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Elle, 1997 Oldenburg mare
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I blanket. Don't have a lot of choice with my horse. It gets COLD here, for one. Going to be -24 C tomorrow. And while I do think sometimes the barn owner overdoes the blanketing, I'm grateful that there's blanketing service there at all. My horse is almost 25 and even when she was younger, she never grew much winter coat. She never has to be clipped in the winter no matter how much we work her, so there's that at least.

We always ease them very gradually into blanketing in the fall to allow as much coat growth as possible for the season. But. I mean, this is as "yak-like" as she can get. Not very!!

Horse Liver Sorrel Working animal Terrestrial animal


She also gets a bit colicky when she's cold. Plus, to keep a good weight on her, I like her to conserve her calories instead of burning them for heat. If she were hairier, or an easy keeper, it might be a different story!
 

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I think it depends on the horse and situation. Some horses do fine without, yet others benefit from being blanketed. Clipped horses and those who don't grow a good a winter coat should be blanketed in winter, and it's also good for horses who are old and/or hard keepers so they don't shiver off excess calories trying to stay warm. It's also important not to over-blanket, however.
 

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I blanket my senior horse every day in the winter, and put a rainsheet on him if it's rainy. He's arthritic and used to have heaves so he can't take much cold. My other two, almost never. BUT I like to have blankets for everyone just in case. They almost never need one, but since yesterday, we've been in a deep freeze (night time lows of -37C with the wind) so yeah, everyone got a blanket for the first time this winter, and my senior got a liner under his blanket. I'd rather have blankets on hand and almost never use them than have a shivering horse who can't get warm.

I've noticed that in the winter, there is one spot in my pasture where my horses always stand when it's sunny. That spot gets the most sun and no wind. If they stand there, it's because they are seeking out the warmth. If they really didn't care about the cold, they'd go stand wherever, but they pick out that one spot on cold days. That tells me they do appreciate the warmth so I will give them a helping hand on the coldest days/nights of the year.

Another aspect is the loss of calories to stay warm - horses that have to eat to stay warm need a lot more food. I do give them extra even with the blankets, but I prefer to help them conserve some of that warmth.

What I don't like is people who blanket by the calendar. Say from October to March, they blanket every day no matter what the weather. Or people who blanket at night and leave it on all day even though the temperature might go up by 20 degrees. That makes no sense to me. I don't wear the same barn coat every day I go to the barn, so why would you blanket a horse according to what it says on the calendar? Of course I do have my horses at home so it's fairly easy for me to take blankets on and off throughout the day as required.
 

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Elle, 1997 Oldenburg mare
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What I don't like is people who blanket by the calendar. Say from October to March, they blanket every day no matter what the weather. Or people who blanket at night and leave it on all day even though the temperature might go up by 20 degrees. That makes no sense to me. I don't wear the same barn coat every day I go to the barn, so why would you blanket a horse according to what it says on the calendar? Of course I do have my horses at home so it's fairly easy for me to take blankets on and off throughout the day as required.
There's one of those at my boarding barn. She even said the other day, "Once it's winter I put the blankets on and they stay on!" and she means it. Doesn't change according to temperature at all. I don't know if she ever even takes them off to check anything. Yikes. :oops: Thankfully the actual barn owner/manager definitely doesn't have that attitude, and changes blankets on all the others accordingly.
 

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There's one of those at my boarding barn. She even said the other day, "Once it's winter I put the blankets on and they stay on!" and she means it. Doesn't change according to temperature at all. I don't know if she ever even takes them off to check anything. Yikes. :oops: Thankfully the actual barn owner/manager definitely doesn't have that attitude, and changes blankets on all the others accordingly.
Thats too bad. I have seen some get moldy blankets and bad rubs/rot from not having their blankets off and checked. They have the best intentions but that might not be what is best for the horse
 

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Ok, here goes...we have a 16.3 hh tbred who is a bit fat right now, mea culpa we do slightly overfeed.

If a horse starts dropping condition in winter its usually a sign you need to either up the feed or they need a rug. Horses will roll in the mud to put a layer of thermal insulation on themselves, this is normal horsey behaviour, even if it results in much fussing and annoyance from the owner. A muddy horse is usually a warm horse.....

So we do rug below about 30F , the only exception being around 40F if its windy and/or wet.

Our 11 yo horse is out in a paddock (with tree wind breaks ) all winter and Ive had to put another duvet rug on him while it was snowing on me.....the wind and wet combined is called "wind chill" and wind chill can be nasty, sometimes dropping temp rapidly. And a wet horse with howling freezing winds is a dead horse after a few hours.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Ok, here goes...we have a 16.3 hh tbred who is a bit fat right now, mea culpa we do slightly overfeed.

If a horse starts dropping condition in winter its usually a sign you need to either up the feed or they need a rug. Horses will roll in the mud to put a layer of thermal insulation on themselves, this is normal horsey behaviour, even if it results in much fussing and annoyance from the owner. A muddy horse is usually a warm horse.....

So we do rug below about 30F , the only exception being around 40F if its windy and/or wet.

Our 11 yo horse is out in a paddock (with tree wind breaks ) all winter and Ive had to put another duvet rug on him while it was snowing on me.....the wind and wet combined is called "wind chill" and wind chill can be nasty, sometimes dropping temp rapidly. And a wet horse with howling freezing winds is a dead horse after a few hours.

Hope this helps.
Yes thanks that is very helpful.
 

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I have 2 horses: a 25 yr. old Paso Fino mare, Gypsy, and a 3 yr. 10 mo. old Arabian gelding.
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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 live in western Montana where the winters can get to below 0 for days, then pop up to the balmy 20's. My 24 yr. old mare is in good flesh and unless there is freezing rain, she is fine without a blanket. The 5 yr. old Arabian gelding is fat and needs no blankets even in freezing rain. 24/7 hay available, a huge open stall and a 3 sided shed in the field (20 acres) and a long walk to a heated water tank keeps them warm even in nasty weather. A key to warmth when they are covered with snow or just wet is to not touch wet areas. Guard hairs direct water off their sides and the undercoat stays dry unless compressed. I have pictures of icicles dangling from their barrels, but they are not cold. Again, full time hay availablility (get teeth checked!) and a windbreak for maximum warmth. Thanks!
 

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Another good time to blanket is when you have sudden rapid temperature changes. Like 80 degrees in the day, to 28 degrees that night. I think blanketing might encourage more water consumption and help prevent colic.
 

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Another good time to blanket is when you have sudden rapid temperature changes. Like 80 degrees in the day, to 28 degrees that night. I think blanketing might encourage more water consumption and help prevent colic.
Did you see my thermometer this morning? :eek:

I feel a lousy owner cause that is exactly what occurred last night...🤬
And of course not knowing it was coming, we had out normal amount of hay...and every scrap was eaten gone at 7AM when I went to the barn with grass crunching in frost this morn...
I feel awful...my guys should of been blanketed from that as they were not prepared ..
🐴...
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
I live in western Montana where the winters can get to below 0 for days, then pop up to the balmy 20's. My 24 yr. old mare is in good flesh and unless there is freezing rain, she is fine without a blanket. The 5 yr. old Arabian gelding is fat and needs no blankets even in freezing rain. 24/7 hay available, a huge open stall and a 3 sided shed in the field (20 acres) and a long walk to a heated water tank keeps them warm even in nasty weather. A key to warmth when they are covered with snow or just wet is to not touch wet areas. Guard hairs direct water off their sides and the undercoat stays dry unless compressed. I have pictures of icicles dangling from their barrels, but they are not cold. Again, full time hay availablility (get teeth checked!) and a windbreak for maximum warmth. Thanks!
Thanks that also sounds like my situation.
 
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