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View Full Version : How can YOU tell if your horse is cold?



sublimequine
Nov. 15, 2008, 09:23 PM
It seems like everyone has their own little tip or trick on how they figure out if their horse is cold or not, and needs either blanketing, additional blanketing, or to be brought inside. So, COTHers, how do YOU tell when your horsey friend is cold? :)

Personally, I do two things; watch my mare's behavior, and run my hand under her sheet/blanket and press my hand into her coat. If she isn't warm to the touch, she's probably cold. I also back that up with her behavior, as I mentioned. If she's glued to the shelter and doesn't want to come out, probably means she's cold.

I know some folks feel their horse's ears, although for me my mare's ears are almost always cold, even if she's toasty warm! :lol:

How about you? :)

Highflyer
Nov. 15, 2008, 09:41 PM
I stick my hands in the front of his blanket. If he's warmer than my hands, we're probably good to go :) His ears always seem pretty much air temperature to me, and he hangs in the shed a lot anyway since the round bale's there.

murphyluv
Nov. 15, 2008, 09:47 PM
Mine shivers if he's wet and it's below 40. on with the blanket.

MelantheLLC
Nov. 15, 2008, 09:50 PM
If they have their tail tucked, I figure they're cold.

sublimequine
Nov. 15, 2008, 10:08 PM
If they have their tail tucked, I figure they're cold.

That's a good way to tell, too! Totally forgot about that. :)

Hampton Bay
Nov. 15, 2008, 10:17 PM
My mare's hair is all stuck up and she's shivering. She doesn't grow a winter coat, so she needs blanketing once her hair is sticking up.

The two youngins don't seem to get cold, yet anyway. They both grow nice, thick winter coats.

veebug22
Nov. 15, 2008, 10:19 PM
Run my hands under the blanket. If it's warm, I figure they're fine. If it's like "room temperature" or lower, I throw on another layer.

Lilykoi
Nov. 15, 2008, 10:25 PM
Mine shivers like she'll fall down, even blanketed. Her gut is all sucked up too. Not pretty.
She's bundled up like an Eskimo in a heated barn. I understand. I just know I'm going to be one of those old ladies wearing a sweater in July.

sublimequine
Nov. 15, 2008, 10:33 PM
Mine shivers like she'll fall down, even blanketed. Her gut is all sucked up too. Not pretty.
She's bundled up like an Eskimo in a heated barn. I understand. I just know I'm going to be one of those old ladies wearing a sweater in July.

Is she from a warm climate or something? Poor girl. :(

FindersKeepers
Nov. 15, 2008, 10:50 PM
My mare shivers when she's cold, and tries to put blankets on herself... :uhoh:

If she's cold and you hold up a blanket, she sticks her head right through and wiggles it down her neck over her body.

Poor girl just does not grow much of a coat and needs to have a layer heavier than everyone else.

TheOrangeOne
Nov. 15, 2008, 11:29 PM
I can generally walk up and just tell by looking at him- his expression maybe? Not sure. To verify, I feel the ears and run a handunder the blanket.

Simkie
Nov. 15, 2008, 11:35 PM
Blush looks MISERABLE when she's cold. She gets all tucked up, tucks her tail, hunches her back and put her ears back. There is NO MISTAKING when Miss Mare is Not Warm Enough. For her, I would rather her be a bit WARM than a bit COLD.

Rescue Pony
Nov. 15, 2008, 11:45 PM
My TB Beau....last year we tried to go a bit without a blanket....and lets say mom came out to check on the horses one morning (it was like 25 degrees) and he was backing himself up to his heated water bucket and trying to sit in it.....Pretty good indication that he had gotten cold I would say. Lets just say the horse owns more "clothes" than I do currently! :D

LookinSouth
Nov. 16, 2008, 08:36 AM
My horse will actually shiver when he is cold. This has only happened a few times but it has been when a cold rain has come through in the summer/spring and he was without a sheet. Silly horse for whatever reason decided not to go in his run in:mad: and ended up wet and shivering while I was at work. When I got home I toweled him, put on his fleece cooler to soak up any extra moisture and put a rain sheet on top. Works like charm. He stopped shivering shortly after and within a couple hours the coat is completely dry.
In the winter, I feel under his blanket. He has never felt cold under his insulated blankets but if he feels HOT I remove a layer.

Guin
Nov. 16, 2008, 08:40 AM
There was a pony at an old barn that got REALLY cold. You could tell - she would kind of scrunch herself into a ball - pull her legs underneath her, tuck her head and tail, and basically just LOOK cold. She needed three blankets all winter.

Lilykoi
Nov. 16, 2008, 09:06 AM
Is she from a warm climate or something? Poor girl. :(



No, just doesn't grow a coat and has the metabolism of a hummingbird.

RiverBendPol
Nov. 16, 2008, 09:29 AM
Ears, armpits, tail tucked, hair on rump standing up, shivers, sour face. I never let mine get to the last 4 phases though. If their ears and/or armpits are cold then it is time for bigger jackets. IF they have been clipped. If they aren't clipped, they do not wear clothes and chances are the only time they might be cold is if they are drenched, which doesn't happen here either.

sublimequine
Nov. 16, 2008, 10:29 AM
My horse will actually shiver when he is cold. This has only happened a few times but it has been when a cold rain has come through in the summer/spring and he was without a sheet. Silly horse for whatever reason decided not to go in his run in:mad: and ended up wet and shivering while I was at work. When I got home I toweled him, put on his fleece cooler to soak up any extra moisture and put a rain sheet on top. Works like charm. He stopped shivering shortly after and within a couple hours the coat is completely dry.
In the winter, I feel under his blanket. He has never felt cold under his insulated blankets but if he feels HOT I remove a layer.

Did you just leave the fleece blanket on then, or did you remove it a few hours later? I was wondering how I could blanket my mare when she is wet, and that might be an option if I don't have to remove the fleece sheet after awhile (don't have time to run back to the barn a few hours later, unfortunately!). Right now I have a blow dryer, but have yet to use it on her body to get her dry, and think it may take forever with the blow dryer.. :lol:

pines4equines
Nov. 16, 2008, 11:33 AM
What I do is to actually feel the skin on their teats or sheath. If it's colder to me, I will first test teats or sheath to see if that skin is cold.

By the time they are tail tucking, then they are really very cold. I don't do the ear thing or feel under blankets. I think both can be deceptive. I sometimes think what feels warm to us, is hot to the horses.

Tilly
Nov. 16, 2008, 12:23 PM
Ruby's eyes get big :lol: and her hair stands up. I hold my hands under the blanket and stand there for a few minutes. My hands get really cold in the winter and I'm clumsy in gloves, so I have to wait for my hands to warm up before I can tell if she's too cold. She really doesn't apreciate me sticking my cold hands under her blanket :lol:

criss
Nov. 16, 2008, 12:47 PM
My TB has pissed me right off a few times recently by choosing to stand out in the rain, steaming, instead of being nice and dry in the stall he's standing right outside!. But hey, whatever, what do I know? He doesn't appear chilly. If he had his butt tucked, I'd shut his silly self in the stall with a cooler on until he dried.

My Morgan/TB, on the other hand, is a priss these days, and barely goes outside to get a drink from his water tub if it's even drizzling. I know he's cold if he refuses to go outside when it's not raining. I can usually just look at him and tell, too. He's going to be 28 in a few months, and he doesn't tolerate cold like he used to. I've actually concluded that weather cold enough for me to put on my second-warmest barn coat is weather cold enough for him to want his medium-weight on overnight.

I usually take all blankets off during the day unless it's going to stay near or below freezing all day, and that seems fine with him. He definitely lets me know what he thinks as to whether or not I ought to take it off--if he doesn't want it off, he will turn his head and push me away when I go to unbuckle the surcingles! :lol:

LookinSouth
Nov. 16, 2008, 01:28 PM
Did you just leave the fleece blanket on then, or did you remove it a few hours later? I was wondering how I could blanket my mare when she is wet, and that might be an option if I don't have to remove the fleece sheet after awhile (don't have time to run back to the barn a few hours later, unfortunately!). Right now I have a blow dryer, but have yet to use it on her body to get her dry, and think it may take forever with the blow dryer.. :lol:.

I removed the fleece cooler after a few hours and it had completely absorbed the moisture. I then just put the rain sheet on since it wasn't terribly cold out, just a cold rain.

I'm not sure I would leave the cooler on overnight wet. I don't board so I have the luxury of taking layers off as needed.

If you get a really good fleece cooler it might absorb the moisture in about a 1/2 hour. That way the horse is reasonably dry and a plain blanket can be put on. Another idea would be if the horse is still a tiny bit damp remove fleece cooler and put on a dry Irish knit under the blanket. The irish knit will help absorb any excess moisture but should also allow the hair/skin to breathe. I think it would dry out faster than a fleece cooler too. jmho.

mothermucker12
Nov. 16, 2008, 06:36 PM
i was always told to feel inside their ears

sublimequine
Nov. 16, 2008, 06:44 PM
.

I removed the fleece cooler after a few hours and it had completely absorbed the moisture. I then just put the rain sheet on since it wasn't terribly cold out, just a cold rain.

I'm not sure I would leave the cooler on overnight wet. I don't board so I have the luxury of taking layers off as needed.

If you get a really good fleece cooler it might absorb the moisture in about a 1/2 hour. That way the horse is reasonably dry and a plain blanket can be put on. Another idea would be if the horse is still a tiny bit damp remove fleece cooler and put on a dry Irish knit under the blanket. The irish knit will help absorb any excess moisture but should also allow the hair/skin to breathe. I think it would dry out faster than a fleece cooler too. jmho.

How can you tell a good fleece cooler from a bad one? I really don't have a lot of experience with coolers.

Tilly
Nov. 16, 2008, 07:04 PM
I've always thought that a good fleece cooler was soft and very thick :yes: but that's just IMO. I would think that thin fleece wouldn't be as affective in soaking up the moisture.

murphyluv
Nov. 16, 2008, 08:00 PM
Did you just leave the fleece blanket on then, or did you remove it a few hours later? I was wondering how I could blanket my mare when she is wet, and that might be an option if I don't have to remove the fleece sheet after awhile (don't have time to run back to the barn a few hours later, unfortunately!). Right now I have a blow dryer, but have yet to use it on her body to get her dry, and think it may take forever with the blow dryer.. :lol:

If you don't have a fleece... you can actually just towel dry and put the blanket on. Most are breathable, if you have a recently new and nice blanket, I'm sure it is. I've had to do that sometimes and the horse is dry in a few hours. I don't make a habit of it, I guess if you have a sensitive skinned horse you might end up with rainrot, but instead of waiting for a shivering horse to dry, that's what I do.

Milocalwinnings
Nov. 16, 2008, 08:05 PM
If it's snowing or raining and cold, my guy will start shivering.
Anytime he gets overly cold, he starts to act really weird- he won't let people touch him. There have been a few times where his blanket either lost waterproofing or he didn't have one on (at the old farm he was at) and I'd go out to find him shivering but it took forever to get him haltered because I could. not. touch. him. It's weird.
Usually he doesn't get to either of those two points though because the barn is great about blanketing him when he needs it.:)

amm2cd
Nov. 16, 2008, 10:53 PM
How can you tell a good fleece cooler from a bad one? I really don't have a lot of experience with coolers.

My fleece coolers wick the moisture off of my boys after a work out in about 15 min. The coolers made of 100% wool (or cotton, but only if you're desperate) breathe best, and thus work the fastest. Anything with 'unnatural' fibers wont work nearly as well...
Of course, my boys are so spoiled, they each have two fleece coolers. One for after work and one for under their blankets on really cold days. :D

For the OP, my dutch boy clamps his tail as far in his backside as he possibly can, and if I dont take that hint, he will start to quiver. Nothing is sadder then 17h of jello.:cry:
My rule of thumb is that if I need a coat, my boys probably do too...

twofatponies
Nov. 16, 2008, 11:06 PM
My rule of thumb is that if I need a coat, my boys probably do too...

That's kind of my method, too. If I need a wool shirt and windbreaker, they get the light sheets. If I need a heavy sweater and the windbreaker and a hat, they get the midweights. If I need the heavy coat, long johns, scarf and hat and mittens, it's time for the heavyweights.

I put the lightweights on them after workout this morning, then the temp started plummeting this afternoon and I realized it was going down to 25 tonight, so I drove back over to the barn and put the midweights on instead.

Renn/aissance
Nov. 16, 2008, 11:40 PM
I feel Tip's ears. I leave them furry instead of clipping them in winter and between his ears and his chest I find I have a pretty good gauge of how he is feeling. I usually go by the "what am I wearing?" rule:
T-shirt: nothing
Long-sleeved T-shirt: Baker sheet
Light sweatshirt or light jacket: lightweight turnout sheet
Sweatshirt or polarfleece: medium-weight turnout blanket
Down jacket: heavy-weight turnout blanket or medium and light together

I have a cotton Irish knit sheet that I love for layering as well.

LearnToFly
Nov. 16, 2008, 11:44 PM
If he's cold, he'll stick his head over the door when he sees me walk up to the barn, with this very anxious look on his face. My horse has the most distinct facial expressions...

4Martini
Nov. 16, 2008, 11:54 PM
NO COTTON. Cotton is the absolute WORST thing you can put on a wet horse (or person) in cool weather. There's a saying--cotton kills. If all you have is a cotton "cooler", you are infinitely better off leaving the horse naked. Synthetic coolers work just fine--I used a cheap fleece cooler on my horse, and almost immediately started seeing the moisture beading on top of the cooler.

The cotton can work really well for a short period of time - as it is super absorbent. You put on an irish knit or cotton waffle under a fleece cooler - rub it and walk a little bit and then pull it off. Same reason cotton towels are so popular - they absorb great! Just don't leave it on as cotton does not keep warm when wet like wool or fleece will. Fleece does a great job of wicking moisture to the top- but wicking can be slow. So if you really need to get dry quick a cotton cover or towel dry then fleece or other synthetic (including a breathable turnout) is what I prefer.

I am letting my horse go natural this winter and he seems to be much warmer with his own fur than I've seen him with blankets most winters! I check his armpits, nose and by his sheath where when he's chilly a cold hand will bring on a shiver.

Gray Horse H/J
Nov. 17, 2008, 12:15 AM
That's kind of my method, too. If I need a wool shirt and windbreaker, they get the light sheets. If I need a heavy sweater and the windbreaker and a hat, they get the midweights. If I need the heavy coat, long johns, scarf and hat and mittens, it's time for the heavyweights.

This is pretty much how I do it with my horse, too. I've had him 8 years, I've got him pretty well figured out. :) Last winter was my first in an un-heated barn, and we had a few days where the high was 1 degree. My horse got layers under his heavyweight then.

I despise cold on so many levels. It's not even THAT cold yet, and tonight I was wearing jeans and a sweater, with a fleece jacket over that, with a poofy vest over that, and a poofy winter jacket over THAT. And winter boots and gloves. But then, I'm one of those that needs to sleep all huddled under a blanket in the middle of August or I freeze to death.