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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yankee has a thick, healthy winter coat. He's been fine out in windy, sunny 20f weather, and in a bit colder than that. I only blanket him if it is going to be wet and cold, wet and windy, or cold and really windy. His blanket is midweight, though if it still fits I also have a wool liner somewhere. So far, I've never blanketed him in the barn. FWIW, he is the only horse in the barn.

But, as with much of the country, much colder weather is a 'comin. It is predicted to get down to 4f or colder tomorrow night, and I find I cannot decide if I should blanket him or not (again, in a stall, in a closed barn). Tuesday's high is only 17, but sunny, so I think he'll be fine without a blanket then.

The only reason I can't decide, is this is colder weather than he's ever seen, so I worry his coat might be inadequate, if it's "designed" for the weather we've been having, and that arctic blast will be a good bit colder than that.

Thoughts? How are you preparing to protect your horses from the oncoming weather? I know many of you are going to see much, much colder temps than we are in VA!
 

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Depends what the barn is like. If it's 4 degrees and the barn is nicely insulated it could be in the 20s (saw this yesterday! very impressed lol) Most barns will be in the single digits still. If he is fat healthy and not wimpy he's probably fine. If he isn't at all used to that temp (as in it only ever gets down to 20 at most and is almost always warmer) I would probably blanket. So I'm absolutely sure he would be fine either way, especially in a closed barn, but personally would blanket due to the temp difference. He shouldn't need a liner. I would blanket last thing and take it off first thing, esp if he's going to be naked for the 17 degree weather you want it to be "warm" when you take the blanket off.

I wouldn't worry so much about his coat being "inadequate" just that he's not used to it. To add - if he's used to being blanketed when it's cold and windy, etc. I would blanket him when it's very cold.
 

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I was taught that the best blanket is internal - colder temps mean MORE HAY. Metabolizing the hay warms them from the inside out. They can't handle cold and wet, but they can handle VERY cold temps if they have plenty of hay. Also, a blanket can smash down their hair, which can make them colder than than NO blanket. (The air in-between the hair shafts holds warmth from thier bodies.)
 

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These topics have been going 'round and 'round the board lately.

If your horse is healthy and has a thick winter coat, and will be kept indoors, I highly doubt he needs a blanket. Just give him lots of extra hay and access to water.

Currently, where I am at, it is -16*F air temperature with a -44*F windchill. Overnight, the air temp is supposed to drop to -24*F and windchills could approach -60*F.

My horses are outside 24/7. They don't go in the barn. But they are healthy, and have a full winter coat. They have 24/7 access to hay and water, and excellent windbreak. They are fine. I give them some extra grain every now and then, but that's more for my sake. They don't really need it.

IF you do decide to blanket your horse (which I really don't think he needs) make sure it is thick enough. You will do more harm than good if you don't put a heavy enough blanket on him. When you blanket a horse, you squash down all their hair. By "fluffing" and raising their hair to create air pockets, that is how they regulate their temperature. The colder it gets, the fluffier they look. If you squash down their hair, you now take away their ability to regulate their own temperature.

You also don't want TOO warm of a blanket. Think about how you feel if you are dressed too warm. You will start to sweat. And then you will get chilled. The same goes for your horse if you have too warm of a blanket on. He should not be "warm and toasty" under the blanket. That's too warm. He should be neutral.
 

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I would blanket because if he's in a stall he can't move around much to generate some heat. Lots of hay and I'd throw his blanket on. All of mine are in the barn, blanketed with heavy blankets on the ones who don't grow a coat and medium on the ones who do grow some coat. Mine never grow enough to handle the kinds of temps and wind chills we're having now. I let them out on pasture for a bit today, while we cleaned the barn and laid dinner and they all lined back up at the gate ready to come back in, in less than an hour.
 

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I would blanket because if he's in a stall he can't move around much to generate some heat. Lots of hay and I'd throw his blanket on. All of mine are in the barn, blanketed with heavy blankets on the ones who don't grow a coat and medium on the ones who do grow some coat. Mine never grow enough to handle the kinds of temps and wind chills we're having now. I let them out on pasture for a bit today, while we cleaned the barn and laid dinner and they all lined back up at the gate ready to come back in, in less than an hour.
Agree with this. If it's -16 and has been close to that and that is relatively normal to your area, yeah it's cold but they will be fine. If it's a huge sudden temperature drop and is unseasonal (or record setting), yes you should blanket, even if that huge drop would seem warm elsewhere it's irrelevant since your horse is adapted to your climate.

-16 would seem warm in the arctic. Would you take your horse from -16, and in the space of 12 or whatever hours transport them to -60 and expect them to be ok? Even if you knew in the past they had been ok at -30 when there was a slow gradual change to a temperature that was relatively normal for you? That is what frustrates me when people say "well it's -40 here and my horses are happy". If you shipped a horse from FL to that I bet they wouldn't be so happy. Even if you took your horse in the middle of the summer, and moved them to the middle of the winter.. Also, yes -24 is cold! but it's not a huge difference from -16 (actually an unusually tiny difference for day to night, at least around here)

And yes, I agree you need to blanket appropriately and sounds like you understand that. The medium should be fine, imo. A liner will be too much, esp if you are going to take it off when it's 17. (Which I think is fine)

And yes, extra hay is important! So again, it's probably not a huge difference/drop (you didn't mention the current temp, which as I said above is relevant) and he would probably be fine either way, but it's enough.
 

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Both my Arabians handled -30* very well. Never a blanket and their coats grew thick. Horses need to be out in fresh air and where they can move around. It makes for healthier horses and reduces the chance of respiratory disease. Lots of hay spread out in may piles keeps them moving. I use a quad and shake and drop flakes of hay as I drive until I've covered 10 acres. The horses will eat of one then before it's finished move to the next, doing this with each pile. Later they return and start over. Walking improves digestion which keeps the horse warm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Followup

I did forget to mention, he will have plenty of hay. His pasture has no shelter, so he is usually in at night (also preserves his pasture). I feed him in a slow feed net since he practically vaccums hay and I like it to last a while, but when it is cold I fill it, and usually throw an extra flake or two in the stall.

Pasture, about the same. He'll have a stuffed hay net, plus some extra if it's not too windy. I have to put his hay out the night before, as someone else is kind enough to turn him out in the AM for me.

Seeing I don't think the medium weight blanket is any warmer than his coat in normal weather, I'm leaning to leaving him nekkid. He is a rather hairy dude :)
 

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I think he may be happier blanketed from your description but doubt he will be sick or shivering in the morning. You know your horse best, we can only speculate from here.

ETA even if he is shivering, not that we want that, it's really not a huge deal. Warm him up then stick him out. Unless he's a stressful colicky horse shivering never hurt anyone.
 

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Yankee has a thick, healthy winter coat. He's been fine out in windy, sunny 20f weather, and in a bit colder than that. I only blanket him if it is going to be wet and cold, wet and windy, or cold and really windy. His blanket is midweight, though if it still fits I also have a wool liner somewhere. So far, I've never blanketed him in the barn. FWIW, he is the only horse in the barn.

But, as with much of the country, much colder weather is a 'comin. It is predicted to get down to 4f or colder tomorrow night, and I find I cannot decide if I should blanket him or not (again, in a stall, in a closed barn). Tuesday's high is only 17, but sunny, so I think he'll be fine without a blanket then.

The only reason I can't decide, is this is colder weather than he's ever seen, so I worry his coat might be inadequate, if it's "designed" for the weather we've been having, and that arctic blast will be a good bit colder than that.

Thoughts? How are you preparing to protect your horses from the oncoming weather? I know many of you are going to see much, much colder temps than we are in VA!
This topic is being done to death :lol: (obviously because of the cold weather).

They don't need a blanket. It's actually not good for them. It impedes their ability to regulate their temperature (can't get warmer if the need to or cool off if they warm up too much). The blanket prevents them from being able to fluff up more if they need to catch more air in their hair for another layer of insulation. If also prevents them from flattening out or any natural means of cooling down a bit (mine will stomp the ice along the edge of the pond until it breaks so they can roll in the water and then shake it off like a dog before running across the pasture kicking and jumping).

Keep free choice hay readily available (not only does the calories help with warming, but the process of digesting it generates heat too and they'll eat and digest most of the day/night if allowed). Leave the choice of being out or in up to them by leaving the stall open and accessible. They'll come it if they feel the need or stay out if they want. That's also a part of them managing there own comfort. But so long as they are healthy and in good shape they can manage even without cover if they have enough food. They're actually very good at regulating and keeping at an acceptable (for them) temperature as long as we don't mess with that ability.
 
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