How much use do you get for your heavyweight blanket for an unclipped horse in the northern states? (i.e., Michigan) Trying to figure if it would be worth it to get one....I've always got by with just medium weights but when it gets down in the single digits (and mine are outside with run in stalls)....I'm thinking especially for my princess mare, a heavyweight might be nice. I don't really like the idea of layering.
I love my heavyweight Pessoa, and so does my hairy mare. :-) no rubs, it doesn't shift, and it's quite durable! I've had mine for a couple of years, and it's still going strong. I think it's a 300gram?
"On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."
I think it depends on what you consider a heavyweight. Up here - Canada - it's regularly -20 to -40 for days (or weeks) on end. A heavyweight to me is my rambo supreme at 420 fill. My horse lives outside 24/7, is unclipped, and 18 years old.
The rambo gets used probably 4-6 weeks out of the winter (between October to April). But his "midweight" 300 gram blanket is used the majority of the time since the temps tend to fluctuate between -10 and -20 most often.
So, I primarily use a 300 or 420 gram blanket for most of the winter. His midweight blanket is used only when it's around -10, and his lightweight when it's -10 or warmer.
I've avoided heavyweights...until now. My current TB is just a wimp. I have to bundle him up warmer than my usual routine. I broke down yesterday and ordered the Stormshield Arctic Combo blanket from sstack.com. I have one of their 1680 Euro Extreme sheets that has held up to all kinds of abuse and still looks great! The Arctic Combo's are on sale for $119, so how can you go wrong?! I certainly wasn't going to drop $200-$300 on a blanket that will get minimal use each winter- $119, heck yeah!
OTV raises a good point - what do you consider a mid weight, and what is a heavy weight. I consider anything 300gm and over heavyweight. My midweights are 200gm. I got rid of my heavy weights years ago because I just didn't have enough use for them to justify all the space they took up the other 50 weeks a year.
My horses live outside, with shelter. The working ones get a kind of low trace clip (unclipped belly) and they are fine in their 200gm midweight wugs most of the time. I do keep stable quilts (150-200gm) to stick underneath if it gets cold enough. Cold enough is -20F highs for more than a couple of days, and it hasn't happened here in the last 6-7 years. The stable quilts under a rainsheet can double as a midweight turnout too (should something happen to the midweight).
I prefer to cover more of the horse (ie. a neck rug) and see if that's enough before going to a heavier blanket. I prefer to stick with midweights because they can fluff their coats under a midweight. This gives them some control over their temperatures and they have some adjustability to handle the difference between daytime highs and night time lows on their own.
I have an old man who is unclipped and wears his heavy (400g) whenever it stays below 30 during the day. This winter that's been a lot! He never needed one until he hit his 20s, though. I have had a lot of success layering in the past, as well. It really depends on the horse...if he shivers with a medium then he needs more - if he's not visibly shivering or dropping weight then he's probably ok!
Thanks everyone, for the advice. I'm thinking now of maybe getting the Tuff Rider Thermo Manager blanket liner, instead of getting the heavy weight. I could layer that under her medium weight Thinsulate blanket, or even a sheet. Not sure if that would be as warm as just using a heavyweight (which would be about 340 gms).
Has anyone used the Thermo Manager blanket liner?
I use the Rambo blanket liners for mine. I love it. We're in Canada and its cold, but not *that* cold. Mine are both not clipped. They have a 200 g medium weight blanket as their winter blanket that works well from about -5 C to 5 C. If we get some really cold days (usually only a week or two through the winter) where the weather plummets (think -10 C to -20 C), I throw a blanket liner under midweight to increase the fill to 300 g.
Mine are young and hardy so the 300 g is plenty. I'm also in a situation where the barn staff do not blanket for me - so they need to be able to come in from outside and not melt into a puddle once inside the warm(ish) barn. Keep that in mind for yours.
If you have staff changing blankets to come in/out the liners can be a big PITA. In that situation you might be better off with a stable blanket underneath a midweight turnout - you can take off the turnout and the horse still has the warmth of the stable blanket while she is lounging in the stall.
I consider mid weight roughly 200 or so grams of fill and heavy 300 or more. I agree that here (Mid Atlantic) the sheet and the medium get used the most but I'd say the heavy gets used for a solid 4-6 weeks each winter, including on the unclipped horse (who is unclipped because he grows no coat at all).
It depends on the horse, age, whether they run hot or cold, etc. I'm in Wisconsin, and on my two unclipped, retired TB boys I consistently use their 370g heavy Rambos for most of the winter, sometimes with either 100g or 200g liners added underneath. I monitor them closely to make sure they never get too hot, but have had both horses for 10+ years and know what they like blanking-wise. I'm sure they'd be fine with less, but they would also burn more calories keeping themselves warm if they had less, and are both already eating as much hay as they want, and getting grain, and are fairly hard keepers, so I'd rather blanket well then spend MORE in feed and the risks that even higher amounts of grain would pose. If the horse(s) in question in an easy keeper or could stand to lose a few pounds, I'd be much more inclined to go a bit "light" on the blanketing.
It is all about layering, not necessarily the weight of the blanket. The air trapped between the layers is what keeps them warm. Heavyweights are great, but you can keep them just as warm by layering a sheet and light or midweight. Or two sheets. The more layers, the more air trapped. Heavyweight blankets are great if you have them (all that insulation is designed to do exactly what I have just described, trap air) but if you have other weights, you can mix and match and be totally fine. Just be sure the top layer is the wateproof one for rainy/snowy days!
My unclipped warmblood lived out 24/7 in northern Ontario (where it meets the upper Michigan peninsula) and she never wore a blanket and was never cold. My high trace clipped TB gets a mid-weight blanket once it is not getting above freezing even on a "warm" day and has never needed a heavy weight blanket. It often gets to 0F at night and she lives in an unheated barn with all doors open to their runs and she is turned out all day.
Totally depends on the horse. My small hairy pony fuzzball goes naked all year in all weather. I have one unclipped TB in a heavyweight when outside and the other unclipped TB in a midweight. They stay pretty comfy even when it is below 0F. When it gets above freezing I use their indoor midweight stable blankets with a rain sheet on top. This might be too much for other horses though...I do this because I am trying to keep weight on them. My neighbor has warmbloods and QH and they are out all day naked. Much easier keepers though.
I use heavyweights for the thinner/older horses here when it drops below 15 degrees....IF they're going to be outside. Usually when it's that cold, it's snowing or raining, so they stay inside with their midweight blankets on.
10 yo OTTB. Unclipped, and ridden fairly regularly. On 24/7 pasture with a run-in. Bought him a medium Rambo last year when he was on stall board, and still it is the most he's needed. I did buy the neck cover and feel better about it when it's very windy and frigid, which is often the case at his barn. We have had a week in the single digits/low teens' this year, and he was fine.
Also have on hand a couple of sheets if an extra layer is needed, or to combine if the Rambo ever has to go in the wash (so far only for aesthetics - has kept him dry so far all winter), and picked up an old used blanket last year to add a layer 'just in case', but haven't had to use it.
We've had some pretty nasty weather, and he'll choose standing outside in it vs the run-in.
Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes