OK, my guys live out 24/7 in MD (so typical winter day is 30s/40s, nights 20s/30s. It can get colder but let's start with that).
Every year I do a little bib clip -- underside of neck, shoulders, belly to just behind girth. This allows me to keep them in work but not to worry about blanketing for warmth. It's self care and I'm an hour from the barn, so I really can't be changing blankets all the time.
They are easy keepers and in good weight, free choice hay and a shelter in the winter. I have rain sheets for that nasty cold rain.
This year, one of mine is for sale and foxhunting. So he needed a bigger clip, and got a proper trace clip (whole belly, strip along haunches, etc.).
Now I have no idea when I should be blanketing him for temperature. I put his sheet on last night as it was going to get into the 30s. But now it's in the 50s and it'll probably hit 60 before I make it out to take it off.
So....can I have some guidelines please? I don't want him to freeze but...he is a sturdy fellow in no danger of getting skinny.
We did a hunter clip on my older one last week: left legs and a saddle blanket, but took everything else off. The past few days, I've had him in a medium during the day and medium plus heavy at night (he's out at night still), but he's a bit older plus wants to be a bit on the thinner side. For your guy, with less access to blanket change opportunities, I'd probably have a medium on him right now, and switch out to a heavy once it's consistently not getting above 50. If there's a chance of rain, I'd layer the rainsheet on top of the medium.
But everyone's views will differ, depending on where they fall on the religion of blanketing...
argghgh! Can we add in to the mix the fact that I don't even own either a medium OR a heavy, and he's for sale? DO I have to buy him $$$$ of blankets?
He does have more hair than yours, though -- basically the entire top half of his body, and of course his legs.
When I used to foxhunt in NV we got winter - 40 to 60 range in daytime, 20 to 30 nights, sometimes colder. We did the same clip as you (sometimes full low trace) and I didn't blanket until it got COLD and stayed that way. My girl is a shire cross and gets hair like a Yak, so she stayed toasty in shelter pretty much all the time...Good thing about it was that most days it got sunny and warmed up her dark coat..
As long as he's got access to plenty of hay I would not worry until it got bitter. I'd cover up in the wet and in mid to low 20s with wind. I think they suffer more in blankets when it's warm and you can't get out, then not quiet enough for the few hours it gets down to the evening's low temp. Horse can stay warm if they are getting the calories to do so.
as someone said you'll get tons of answers across the board, but I can tell you I have a lovely lesson pony clipped as yours, who tends to want to be on the heavy side (no grain but hay diet)
I do not blanket at all!! Except if snow or rain/freezing rain and then it's just a very good rain sheet. Done this for two winters now and no issues. He does have access to a nice run in and heated waterer and I feed tons of hay. I find that if he is constantly eating he's never cold even minus the hair. I'm also in Northern NJ so much colder here.
PS You won't sleep the first few cold nights, but after checking like crazy you will notice he isn't cold as long as he has hay!! Ask me how many times I checked that first month that first winter
Given your situation and what I know about the pony- I would not put a sheet on him unless it is cold and raining/sleeting/snowing/etc. He has access to shelters and woods and windbreaks and is pretty darn hearty and hairy where not clipped (for example, I would not have blanketed him last night since it will get up to 60 today). IMO better he is a bit colder than ideal sometimes than he have a blanket on during the day when it is warm and he is sweaty when the temp drops overnight. Unless you reliably have someone you can call if it warms up during the day that pull it off for you if you do not make it out. Of course if you start seeing signs that he is cold when you see him, revise the strategy.
If you still have him when it gets consistently cold (cold day and night and not above the 30s), I would suck it up and get a medium weight. Does not have to be a pricey one or if you are super-nice to me and I have not a bought a horse that fits it by the time winter rolls around (which is likely- either because I have not bought anything yet or what I buy is too small), you can use HRH's medium weight (I think it would fit him- its an 84 - but if he trashes it, you owe me a new one ).
There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)
Ditto what bambam said . I would not be sheeting right now- Moose isn't (granted, I know he's not clipped as much as your guy, but the one day it was like this and I left it on, he was totally soaked with sweat underneath! ). I also have a medium weight for the Giant Spotted one, and I think in the 4 years I've owned him I have pulled it out twice? So, you are welcome to borrow that if you like (and like bambam, if it's trashed just reimburse for another )
If he's fuzzy, you'll be fine. We have a little Arab with a big trace clip, but he's super fuzzy up top. He doesn't really need anything unless it gets really cold (like 20s). We give him hay to munch on, he's fine nekkid.
Not sure how far you are from woodbine, MD. Days end horse rescue has a pretty good selection of used tack, sheets and blankets included. Everything is priced really decent. Friend got a Rambo heavy 84" for $30. Looked brand new!!
basically what everyone else has said- leave him naked unless wet/windy/really cold (below/around freezing)- if he's as big a beasty as you say (aka nice weight and drafty) a trace clip isn't going to make him that much colder. Plus you said he has lots of hay/grass to eat?
I'd just watch him like a hawk and if he starts to lose to much weight then sheet him more, but I think he should be fine- after all it's not cold for that long right now
proud owner of a very pretty but completely useless horse (and one useful horse!)
Just figure his blanket into his sale price & send it along with him - pick up a closeout on Ebay or online tack shops (or your local)
$65 bucks will get you this Med weight & is cute enough that it should easily sell on ... tho most 600D won't hold up well with a horse that's hard on his blankets or has pasture buddies that try to be a little too helpful
You can also clip with a longer blade, eg, a #8 & that will leave him with more protection.