If the horses can move about (generating good blood circulation), have a good wind break (fence, stand of trees, cut bank, etc.), the temp. is above 15 Farenheit, then a blanket is probably superfluous.
If the weather is wet then adding some sort of "rain sheet" might be a good idea.
If the horse tears up the blanket to get it off then I suspect they're sending a message to their human connection. :)
Good idea to let them be. Don't fix what isn't broken! You've given your horses everything they need to be happy and healthy.
I let them tell me if a blanket is needed unless we get wet/cold & windy all together.
If that happens in the morning, before I leave for work, I may blanket or chance coming home to find them wet to the skin on their backs.
Even then, blankets go on when they come in for feeding and come off when I do the last barncheck and find them dry underneath as long as the nasty weather has let up as well.
I increase hay and make sure they have unfrozen water. Access to stalls is their shelter, if they want. They hardly ever seem to want to stay in.
Pony is a yak right now, but my WB has barely an inch of plush and he seems to be just fine w/o a blanket.
(figures - I just bought him a new blanket that fits, replacing his hand-me-down, at the end of last year. It hangs unworn in the barn...)
I check for warmth: ear tips, bellies, inside flanks & if all are warm to the touch they stay unblanketed.
We've had some bonechilling temps these last few days, but still they both seem fine w/o help from a covering.
My former horses - 27yo TB and 16yo TWH - both grew wooly coats and I followe the same blanket "Rules" for them.
My idiotic young mustang would rather stand in the pouring down rain getting soaked to the bone just so she can stand next to her best friend in the paddock next to her than stand in her very nice shelter. Friend meanwhile stands under her shelter and youngster stands outside next to her. For this reason only, I have young horse blanketed. Friend is also blanketed but she's been clipped and it's been very cold. Tonight, older horse (26!) is getting blanketed. He didn't grow a really thick coat and could use the extra warmth. Other 2 appys - no blankets needed, very thick coats.
my mare HATES wearing clothes. she has a good coat on her but is older. i admit the debate on this subject seems to go on in my head constantly, but in the end unless it's wet or the temps don't climb out of below freezing around the clock, i try to leave her naked.
we've had temps in low 30's during the day last week and every time i saw her her coat was only semi fluffed which to me is a sign that she's not feeling the cold nearly as much as i am ;)
Mine all go without,except the TB's, they pretty much live in blankets from November through 'till April. It can get really cold here, was -27c yesterday. They all have shelter, heated water and hay 24/7.
"Big woolly coats. Tons of excellent hay. Ample free-choice shelter and windbreaks. Unfrozen unlimited water."
On a sunny day my mare would be happy as a clam with the OPs set up down to the high 20s. Even at 55 she would be chilled if it was windy or raining. With your set up and a rain sheet on rainy/windy days she would be fine down to the mid 40s.
I think horses with ample coats deal much better with COLD winters where they get snowed on then mild winters where they deal with a bunch of rain. Fluffy coats make that nice shell that snow sits on top of but rain will eventually get through the fluffiest coat and cause a chill.
I have a wooly pony who's out most of the time. But she does not have a shelter. Her paddock is adjacent to the barn, which provides a windbreak in most instances. I blanket her for any/all of the following: Rain or wet snow with temps below 40, steady winds with temps below 35 or so, and when it's cold enough that the night time temps are below 15. She's happy with that arrangement. i did the same for my old mare until her last year (age 26) when I kept a blanket on her most of the winter.
Well despite my second thoughts my TB now blancketed is much more patient with the brushing then before blancket. Therefore I expect because they are in individual paddaock that are windsweapt she is more comfy this way.
We're hovering in the low teens during the days with overnight temps near zero, so I'm blanketing my horses. This is an unusually cold snap here, so once it's back into the 20's and 30's I'll take them off. My one gelding hates to wear a blanket and will usually take off if I approach him with it. This week, however, he's stood like a stone as I've covered him up, so I figure he thinks it's a good idea.
It rains here. And rains... And rains... And rains... And my geniuses don't seem to understand that they can go inside their lovely, dry, deep bedded stalls so I keep them blanketed in the appropriate warmth waterproof rug whether they are clipped or not. My boarded and clipped boy gets double blanketed. My furry boys who live at home have medium weight rugs on now.
I debated on blanketing my soon-to-be-2 year old but he came from GA in the middle of fall and barely grew a coat so I caved and got him a good waterproof Rambo rug. The old man is very healthy and I didn't used to blanket him but without fail every year from about age 25 he would drop to 900lbs from the 950 lbs I think is ideal for him. I would up his feed rations to try to put weight on/keep it on but he wouldn't eat the extra hay or grain and it just went to waste. As an experiment I started blanketing him last year and I found he held a steady 950 lbs through the winter without having to up his feed rations at all. The same is holding true so far this year - in fact he's actually gained 16 lbs since Christmas! Woo Hoo! He'll be 30 this spring and with him extra padding is always good thing!
So long story summarized - I guess it depends on the situation but IMO in wet weather I think it's better to keep them covered - the damp cold really gets to them in my experiences.
I blanket the pony, who hasn't got much of a coat, and the old guy, who does. As someone mentioned they get colder when out in the soaking rain and I've had to run out and dry them with towels and blanket more than once this year. The pony shivers, but like RD above I can actually get weight GAIN on the old guy if I make sure he gets plenty of hay and wears a blanket at 20 or below. He loses weight in the hot weather - loses his appetite - so that's important to me. The pony is portly, but as I said he shivers and hides up against the wall where it is warmer so he gets the blanket at freezing or wintry mix.
I only blanket one of my horses on a regular basis and that is because his coat is thin and he can't eat hay. (I make sure it gets taken off in the morning if its going to end up being 45 or higher to make sure he doesn't sweat) My other horse only gets a rain sheet when it is percipitating. Its keeps him dry, which is nice especially if it starts raining bad and I can't get out their to get him out of the rain. (My horses are towards the bottom of the pecking order so they don't get to stand under the shelter) One bad thing about blanketing is that if its going to get warm that day you need to be able to go and take it off.
Guess I'm not the only one hiding blankets. My horse is from Canada and lived outside nearly her entire life.. and BO tried to tell me she needs 2 to 3 blankets on at all times for ultimate warmth and dryness. (While I can see some truth to that for certain situations, it was a bit ridiculous as she wanted to put a liner, a 150 gram, and a 400 gram on her in 30+* F weather because there was a rain/snow mix. :no: )
Originally Posted by quietann
I brought all my blankets home and only put the one I wanted on her... Just because we as humans are cold does not mean they are necessarily. I know if I left them out there the BO would put every single blanket I own on her.
I prefer to leave my horse without a blanket unless absolutely necessary.
I have a 27 yr. old Cushings gelding who I just started blanketing the past year or so. He's had waterproof t/o sheets for a few years when he was pasture boarded because w/o a sheet, he would get wet and take too long to dry with his wooly coat. Now he's full boarded, turned out daily with no shelter. He doesn't move around too much on his own outside so when it's cold he wears an Amigo stable blanket under his sheet during the day and at night. Next week the temps will be in the 40s-50s during the day and mid-30s at night, so he'll just wear the sheet.
He hasn't grown as much coat since on Pergolide, though fuzzier than some horses. Like old people, I think he appreciates being warm and cozy in his old age. When the ring thaws I'll put him in the arena naked and let him have a good roll.
I do what is necessary for the horse and what makes sense for me.
My mare is in work during the summer. If she had it her way, she would be covered in a gross, thick mud mixture half of the winter and full of snowwballs and ice the rest of the winter. When I have been slow in blanketing her, I have brought her in visibly shivering in temps as warm as 30F and she was reluctant to move/work until I warmed her up with a cooler, etc. 3rd point is that feed is really expensive and honestly, I would rather her maintain her weight more efficiently than shivering or not being willing to go eat hay in the cold (and she will just hide in the shed and not eat).
I left her daughter naked for a while longer this winter and when she was too was hiding in the shed and not coming out and eating and walking around with her tail clamped and stiff, out came the blankets.
They can for sure survive without blankets, but if it makes life easier on them, then why not.
But it's different for each horse. I don't blanket the mare with exactly the same weights/blankets as the younger one. Individual care and thought is necessary.