I live in Alberta where it usually gets to -30C (well except for right now it's +20C!!!). When it gets below -25C we don't turn out, mainly due to the fact that it's too cold for the barn workers! LOL Yes, we body clip as it would take for ever to dry them out after a work out (we have a heated indoor arena and they are stabled inside). They get everything removed except leg hair and then in the Spring get clipped again when the leg hair is also removed.
They wear stable blankets inside and then to go outside in anything -5 to -25C they get another heavy winter blanket over the top (if the wind is blowing). Some, if the owner wants, will also get a neck warmer but I've found that my horses tend to just want to tear it off! I don't find that my horses get cold unless it's wet. If it's sunny they stay very warm and sometimes if it's sunny and there's no wind they will go out with just a single blanket upto -10C.
Oh, and our lessons are NEVER cancelled unless the roads are impassable due to our nice heated arena.....a must have in Alberta!
Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!
Good to know. I'm in Alberta as well. Unfortunately we don't have a heated arena and my horse lives outside all winter (unless it gets especially nasty) so I'm mulling over what kind of a clip to give her. Definitely not a full body clip. I've got a whole wardrobe of heavy-high neck blankets and stable blankets. Just trying to make up my mind before I get clipping tonight!
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Just remember, if you don't clip and then put a blanket on your horse may get colder as the hair (his natural warmth system) will be flattened and not retain his heat as well. If you're going to blanket you might as well clip! If you decide not to clip, then do what we used to do before we got our nice new arena...take a hairdyer and use it to dry him off after you ride! Make sure he's dry right down to the layer next to his skin before you turn out otherwise he will get chilled.
For the few horses we had last year that were on winter turnout due to injuries, we didn't clip and they did awesome. They grew lovely thick coats and when it was cold, they fluff up, the snow stays on the surface and when you bury your hands under the snow they are amazingly warm. These horses also refused to go into the shelters, prefering to be outside in the snow!
Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!
I clip one of mine, just did a bib/triangle clip recently. Depending how hair growth, riding, and weather progress... I may enlarge the clipped area or just reclip the same place if he gets too hot and furry.
He (along with my unblanketed wooly mammoth) lives outside 24-7 with full access to their stalls for shelter. He has enough blankets/fleece sheets/ etc to layer, so I just make sure his ears are warm and that he looks happy- he tells me if he's too cold
And he does wear a neck cover most of the winter too.
Equally cold here, but no heat in the indoor. I usually don't ride if it isn't 10 degrees or more. Horse is almost always outside, but does have a stall for extreme weather.
I do a bib clip first and then a trace if I still need to take more.
I don't blanket or clip the healthy ones who aren't in work. Unless it is wet, they seem to do better naked.
I'm in Alberta too. I have my horses at home, but trailer to an indoor all winter. They're clipped with the exception of heads, legs and the underside of their bellies. They go out in most weather, but when it is exceptionally miserable outside, like -35 with high winds and blowing snow, I don't think I'd even get them out the barn door. One look and they're back in their stalls before you can think to stop them. Spoiled....
I tried a trace clip last year but found it pretty much useless. It didn't stop them from sweating enough. The hair that I left unclipped took just as long to dry as it would had I not clipped at all. They're warmer and much drier when in work with 90% of the fuzzies gone and covered with whatever blankets they need. I have to trailer back home after my ride, so even the slightest bit of wet neck/body just won't do when it's cold. One particular fuzzy boy I've already clipped twice since September.
My horses live out 24/7 and the winters around here are normally in the -25-30s overnight. I clip my working horses with a modified trace clip and use a midweight turnout (I like high necks - not full necks - think Rhino/Rambo Wug height). The trick to keeping a clipped pasture kept horse comfortable in the winter is to leave the belly hair on. Seriously. I draw a line from elbow to stifle and don't clip below that line. Having a huge naked belly exposed is a recipe for getting cold. The only reason we clip bellies is because it's part of the traditional clip patterns - which came from England - where it doesn't freeze solid for months in the winter. They clipped bellies because they didn't want to deal with mucky bellies after a day out hunting or driving around muddy roads. We who live in freezing climes have no concerns about muck coated belly hair. Bellies aren't usually a high sweat area, and what sweat happens tends to steam through the hair and condense on the tips (leaving the base next to the skin still dry) as long as the horse is working in an unheated area. If I leave the belly alone (rubbing or towelling tends to just push the wet down to the skin instead of drying off the moisture) the horse is dry where he needs to be and the condenses moisture dries naturally without making him colder.
On some horses I take the clip round the hind quarters in the traditional trace clip pattern while still leaving belly hair unclipped. I don't really find my boy needs the strip round his hindquarters though. For a heavy sweater I take the clip higher on the horse's sides and leave the belly unclipped.
Now that idea of blankets flattening the horse's coat isn't entirely true any more. In the bad old days of incredibly heavy canvas and wool NZ rugs no doubt it was, but these days many blanket manufacturers use marvleously light manmade materials. My horses fluff their coats as needed without any trouble in those midweight (200gm) blankets, and I've run unclipped horses through very cold winter spells with rainsheets (which provide wind and wet protection which balances out the near zero squash factor). This allows them to be comfortable at night and during the day in the same blanket. Once they get into the heavyweight (340gm plus) blankets they lose the ability to fluff. If we have a cold snap for more than a day or two I will put on a second layer 150-200gm stable quilt (it must be no heavier than the turnout) which I take off again as soon as the temps go back to normal. I prefer to use a few blankets as possible, and as light as possible because I want my horse to have the self adjustability of fluffing his coat as he needs.
I no longer worry about having a perfectly dry horse (I did the first year I had an arena and no blankets at all). The blankets I buy breathe so moisture can escape, and I make sure the horse is cool, and the base of his haircoat next to the skin is pretty well dry. The tips always seem to be the last to dry and I don't worry about them. When the air is cold, moisture tends to turn to steam and go through the haircoat, cooler or blanket and condense on the outside - chucking a cooler on as soon as I come back to walk for the final cool out allows the sweat steam to condense on the cooler instead of my horse's hair leaving him much drier than otherwise when we do go back to the barn. I also make sure he's cool because going back to a warm barn before he's properly cool tends to make him break out in a fresh sweat that just soaks the haircoat.
Last edited by RedHorses; Nov. 6, 2010 at 04:39 PM.
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