A quick search will find you tons of blanket threads. Hard to give an opinion without an idea of the weather but I wouldn't even consider blanketing a horse with the characteristics you describe in most conditions. An old, frail horse and 30 degree weather with snow, maybe.
"No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill
As a rule, I don't blanket the outside critters. But I do have two right now in turnout rugs. They're older mares, not particularly easy keepers, and not that woolly. I don't like them to be cold and wet, which is typical here in KY. They seem to really like their blankies.
I would not blanket, then, especially because the preference to be naked. I think they would still be *warmer* if blanketed, which could be worse and lead to sweating, which could make them wet and eventually, cold. I don't buy into the "blankets flatten their coats" theory, but I think a sweaty horse under a blanket in the winter is probably the worst case scenario.
Breathable blankets (think Rambos) seem to prevent the "sweaty horse" problem. Mine are blanketed if it's wet out, very windy, they are older, or they do not have a heavy coat. Temps today are high 20's, very windy (25-30 mph) and both are blanketed - in fact, the TB has on a heavyweight Rambo. No one seems to object...
I prefer not blanketing, and I think my mare prefers no blanket.
However. She's now almost 19, and increasingly becoming a harder keeper in the winter. In the interest of conserving calories and keeping her warm, I blanket when it's consistently below freezing or wet and rainy/windy.
Very timely thread. I have a donkey and five horses here...four are retired and my OTTB is in work with NO fur at all. Today, it was around 35, with 30-45 mph wind gusts. My OTTB went out in a medium sheet. Everyone else was in the fur they grew. So, after 8 hours outside (to be fair, the paddocks do have some wind protection from trees and the barn, but there is no shelter per se), I brought them in. No one was cool or chilled at all. I did check on them regularly while they were out, and they had plenty of hay and water, but were consistently lounging about with their tails away from their bodies, and really quite relaxed. It's kind of amazing after all these years spent in boarding barns with multiple blanket changes for the temps how I can see how well they do without blanketing. Of course, if they were clipped or nearly hairless (as my OTTB is) I would blanket. But otherwise, they seem to be doing very well!
This is the first winter I am blanketing my now 20 yo mare. We had such a wet and cold Fall... I felt bad that she was outside all day with no shelter. She comes in at night. So, I bought her a rain sheet (Amigo XL) and she seemed quite happy. One day she was soaked through though and I used my old lined rain sheet until the Amigo dried. Now she is in a mid weight Amigo XL and is happy. If it gets much colder, I will layer with her old stable blanket.
She does come in at night and has tons of hay outside and inside, but the wet and cold... I can't leave her naked.. They go out all day most days unless it is a blizzard.
She is not ridden that much (and only hacks now), but ... she is already shedding!
My daughter's other horse (he is on trial right now) was never blanketed before she got him, but she also has him in a Amigo XL because it would take forever to clean him up before a ride!!! Mind you he and his field mates have been playing tags with their blankets and... well... lots of destruction! lots of tapes on blankets and he is wearing a muzzle during the day! He stays out at night and his friends come in.. muzzle comes off since he does not play as hard with the other outside horses!!
So blankets on yes... but probably more for us than for them!!
Last edited by FalseImpression; Dec. 31, 2012 at 11:18 AM.
Reason: wrong blanket name
The wind governs whether I blanket. Here on the coast we get some pretty nasty wind. Every once in a while we get a North Westerly wind that blows right in my horses stalls and I will blanket them (as I did tonight). Otherwise, I prefer not blanketing.
It really depends on a horse's individual needs. Winter temps up here can get colder than -40, so even a horse with good weight, hay, shelter, and a thick coat can still get pretty cold. They'll survive the cold, but can be pretty miserable.
Personally, my horse is blanketed throughout the winter. Once it hits -10 C, he's got a winter blanket on. He's older but is at a good weight. He's outside 24/7, has a good shelter, and a round bale but gets cold easily. I don't like to see him standing hunched and with his tail tucked into his hindquarters. So, he gets blanketed according to his needs. The other day it was -20 and he needed his heavyweight blanket on. Other horses were outside with no blankets and seemed okay, but it really depends on the horse.
Breathable blankets (think Rambos) seem to prevent the "sweaty horse" problem.
I agree to some degree that the blanket materials may help. But, if they have a full winter coat, some horses will just be too warm with a blanket on top of that, no matter how breathable. My TB would also be fine in a medium to heavyweight blanket blanket at 20F, but my paint mare would be sweaty and my hairy pony would probably melt.
Bougth my mare a year ago, she was then without a blancket but in a smaller paddock in vicinity of old buddys she was then a bit anxious about change of lifestyle therefore she walked around much more also paddock had some shelter.
This year larger paddock away from shelter ( large wind swept field) buddys on either side but much calmer ( less moving around snow is also deep in our parts) and with the knoledge that she has some arthritis in her back ( she gets supplements which work well) I started blancketing her as thermometer plummetted and wind was realy bad. Bucas lined blancket, I find she is less stiff when ridden since then. I was not certain it was a good move at first. As I know now the dice are set for all winter blancketing. She does not sweat under blancket therfore I have to assume she is fine.
I do not expect I will add to thinkness even in very cold as my thinking is that the purpose is to shelter from the wind as she is not clipped and has a nice coat for a Tb, nothing like the coat of a Cnadian Horse but thick enough to keep her warm.
Interesting to see what everyone else does. . . . I tend to keep mid-weight Rambos or Dovers on "elders," hard keepers and thin-skinned TB's pretty much for the duration of our New England winter. The others, the "fuzzy-wuzzies," get blanketed only when we hit the trifecta--cold, wet, and windy.
The barn where I board generally doesn't like to do a lot of blanket changes; the norm is to put a rainsheet over whatever they are wearing when they go out for turnout. Most of the turnouts do not have shelter.
I think they overblanket -- see previous thread on finding my mare in her stall sweating in a mid-weight, because someone thought she needed that level of blanketing, inside, on a 35 degree night! I hid the midweight after that, because she really doesn't need it unless it's below 15 or so. It's back out now as we are expecting a couple of sub-10 degree nights. She is not clipped but unlike many Morgans, she doesn't turn into a wooly bear in the winter, just gets slightly fuzzy.