people say no because they can fend for themselves and once you start to blanket you can’t stop. Others say yes they definitely need it. Just curious what other people do?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,763 Posts
Unless old, ill, underweight or depending on the type of injury possibly if injured the answer would no. Shelter or wind break and hay. Lots of hay. My preference is access to hay 24/7. I've lived from Maine all the way down and across the coast and through TX. Never found a need. Now there are those that will say for cold and wet or with swings in temps but they have evaluated there needs and decided it was necessary. I will if they start to shake under those circumstances but in all the years I've had horses I have only had one shake during cold wet. It was a one time thing and he was not sick, old or injured. In his prime and a good body condition.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,078 Posts
I do....
One horse is older and hard to keep weight on, so if I assist keeping him warm and dry, offer a wind break he not need to burn so many calories he can't spare.
Second horse is a sissy.
He hates being wet, period. He hates being cold.
The horses do grow decent coats but are accustomed to high 70 - 80 degree days and often in the 40's at night...changes from that they mind and are not prepared for.

So being we live in Florida, although it does get cold here {ice on the water trough cold} it not stay cold once the sun comes up.
So, we use 220 gram insulation factor t/o blankets goes on around or after dark, off around 8:00AM when it starts to warm...
If it is ever really cold for us, I layer a sheet or a fitted wool cooler under their blankets for extra warmth.
Usually temps are low 30's - near 40, occasionally mid to upper 20's, if single digits we are bundling the boys up and offering much more hay to eat overnight to create extra warmth factor.
If just wet, icky weather we do t/o sheets so the body stays dry, a wind break is offered and my horses are happier out meandering.
I never purchase any blanket/sheet except t/o style as they can be worn inside or out, have leg straps, fuller dropped sides which my horses need being big barreled, a tail-flap so blanket stays down and better anchored.
Nothing less than a 1200 denier do we purchase or you will often be a slave to repairs as the material is just not as sturdy.
Hope that helps.
🐴...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,073 Posts
We do if it is below 0F or close to there for a stretch. It has been for a week now so everyone is blanketed. Highs will get into the 30s starting tomorrow so we may take them off for a few days.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,306 Posts
I do only when its wet and windy. It's worth noting that our field has a bad cross wind at times and minimal natural shelter (especially now the leaves fallen off). It is more behavioural than anything for one of my mares. She gets very grumpy in the rain and the other one, who is fine, is 20 now and on medication for cushings. She'd been losing weight so I'd rather her not lose more and the field is overgrazed without access to hay in the evenings (I do feed still). Even if its below freezing if the there is no wind and it is dry I don't rug - they warm up easily just shuffling around. The only thing I'm conscious of is transitioning. For example if I know the weather will be temperate for a few days I'll unrug the next morning rather than at its coolest at night as they need a bit of adjustment time and rolling in the mud to fluff up again. They are over pampered but it does no harm. The biggest gripe I have is over-rugging. Horses have different tolerances of temperatures. Whenever weather is unpredictable (southern uk is insane for rapid changes too) I just leave them unrugged and let them deal with it rather than roast. They can warm up easily but can't exactly take their own rug off is my thinking.
 

·
Registered
Retired breeder
Joined
·
1,445 Posts
In most times, you are doing your horse a disservice with a blanket. He has natural ability to stay warm. The hair traps air pockets next to the hide that keeps the horse warm. By putting a blanket on, you remove that and are literally making your horse cold.
Any time you see an animal that has snow on its back, that is a warm animal. The haircoat is doing it's job.
Water Water resources Liquid Azure Fluid


I have had MANY mares over the years that would have happily kicked your head off at the mere thought of putting a blanket on them.
What they need, no matter where they find it, is a break from the wind, even if it's in a canyon.
As I said, I have had many horses that never were in a barn, or had a blanket of any kind.
Unless a horse is standing there shivering, he's fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,497 Posts
I do, in certain conditions. My horse just has a waterproof light sheet, & a heavy winter blanket.
She's not clipped either. I only put her heavy winter one on if it's below freezing.
The sheet, I use if it's in the 30's-40's & rainy/windy. Depends.

I don't overblanket though, because I know that my horse is on the younger side & she gets a nice winter coat, too. Plus, always has access to hay which keeps them warm! :D
I'm not a 'serial' blanketer, some people have like 10 blankets for different temps, lol not me. More power to them haha.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,078 Posts
Unless a horse is standing there shivering, he's fine. ............ :confused:

That is why mine are pampered and get covered. Their attitude is grumpy and unhappy naked when colder or wet..
Both will shiver in sharper cold weather, winds blowing and forget if they get wet, it is to the skin and not nice.

Lofting a coat I know they "can" do, but obviously my old guy just not have it in him to loft and stay warm so he gets a blanket...
I happen to love cold weather myself, but add wind and or damp/wet...get me inside, or a warm coat and long sleeved shirt...figure my horses are about the same. ;)

I'm very happy to offer them the stalls and barn overhang, along with blanket/sheet as needed and when their attitude tells me they need/want and would be happier also means my one stops picking on my other older guy = less chance of vet bill.:)
🐴...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
226 Posts
Depends so much on the horse. An older horse or one with medical condition or a hard keeper will need to be rugged much more often than a healthy horse in its prime. Some horses naturally grow a thicker winter coat and so need blanketing less. Some don't like being cold and wet and so need blanketing to stop them being miserable. And here in the UK even though it's not particularly cold we basically always blanket our horses since they are clipped for convenience sake probably cause our native breeds grow a coat like a bear and take hours to dry off after any type of work. Remember that a wind break will do more than any blanket. Also if they are blanketed they need checking on much more frequently. Partly so they don't and up roasting in a too thick blanket and partly because when putting anything on a horse they is a chance for it to get caught. With a properly fitting blanket this chance is low but not impossible. Also remember you need 2 blankets on case one gets wet or damaged or whatever.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,655 Posts
I blanket my senior horse - he is partially clipped (the coat he grows is too thick to be ridden in the winter without getting soaked, thanks Cushing's) and tends to be sensitive to the cold when we get rain + wind. Most of the late fall, winter, and early spring he is just in a lightweight blanket. If it's super cold (below 15F) or freezing rain, then I will add his neck cover and potentially increase the weight of his blanket. If the weather is nice on a particular day, I will give him 'naked days' where he can keep warm in the sun and enjoy rolling around without a blanket on.

Would he be fine most days without a blanket? Probably - but he is a senior horse and I want him to preserve as many calories as he can, and if I can keep him warm with blankets then I am going to do so at this point.

As for my younger horse - I blanket her very lightly when it is muddy. She is a mud monster, and if she isn't blanketed the days leading up to my riding lesson I barely have time to groom and tack her before my instructor arrives. If it gets super cold or freezing rain, then I will throw a heavier blanket on her with a neck cover too.

It's not so much the temperature that makes horses cold, it's the weather with it and the wind. My senior horse usually won't be shivering without a blanket in zero degree weather, but if its in the 40's, windy, and raining he is shivering.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
36,535 Posts
It depends entirely on the horse, where you live and what shelter your facility provides - man made or natural.

I've seen horses with a decent coat, cope fine in freezing temperatures but that same horse struggle in prolonged rain.

Shivering is a good indicator of the horse not coping - it's an extremely inefficient way for any animal or human to try to keep warm. The coldest part of the day/night is generally in the early hours of the morning and very few owners are likely to be trotting across their fields to see if their horse is shivering.

A healthy horse with a decent coat will generally cope OK if they've got somewhere to get out of the rain, high winds and blizzard conditions if they need too.

This is where to 'not all created equal' thing comes in though.
Out of my six horses, two have winter coats that are hardly any thicker than some horse's summer coats, one has spent the bulk of her life in New England winters so certainly not a question of acclimatizing to the cold - the other is said to have spent the last two years in Nebraska.
A third is borderline and she spent her entire life in New England.

Since we've moved to a much milder winter State, Ive found that we've had to trace clip the horses that do grow a thicker coat as they were sweating doing nothing - on the days and night when it does suddenly go really chilly, we're having to throw blankets on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I appreciate all your replies. They all vary but have important tips. My horse is about 13-15 yrs old so not a senior horse. At the barn we have three horses but only two stalls. Nova ( my horse ) is at the bottom of the pecking order because she is fairly new and not dominant. One of the horses slipped and hurt her leg so is confined in the stall. That leaves only one stall left which the other horse usually occupies. It has been raining/snowing/sleeting for a long time now and it’s very muddy and icy. To eat hay Nova stands outside the stall and eats from there. She is standing in a very muddy/wet area. I have not seen her shivering yet but since there was just freezing rain her mane and tail are literal covered in ice. I have not blanketed her since I got her a couple months ago but the weather has gotten a lot worse and I’m a little concerned. She does have a nice winter coat though. What are your thoughts?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,089 Posts
Do you blanket your horses? Why or why not? I’m considering buying one but I’m not sure. It’s been below freezing and very icy so that’s why I was concerned. Some people say no because they can fend for themselves and once you start to blanket you can’t stop. Others say yes they definitely need it. Just curious what other people do?
I think a lot depends on where you are, your local weather, the horse, the age of the horse and the amount of exercise they'll be getting.

We show/ride all year so my horses get clipped, so they get blanketed. They are babies when it comes to bad weather, they want their blankies and they want in the barn when the weather is ugly. Most of them are considered 'seniors' now, so depending on their winter coat (if not clipped), how they're holding weight, and are they happy or grumpy when it's cold and windy, determines when/if and how much blanket they get.

Right now it's 37 F outside, so they're unblanketed and have a nice big round bale out in the pasture. Nobody looks unhappy so they won't get blanketed until later tonight.

That bit about, "Once you start to blanket, you can't stop." is an old wive's tale. It's true if the horse is clipped, but it would be more accurate to say that once the horse is clipped you need to blanket. I pull my blankets all the time, give the horse a good brush to loosen up any hair that's been pushed down and off they go. The blankets don't go on again until the weather warrants it. Here in OK the weather is just squirrely so they might have blankets on day and night for 3 days, then off for 2, back on for 1, off for 7, it just all depends on the weather.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Yes.
I blanket my fourteen-year-old Arabian from the time the temperature consistently drops below 50 until the time it's consistently above 50. It rains where I live though most of the winter, and he is at pasture without shelter during the day. Blanketing keeps him dry, clean, and happy. He also dose not put on a heavy winter coat, even on his exposed neck and legs, so I feel blanketing is a must. I don't, however, intend to get another horse who requires so much blanketing. The next one needs to to be able to go with just a rainsheet until it gets near freezing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
226 Posts
Yes you should blanket her. And watch out for mud fever on her legs. Since she doesn't really have access to shelter she needs that extra protection. If there if ice forming that is never good. The ice will suck the heat out of the surrounding tissue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yes you should blanket her. And watch out for mud fever on her legs. Since she doesn't really have access to shelter she needs that extra protection. If there if ice forming that is never good. The ice will suck the heat out of the surrounding tissue.
Ok that sounds like a plan, thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yes.
I blanket my fourteen-year-old Arabian from the time the temperature consistently drops below 50 until the time it's consistently above 50. It rains where I live though most of the winter, and he is at pasture without shelter during the day. Blanketing keeps him dry, clean, and happy. He also dose not put on a heavy winter coat, even on his exposed neck and legs, so I feel blanketing is a must. I don't, however, intend to get another horse who requires so much blanketing. The next one needs to to be able to go with just a rainsheet until it gets near freezing.
Thank you
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,165 Posts
I live in Florida. I always clip my horses. They are hot and sweaty all summer. If it's 80 degrees in the winter, I want them to be comfortable. This means they are body clipped and blanketed as needed. Sometimes I partial clip, sometimes I full clip.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
I do not unless there is a reason the horse cannot keep it's weight up and/or grow a proper winter coat (ie: old, ill, clipped, etc). I blanket one horse and he is my 19 y/o who due to starting his career as a show horse was blanketed almost all of the time and he now lacks the ability to grown a proper winter coat. Our other three horses (1 y/o, 7 y/o, and 10 y/o QHs) do not wear blankets ever and as long as they have a way of getting out of the wind, have food, water and appropriate salt, vitamins/minerals available I find they do fantastic. I am in Northern Alberta and we are just coming out of a month long cold spell of -25 to -45 degrees Celsius and none of the horses are worse for wear!
 

·
Registered
Auction house special
Joined
·
47 Posts
I do not blanket my girl. I have a blanket incase it gets cold enough but she hasnt needed one. The biggest issue I have seen with watching others blanket is them not taking the blankets off enough and the horses getting rub from the blankets, especially horses who will go months without being ridden and will sit in that blanket for that period of time.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top