Has anyone stopped blanketing a horse after years (5 years) of blanketing? I am out at college now and still have one horse at home. My parents have already told me that they will not be blanketing my mare this winter and I will not be home enough to change blankets with the temperature.
I know she was not blanketed by her old owners but I feel horrible by denying her of blankets this year, especially since she is hot blooded and doesn't grow much hair. Though, it is usually my wooly mammoth gelding shivering. Also, she is on round bales now, but they are placed in the pasture, a 50 ft or so walk from the shelter and I feel like this will slow her consumption of hay in the winter, thus her warmth. I also would like to not put her back on grain for the winter because it is a hassle for my parents.
I wish I could find her a new home before winter (Hint she is in the give aways section ) But I don't think that will be happening, no one seems interested.
I wouldn't worry a bit. As long as they have shelter and can get out of the wind, horses can withstand ridiculous temperatures. I believe that we don't give their toughness enough credit most of the time. I lived through 5 Minnesota winters and there were always TBs & warmbloods without blankies, even when it was way below zero. My TB will be going naked this winter, too. If the round bales are good hay, she definitely won't forgo food!
Now, if it's raining/sleeting, then she may have a problem. If she does start to shiver, then I would hope your parents would help you out by throwing a blanket on her that night, but otherwise she'll be fine. Especially in Kansas! The lows in the winter are, what, like 40 degrees down there?
I did this last year...no blanketing my mare after years of blanketing. She is stalled though, so not quite the same situation as yours. Your mare is a Saddlebred if I remember right? Mine is too, and I used to think she didn't grow a ton of hair...until I had to groom her last spring and get all that hair off. It became very apparent that she was well insulated.
Not sure what I'm going to do this year. I liked the freedom of no blankets, but not ALL the hair that comes with it.
Just because hair is short, does not mean it is not warm hair. Our old TB had a DEEP coat like good velvet. Not long but very dense, she was always plenty warm.
Some of our other horses have longer hair, deep too, but none of them seem cold in winters. You having a shelter for her, will even be more helpful with wind protection. Mine have woods if wind is from certain directions, otherwise they are out in cold AND wind. Still, not often does anyone get shivery.
Bale near the shed, or inside, will be an inducement for her to stand inside if weather is bad.
I have an arabian who was treated like hothouse flower until he was 6. That winter, I decided to wait and see if he ever got cold enough he needed a rug. Not once, during that freezing, awful Iowa winter did I have to rug him. He had a roundbale, a shelter and scowled horribly any time I approached with his rug. I took the hint and he has not be rugged since. He does grow a thicker coat than he did when I rugged him, which actually works against him a bit down here-- I tend to find him sweating on the warmer winter days!
He does have a waterproof sheet for rain/ice storms as we tend to get those rather than super cold temps down here. I have not had to use it, much to his relief.
As long as she has a run-in or some shelter that will keep her dry on wet, snowy days she should be fine. This will allow her to stay warm from the elements in the frigid temps.
Another way to ensure she stays warm is to feed her lots of hay. Heat is produced through the digestion of feed and really helps horses maintain body temperature in cold winter weather. The greatest amount of heat is released when microbes in the gut digest high-fiber feeds such as hay.
If she is grained, feed a high-fiber feed. They produce more heat during digestion than low-fiber feeds. Subsequently, the digestion of hay will result in the release of more heat than low-fiber grains, such as corn and barely. Although oats are a low-fiber grain, they will produce more heat during digestion, compared with other grains, due to their fibrous outer hull.
Good Luck, I am sure your little mama will be just fine
[QUOTE=morganpony86;5072803]I wouldn't worry a bit. As long as they have shelter and can get out of the wind, horses can withstand ridiculous temperatures. I believe that we don't give their toughness enough credit most of the time.QUOTE]
I think we tend to put blankets on because it makes US feel better .
As long as she has shelter, I don't see her having a problem. I don't blanket any of my horses at home in the winter, and they all do fine. Even the 27 year old TB....he gets so furry you can't even see him now!