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Ok well I live in the northern U.S and our winters are usually TERRIBLE (this one isn't to bad though haha)
Anyway I want to buy blankets for my horses but everyone is saying they don't work just feed them hay and they will stay warm. Or no don't buy one, or else they won't grow winter hair and they will be colder....
Is this true?
Whats your oppion on this?
 

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I blanket my horse in the winter, but since we're in the south ad temps tend to swing from 50 to 15 degrees in same week during the winter she only gets hers put on if it drop below 30 and/or it's going to be wet. Blanketing shouldn't keep them from growing a coat in the winter. It's the change in daylight that actually triggers the hair to grow, although I suppose temperatures play a part in how thick their coats get.

That being said, horses are pretty tolerant to cold. Dublin is pastured with horses who don't get blanketed at all and they seem to do just fine. But again we live in the south so it rarely gets super cold here.
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Ditto what Ink said.


For myself, I blanket because my mare is older and she really doesn't keep herself warm enough during the winter without a blanket. she grows a very thick, long, winter coat but she'll drop weight like crazy if I leave her blanket off no matter how much hay she gets.
If she were younger, I would probably only blanket if she didn't have shelter and if it got under 20* (or she started acting chilled).

With blanketing, you have to be careful to do it right. So I wouldn't advise anyone to blanket unless they're invested in doing it correctly. A blanketing chart (it has temperatures and the correct blanket weights for that temperature) is integral to doing it right.
Many people don't blanket correctly and there's where the problems start. If the blanket the horse is wearing is appropriate to the temperature, most horses will be just fine. It's kind of a science. :)
 

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I blanket mine with a light sheet when they go outside if it's below 40 and at night if it goes below 40 as well. I've only blanketed one of mine 24/7 winter long and that was my 30+yo mare that I put down this summer. :-(
But then I shave my show horses in March/April [depending on the end of winter/spring temps] to avoid the shedding mess and blanket them 24/7 and go from heavy blanket to light sheet as temperatures raise. :)
 

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We always blanket our horses in the winter. Yes, they work!!:) Im not sure about the part about their winter coats, since all of our horses get clipped for showing year round. But as long as you use the blanket, it shouldnt matter.
 

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the change in daylight is what grows their coat out, so even if you start blanketing in august they will still grow lots of hair ! if you are going to blanket, make sure not to under-blanket. with a blanket on, a horse cant use its coat to keep itself warm. so when in doubt, put a heavier blanket on !
 
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From keeping them from growing hair, no they don't really work, it's the amount of light like mentioned above.

But if you are trying to keep them warm or dry, yes they do.

I never used to blanket until we moved to Texas.
The weather is just weird down here, 70 one day and won't get above freezing the next. Or the raining sideways. That's when I notice horses have a hard time. When they get wet and the wind in blowing. In Nevada it could get well below zero and it would snow but they were fine. Especially if the snow piled up on their backs you knew they were warm and insulated. But down here I blanket if it is raining and windy.
 

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Serendipity's post doesn't apply if you will allow your horses to grow winter coats. But if you plan on clipping, then you definitely will need to invest in a few different weights of coats. How many? I haven't a clue. Must be some others in the north that have that experience to share.

A blanket over a good winter coat will inhibit the horse's ability to adjust to temperature change as it makes it impossible for the hair follicles to control the lay of the hair.

I am much further north than you are. Temps here in the winter are from +2 celcius to -40 celcius (30 above to 40 below in Fahrenheit). In the spring, the swings are from +15C down to about -15C. Ever since I've been involved with horses, we have never blanketed, except for medical conditions. The horses get free choice hay and a good shelter. This year my mare's coat is not nearly as heavy as other years. This winter has been relatively mild. The animals know what they need somehow.

If you're not showing and there is no medical concern, provide shelter from weather for when they need it and then you don't need to blanket.
 

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horses dont need blankets unless we put abnormal conditions on them, like artificial lights, sweaty in the cold, clipping, etc. They are better off with hay and allowed to regulate their own body temp.
Give them a wind break and free choice overhead cover, they'll be fine. Blankets are a prime example of successful marketing campaigns. Probably the same one that convinced everyone to spend tons of money on nearly free tap water that comes in a plastic bottle,
 

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Even being wet is not the worst thing that ever happened. I mean, in the wild they get wet and the wind blows. But if the horse can move around, eat and find a wind break, it will usually be fine (as long as it is not clipped)
The horses usually have rather long "guard" hairs that kind of clump together and form a point that channels the water to drip off their sides, and the water does't go under the guard hairs to the under coat, which stays pretty dry. If you brush them while they are wet on the guard hairs, you have broken the seal, in a sense, and now water will go to the under layer and make the skin wet.
If I bring Mac up from the field to ride and he is wet, I brush only the area where the saddle pad will go , so as not to disturb the guard hairs that are channeling the water off his back and rump. He looks really filthy when I ride him out, but under the filth, he is dry.
 

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i live in ND my boys are outside and have a barn to get into but when i ride them hard and i dont want them to get cold we out blankets on or if its super cold. just depends i have 2 blankets for each horse a nice one and then some less nice for when we clean the nice ones.
 

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Like Tiny said the hair makes the difference.

I have found down here for some reason they get humped up and shiver...where before I would never think about it. I really do think it has to do with the drastic change of temps here. They have a hard time adjusting.
 

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It completely depends on the horse.

The majority of the horses at the barn don't wear blankets, but a handful do including my own.

Sunny wears one because we are in the south, and she drops weight like crazy in the winter. In the south, at least here in AL, it is 80 F one day and 15 F with wind chill the next. Because of this, Sunny's poor coat gets extremely confused. When winter first came in she sad a nice fluffy coat. Then the bipolar weather came about, and BAM! She shed every bit of it out. She's as sleek as a summer pony right now, which is all good and dandy on the warm days which are 75% of the time, but on the crazy nights when it gets below 30 F she gets a blanket.

Even when she does have a decent winter coat(like she did last year), she still drops weight in the cold. This is the first year I've blanketed her and, guess what? No weight loss.

So to Joe, my horse is not clipped, is not under lights all day, and has free choice hay but she still needs a blanket.

The other horses who get blankets are either clipped or very elderly and can't spare the precious calories on keeping warm or they drop weight.

So like I said, it entirely depends on the horse. Many horses get by with their nice, fluffy winter woolies. But some can't, and a blanket may be in their best interest.
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Even when she does have a decent winter coat(like she did last year), she still drops weight in the cold. This is the first year I've blanketed her and, guess what? No weight loss.
Same, though I'm hoping next winter he won't need anything as he is getting fitter he'll be able to handle rain and cold in the same breath.

But right now, he gets a sheet on to keep him dry when it's 30 out otherwise he's bare.
 

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A few ideas :)

We delay sheeting until the night time temp drops below 40 for more than 4 hours. We the blanket when the outside temp goes down to 20 for the same range of hours. The temp inside a barn usually ranges from 5-10 degrees warmer than the temps outside. I admit I prefer the sheeting and then blanketing for two reasons outside of warmth. One is that it keeps them cleaner and two, the horses are being worked on a daily basis and early sheeting/blanketing keeps the coat from coming in too thick (you will still get some winter coat) which reduces the drying time of sweat after a workout without having to do clipping.

Horses will grow a winter coat..it is a natural thing for them. If you don't sheet/blanket at all, the theory is that on a healthy animal (any animal for that matter) the coat they grow will be enough to keep them warm. There was always an old saying that if you pay attention to the thickness of an animal's coat as it comes in for the winter, you will get an idea of how cold the winter will be, well, I think the prediction was off this year as some horses I know have enough hair for three.

I grew up in Connecticut and when I had horses there (early to mid 80s) we didn't blanket unless it was near blizzard conditions, or we turned out in snow, and even then the barn owner was always mumbling..."paranoid teenage girls afraid the horsie will get cold...." (Think 60+ years old, gruff, tough, been around horses 1000 years type :) )
 

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I put blankets on when it's cold and very windy. They really appreciate it.
 

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When a horse stops shivering after you blanket them, yes, it's safe to assume they appreciate it.

ETA: There is a mare at the barn that starts shivering when it gets below 40 F (and she isn't clipped or stalled). So when the temp drops she gets a blanket. However, that would probably cause heat stroke among a high number of horses who have their winter woolies. Horses are individuals. I wish that people in both the anti-blanket and in the over-blanket groups would realize that.
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