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Blanketing Guideline Poll!

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  • #21
    My new blanketing guideline:
    If I think I might be laying awake in bed at night thinking that I really should have blanketed the horses and debating whether I should leave the cozy warmth of my bed, put layers and layers of clothing on, go outside in the frigid air and try to round up a couple of horses in the darkness who have no earthly idea why I am out there, then YES, I blanket!!!

    (I have the horses at home 0
    "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


    • #22
      2 geldings 1 clipped 1 not ( but older )

      clipped guy gets:
      60-50 he gets a sheet
      sometimes a 100 gr depending
      50-40 med weight- with hood
      40-30-heavy weight- with hood
      30 and under I start layering

      Old man - 1st year he is not clipped
      60-50 sheet with a 100 gr under
      50-40 med weight
      40-30 heavy weight and will start layering
      30 and below he gets a minimum of 400 gr

      Sadly my old man gets very cold very quickly. He coliced last week when he got a little chilly wearing his 100 gr when it was 50 out but very windy. He now gets blanketed like he is clipped. I will also be getting him a hood for his heavy weight.


      • #23
        the real problem horses have is staying -cool-. we should be more worried about them in the summer


        I could not agree more! I do blanket my gelding but not heavily unless it is going to be less than 30 degrees and he is not super wooly. I always tell my BO that i would much rather him be slightly cool than too warm. On the other hand in the summer access to a stall to get out of the sun/heat is essential and i am a stickler for cold hosing my horse on the super hot days, i also do not ride. He is miserable in the heat and always appreciates a cold hose and sweat scrape on hot days.
        Last edited by LookinSouth; Dec. 12, 2012, 02:23 PM.


        • Original Poster

          I agree that it's not a "one size fits all" kind of thing. But for a boarding facility, its a lot to ask for the employee to have a different blanketing schedule for each horse. While that would be ideal, it's not always possible. The object of this was to see what other people are doing to have comparisons. I had someone ask me today what they should do as far as when to blanket so I figured instead of just giving them what I'd do, I'd get a bunch of opinions from the great minds here!

          This is the first winter I've given my horse a full clip (minus legs and ears). He lives outside with a run-in, but his buddies don't always let him in there. He tends to run a bit hot, and I can't be there to check when he's hot/cold so have to rely on barn staff. I'll have him home for a month soon, and I'll be able to guage it all better.

          Thanks for all the replies!
          "There is no secret so close as that between a rider and his horse." - Robert Smith Surtees


          • #25
            Originally posted by wendy View Post
            I wonder how you would even go about doing a real study along the lines of the fake CSU study, to see if a horse feels "cold" or not under various environmental conditions?
            Well, couldn't this easily be judged by observing each individual horse's 'puff factor'? Meaning how far they puff out their coats?

            I have a younger gelding whos winter coat is almost non existent, and an aged 32r old who has the most luxurious triple layer winter coat my hand can almost disappear in (though his coat is getting less shaggy as he ages but this is a totally different topic).

            Logic would dictate my sleek slippery little eel would become colder easier - in fact most people say 'oh he has no winter coat at all! you must have a zillion blankets!'. While I do indeed have a zillion blankets, its because I have a blanket fetish This gelding doesn't get cold hardly at all if I judge by how much he puffs his coat. It has to be under 25° to see any noticeable puff.

            My grand old man however will begin to puff his coat around 45°, and reaches maximum puff around 25° at which point he really appreciates clothing.

            My younger gelding hates foul weather, while the old man thinks he's a duck... so if its under 50 and expecting precip, both boys get sheets and nobody complains.

            While I used to have a tough policy on blanketing - only when *really* needed, and only sometimes then - I must admit I have come over to the dark side in recent years Both my horses benefit from BOT blankets, but my boys live out 24/7 and are hard on their clothes, so the weather has to be cold enough to allow the blanket AND a tough sheet over top.

            I find myself more and more not wondering if its so cold they need blankies, but if its cold enough that I can get away with blanketing them
            Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


            • #26
              Wow, my version of "cold" and a lot of the other posters version of "cold" certainly is much different!!!

              My "cold" where I blanket is 0 degrees for my gelding!!!
              "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


              • #27
                My gelding, 8 year-old Paint, lives out 24/7 in a relatively small paddock with a shed. He is unclipped an rarely wears clothes. However, if it 30-40 degrees and raining/freezing rain, I throw a sheet on him so he doesn't get soaked, especially if the forecast is for dropping temperatures in the hours after the rain. On dry and snowy days he's happier without anything on, although I do throw a medium weight liner under his TO Sheet the night before I have a clinic. It may just be making me feel better, but I think if he's going to work hard in a clinic than it's nice that he gets a little help staying warm the night before.


                • #28
                  I have three horses. We only have a run-in for shelter so no stalling. The 23 year old Arabian gets a blanket if it's 45 or below. It's a medium blanket. I have had her 6 years and she doesn't grow much coat and will shiver when it's cold so gets blanketed every winter the handful of days it gets cold here. She does not like being blanketed but will stand for it to be put on so I take that as a sign that she wants/needs it. Above a certain temp, she will walk off and not let me put it on.

                  One horse is new to us. He has a nice coat and so far seems to be handling the cold just fine.

                  The third horse I've had 5 years. He also gets a good coat (sometimes almost looks like a pony coat) and not only seems to handle the cold well, seems to enjoy it.

                  I also had a stray here that was mid to late 20s who didn't need a blanket.

                  I don't check ears or go by how much coat they grow. I go by whether they shiver.


                  • #29
                    To those people saying 'horses don't need blankets! They won't get cold!' seem to be forgetting that modern horses haven't faced natural selection to weed out the wusses and select for thick haired, tough horses. That's the same argument pro-barefoot people make, that wild horses don't need shoes, so why should modern horses? A lot of horses DO get cold, but others may be just fine in any weather.

                    Last year, one of my horses had 6 months off and I tried the no blanket route. He grew a thick coat and lived in a stall with a small paddock, out of the wind. If it got below 25ish, he would hide in his stall, tail clamped to his butt, shaking so hard he would get sore. So, he wore a blanket anytime it was below 30.

                    Of the two I have now, one (12 yo OTTB) runs hot (and sweats) and is unclipped, so he gets:
                    Above 50-nothing unless it pouring, then he gets a sheet
                    Below 40/rainy-sheet
                    Below 30-medium with neck
                    Below 20-Medium with medium stable blanket

                    My other (10yo OTTB) grows hair like a freaking moose and gets soaked every ride, so he gets a full body clip (leave legs and half of face).
                    45-55/rainy-sheet w/ hood
                    40-45-light medium w/ hood
                    30-40-stable blanket and light medium with hood
                    20-30-extra heavy w/ hood
                    Under 20- layer as needed

                    Before I bought him, he wore easily twice as many blankets and was just as happy, so he's pretty tolerant of any number of clothing.


                    • #30
                      Okay, this made me !!!!!!

                      Love your siggy too.

                      Originally posted by BEARCAT View Post
                      My new blanketing guideline:
                      If I think I might be laying awake in bed at night thinking that I really should have blanketed the horses and debating whether I should leave the cozy warmth of my bed, put layers and layers of clothing on, go outside in the frigid air and try to round up a couple of horses in the darkness who have no earthly idea why I am out there, then YES, I blanket!!!

                      (I have the horses at home 0
                      The barn I was at last winter (moved in March of this year to a different facility) turned out at night year round. Made blanketing difficult as he was blanketed for the low, not the high. And they didn't pull blankets during the day when they were in. So he "lived" in it. They also would make the blanket choice for me most of the time. But that's another story for another day.

                      New place turns out during the day in cold weather. Yay!

                      We are kinda playing it by ear this year. He is NOT clipped (decent coat) and doesn't have a shelter (just some trees). A month or so ago, the high was in the low 50's but it was a little windy and we had rain on and off. He was naked and ended up shivering when the BM got there to bring them in. BM tossed his cooler on when he came in and he dried off well and he was happy.

                      He has worn his sheet once since then and that was this past Monday when it was in the mid 40's early morning and the temps were going to drop to 30's with rain that morning until around lunch time and then snow flurries. BM put a sheet on him and she said he seemed very happy about that. So we know if it's going to be wet, windy and cool (low 50's and below), she will put his sheet on. Lesson learned.

                      He wears nothing at night when he's in the barn. And it's gotten down in the low 20's/upper teens this season so far. I figure if it gets into the mid teens and below, she can toss his fleece cooler on him for some warmth (it has 2 front clips, belly surcingles and a tail cord).

                      I suggested putting his mid-weight on him once the temps drop to 30 or below as a high for the day. But again, we will play it by ear. All the other times, when it seems cold to me, etc... he has come in and his ears are warm, etc. So he seems just fine.

                      I agree with blanketing as the horse needs it. They will tell you.


                      • #31
                        If you look at the U of Mn data, it states that dry horses are ok WITHOUT shelter until 5 degrees F (again, assuming unclipped, full fur, not ill/thin or wet).

                        Domestic horses are outside in Manitoba, Dakotas, on the plain, etc, all winter, no shelter, and are fine (yes, even TBs). They are fermentation vats, if you feed them, they stay nice and warm. Have you noticed that snow won't melt on their back in the cold? they are also insulated well.

                        Yes, there are exceptions, and when you are working them, there are other things to consider (cooling down before turnout, etc).

                        I do feel comfortable saying, however, that as rule, they do not NEED blankets. Once you put one on, the loft of their coat is shot, you have to keep doing it. I don't think I can get my (normal) horse as warm with a blanket as she would be with her full coat.

                        Where it is milder and you have to clip horse, then I think you have to worry about blankets more than you would in a cold climate.

                        I have not participated in a horse study like this, but I did help with one that looked at cattle breeds & effect of cold. animal was put in a closed area, oxygen consumption, CO2 production & body temp (imaging) was monitored. You drop temp and see when metabolism increases to try to make up for cold.

                        Apparently in the past they have tried it with Bison somewhere in CA...couldn't get it cold enough to affect the dang thing.


                        • #32
                          I'm from Canada, so I am used to thinking in celsius - these temps will not be exact, as a result.

                          I have a wimpy TB with no coat. She is out 24/7 with an apron clip. Has access to hay 24/7 and a shelter.

                          60 and rainy - light rain sheet
                          50 - light rain sheet. If it's raining, winter shell.
                          41 - winter shell. If it's raining, 150 fill.
                          32 - 150 fill + hood
                          23 - 300 fill
                          10 - 300 + 150

                          That being said, those are guidelines. Often when I think she has enough blankets, I'll check her ears and she will be cold. She's slender (not skinny, just not fat), so she needs her blankies.
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                          • #33
                            I'm pretty lax about blanketing....but I'm also in a fairly mild area. The lowest it gets is around 20 degrees, and that's maybe a smattering of days in January/February. Mostly it hovers around 50-60 degrees during the day, 30's-40's at night. Apollo is full-body clipped, so he does live in his blanket during the winter for the most part. My routine is as follows:

                            Above 65 degrees and dry: Schneider's fly sheet, which he lives in all summer as well. Ventilated enough to be wearable in 100 degree weather. Serves more as a cut/scrape/fly protection than anything else.
                            Between 55 and 65 and dry: Horze fleece base layer with fly sheet on top to prevent tearing/destruction of fleece. Also used if it will dip lower (high 40's) at night but be in 50's or 60's and sunny during the day.
                            Below 50 and dry: Lextron fleece-lined sheet over fleece base layer. This has kept him comfortable from 50 down to high 20's.

                            Anytime it's wet, he has the Lextron waterproof sheet on. I'll layer the fleece liner underneath as needed, usually when it's <50 and windy as well as rainy.

                            So overall, his wardrobe is pretty simple. Yeah, maybe he's a wimp, or I'm overprotective... but he's shiny, in good weight, and has not come in sweaty yet....so it seems to be working.


                            • #34
                              I have a weenie TB who HATES being cold. He's usually very calm and sweet, but when he's cold he's spooky and stupid. Horse lives out 24/7 (hates being stalled) and is trace-clipped.

                              50-60 rainsheet
                              40-50 medium weight
                              Under 40 the various liners come out. His Baker is usually enough unless it's below 20 or really windy. Then he uses a 200g stable blanket or his Rambo fleece cooler.

                              If it's raining I tend to blanket a little more.

                              ETA SE PA here, where the average temperature in the winter is probably between 30-40 for daytime highs.
                              I love my Econo-Nag!


                              • #35
                                It's been a while since I was taking care of horses, but we never clipped and blanketed routinely around 10 F. The horses had three-sided shelter. After long trail rides through the snow they were saturated. We'd put a blanket on, walk them for 1/2 mile or so and then let them be. When dry, we took the blankets off and brushed them to get some loft back in the coat.


                                • #36
                                  I have a barn full of wimps. A 15 year old pony who moved up here from down south, this is her first northern winter. She started shivering when it got down in the 30s (f) at night. She is now wearing a medium blanket (200g) day and night (day is in the low 40s, night is 20s.) If it is sunny and high 40s, it comes off. Also have a 24 year old pony who shivers when it's below 40. She shivers when she gets wet, so she will wear a rain sheet even if it's 60 as long as it's raining. She is wearing a slightly thicker turnout rug day and night, but again, if it's high 40s she is usually okay naked. Also have an 18 year old TB who is just a wimp, and shivers in the 40s. Same protocol for him. I don't want to see them shivering, I think it makes them sore and miserable. Sure, they shiver to keep warm but why let them? My horses are at home, it's not that difficult to blanket as needed. I think they tend to be less hardy in the fall than in the spring. By March, 40s will feel hot and blankets will come off for even low 40s.

                                  oh - I should add that my barn is nowhere near airtight, and I don't want it to be. They are sheltered, but the walls have lots of gaps. South facing stall doors are never closed. West facing main doors will only be closed on brutal nights, but nobody is in a direct line with those, they open on the aisle. West facing stall doors were open until temps started going into the 20s at night. Horses need fresh air!
                                  Last edited by 4cornersfarm; Dec. 13, 2012, 11:02 AM. Reason: adding info about barn
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                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by Hippolyta View Post
                                    Domestic horses are outside in Manitoba, Dakotas, on the plain, etc, all winter, no shelter, and are fine (yes, even TBs). They are fermentation vats, if you feed them, they stay nice and warm. Have you noticed that snow won't melt on their back in the cold? they are also insulated well.

                                    I do feel comfortable saying, however, that as rule, they do not NEED blankets.
                                    I agree that most horses don't *need* blankets, if you are willing to provide them with good shelter and as much hay as they want. That is one other reason to provide horses with at least a windproof sheet and/or blanket - so that they don't have to eat 40lbs of hay a day in the winter. My TB mare would, and could eat that much by herself in the winter and I have no doubt she would be warm. But, if I blanket her when it is below 30F, and I know she has shelter and water along with a reasonable supply of hay, she will be warm and I won't be broke.


                                    • #38
                                      Both of my two are not clipped. My horse grows a thinner coat though it does fluff some. She likes her blanket. My pony though has a yak coat and sweats in the barn at night unless it's below 40degrees.

                                      Outside during the day no wind above 45degrees they are naked.

                                      Outside during the night for horse between 45 and below, she gets a medium blanket. I've never had her sweat with her blanket on at thos temps. Pony doesn't get anything unless it's raining or if it's going to be in low 30's at night and she's outside. Then she gets her medium (I've checked her and she doesn't get hot). If she's inside she gets nothing.

                                      Outside during the day below 45degrees horse gets medium and seems happy with that unless it's 20degrees which doesn't happen very often. I will layer if it does..plus I have neck covers which I haven't had to use yet.

                                      If it's really windy like today with winds 15-20mph and it's 47degrees feeling like 40 then they both have their sheets on as a windblock.

                                      My horses are right in my front yard (aka pasture) so I check on them all the time. Blankets go on or off if need or they get put inside or taken back out when needed. Love having them home :0)


                                      • #39
                                        I have a TB who grows a short, but fairly dense winter coat. I blanket based on what the low for the night will be and the high the next day will be (unless there is some crazy vacillation between the night low and the day high, then I have to make some judgement calls!). I also have to take into account that my former weather-wimp no longer cares to be blanketed since she's learned to grow some winter fuzz. lol

                                        -Light turnout sheet (it's lined but no fill) if it's going down into to the 20s (unless it's going to be, like, 45 the next day, then I might vote not to sheet, she's inside with no wind...but typically a night in the 20s will result in a day in the 30s here).

                                        -Rambo heavyweight turnout blanket if it's going below the 20s.

                                        -Rambo heavyweight with jousting horse gear (a.k.a. neck cover) if it's going below the teens.

                                        This is the first year I have access to TWO sheets, so I may have to adjust my scale since I can layer in more ways.


                                        • #40
                                          And then there is my mare who is wearing 2 medium blankets and a hood, inside, when it is 45 degrees! She is half-arab and grows no fur, you should see the look I get when I try to take the blankets off her