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Blanketing Guideline Poll!

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  • Blanketing Guideline Poll!

    Ok all, out of pure curiosity (ok, and a bit of avoiding finals studying!) what temperature guidelines do you use for your horses? Clipped and un-clipped?

    What I tend to go by:
    40s - sheet
    30s - medium
    20s - heavy
    Less than that I start the layering
    More individualized but typically <30 - medium
    Don't really need a heavy here very often for the unclipped guys.

    So what's your method for the madness? Also if anyone has links to any evidence based methods I would be forever greatful!
    "There is no secret so close as that between a rider and his horse." - Robert Smith Surtees

  • #2
    This thread has been repeated every year, multiple times.... here, here, here, and here.

    An excerpt from U of MN, and a "study" from CSU that turned out to be fake, but don't know if someone found any other validated studies and may have posted about it.


    • #3
      If I put a medium on my unclipped horses at anything near 30 or even just below, they woudl sweat like crazy!

      I keep them unclipped, naked.

      If its precipitating and the water is either 1) freezing to their hair, or 2) penetrating the hair (like driving rain), I will put them in to dry off and the next day, if the precipitation is continuing, I will put a no-fill, waterproof sheet.

      If its dry but below 10 degrees, I will blanket my mare in a 180gm stable blanket with her sheet on top. Or, if she is indicating to me that she's chilly (butt to wind, waiting at the gate, or shivering at all). My gelding gets his 180 gm and sheet if its 0 or below.
      "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


      • #4
        I'm much more unscientific. I'f I need to bundle up, I bundle them up a bit, I feel their ears, I feel inside the blanket, but on the wet coast here we don't have the huge extremes.
        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


        • #5
          I learned long ago that my horses hate wearing blankets. I just feed them well, give them access to adequate shelter where they are completely out of any weather when they choose to use it (which is a lot) and they are perfectly happy even when the windchill is 40 below.


          • #6
            My horse has a bip clip, lives out 24/7, and gets a waterproof sheet if its 50s and below and raining or 40s and below and not raining.

            If it gets into the low 20's and stays there (i.e., not 20's at night but then high 40's during the day), I'll add a fleece liner. Blizzard or continuous torrential rain storm, I'll add an unlined neck cover.

            If he wasnt clipped I'd do a sheet when its raining and cold.

            I'd way rather him be too cold than ever be too warm. Mostly I sheet him to keep him dry and clean-er!
            Barn rat for life


            • #7
              My mare doesn't grow much hair. Nice when showing, not so nice for staying warm. Our wind comes from the west, and unfortunately there is no shelter from the wind in the pasture. Barn is a mare motel type setup, which has a roof and windblock on two sides, but is definitely breezy.

              If it is above 55F, rain, sun or wind, no blanket. If it is 40-55F and wet and/or windy, rain sheet. Below 40F and sunny, light turnout. Below 40F and rainy/windy, medium turnout. Really cold, 20's and below, heavy blanket.

              Zil will DEMAND her blanket if she is cold. I left it within her reach a few weeks ago and she pulled it in to her stall and had "burrowed" into it and her shavings. I went out to feed her in the morning and found she had made a nest in her shavings and the blanket was about 1/2 covering her. I felt bad about it, the weather forcast said it wasn't supposed to get below 45 overnight so I didn't blanket her. I woke up to frost on the ground.

              When I had her at a boarding barn I would only blanket her when she was clipped or if it was going to be freezing overnight. Barn was well ventilated, but not breezy.
              It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
              Theodore Roosevelt


              • #8
                Most people I know select blankets by observing whether they, themselves, are cold or not, which is a very invalid method- horses are remarkably cold- and weather-resistant, and people are not. In general I don't think unclipped horses should need blanketing, ever, and in general I don't think very many horses actually need to be clipped.

                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?


                • #9
                  If my horses had a shelter where they could go on their own, I would not blanket, probably ever. However, because they don't have a run-in or in/out access to stalls, I will blanket based on my previous post guidelines.

                  Hopefully next winter I will have the stalls set up so they can go in/out at will.
                  "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by wendy View Post
                    in general I don't think very many horses actually need to be clipped.
                    While they may not NEED to be clipped, I agree that making a hairy horse sweaty during regular riding in the winter is more harmful than clipping and blanketing accordingly.

                    And I'm not a clipper, because I ride very rarely in the winter, but when I do, and he gets sweaty, I can see why people who do ride often prefer to clip!
                    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                    • #11
                      My horse grows a decent coat, but he looses weight if he is left unblanketed when it starts cooling down.
                      He gets his unlined rainsheet when it consistently goes below 10C at night. I'll put on his 100g sheet if it is raining heavily.
                      I don't start layering blankets until after he is clipped.
                      Proud mother to Matt, a 18 year-old TB gelding.



                      • #12
                        My are spoiled so anything under 40 gets a heavy blanket. I only own heavy blankets and anything above 40 they are good. Never had them sweat under it or feel to hot so it seems to work just fine. I'm down south though so I think my horses are somewhat wussies lol.
                        Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                        • #13
                          My horses are kept under lights so they do not grow a coat. The barn never drops below 40 degrees in the winter.

                          Inside they were a mid-weight stable blanket, when they go outside the get a heavy weight blanket put over what they have on.

                          If it is above 50 degrees they get a liner and a turnout sheet.

                          Above 60 just the turnout sheet.

                          If it drops below 25 degrees they stay in, if it gets above 90 degrees they stay in with fans on them.

                          They don't go out in rain, snow or cold windy conditions.

                          They are however worked everyday - each getting 1 day off a week.


                          • #14
                            We ride thru the winter, so we blanket...keeps them a bit less hairy and keeps the nasties off of them. We take the blankets off every day for a quick curry and check. We also have multiple blankets for each horse, no one has to go for days with a wet, sodden blanket. Sometimes the "blanket" consists of just a rain sheet..when it averages in the 30s I use a medium weight...blowing wind,freezing rain/
                            sleet and freezing cold is when they get their heavy jammies.


                            • #15
                              I don't think you can go by a chart. It all depends on the horse (age, breed - what type of winter coat do they grow) and the climate as to which they are use to.

                              I'm on the west coast.

                              At my place I have:
                              12 yr old TB - grows a mild coat
                              14 yr old TB - grows almost NO winter coat
                              17 yr old TB - grows a fuzzy coat.
                              6 yr old Mustang - grows a thick coat

                              If it's going to be into the mid to low 40's or below, blankets go on all of them except the Mustang.

                              The older TB gets a medium, the other two get ultra lite blankets.

                              We don't usually get into the 30's at night but sometimes we do.


                              • #16
                                All I can do is try to describe what we do. I own 5 horses mainly TBs, and 6 other horses are boarded with us. We have two rules:
                                1. Follow the blanketing charts on the front of each stall.
                                2. Do not blanket at night when the horses are in.

                                Details: Our blanketing charts are a grid. Across the top columns are labeled "Expected high temp", "No wind or precipitation", "Windy and/or precip" . Down the left side under expected high temp we have ">50", ">40", ">32" "20-32" and "<20". In each of the boxes created in the grid, the owner writes what they want their horse to wear. In general, whatever the horse might wear at, say sunny 32 degrees is what it would wear at 40 degrees with precipitation. Does that make sense? I don't clip my horses, but I have been taught, and believe that if a horse stays dry and out of the wind, it'll stay warm in even very cold weather, but since we don't have run ins, our horses are stuck out in the wind and wet. I've also been taught that any blanket or turn out sheet compresses the horse's coat and drastically reduces the insulating value even if unclipped. Therefore, if you're going to put anything on the horse, make sure there is an appropriate amount of fill.

                                Our barn is fairly tight, although there is good air circulation. We've found over the years that if we don't blanket at night, the warmth from the horses' bodies keeps the buckets from freezing. If we blanket (and therefore keep the body heat from circulating) we have frozen buckets in the morning. The nice thing is that we haven't had any skin or respiratory issues in 25 years of doing this.

                                Best of luck developing your blanketing plan.
                                They don't call me frugal for nothing.
                                Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


                                • #17
                                  I cannot fathom having any sort of covering on a horse when it's above 60*!

                                  It depends on the individual horse, not a chart.

                                  Mine (TBs/QHs) that are unclipped are naked no matter what the temperature. Only if it's raining/sleeting do they get a no-fill sheet on. If it's wet snow, I'll put a sheet on, but not if it's just flurries/light snow. If I'm feeling particularly generous, they get sheets when the wind is really kicking up. They go out all day, every day, unless it's icy.

                                  My TB baby (4) is trace clipped right now and is the marvel of the barn. She goes out naked as long as it's above 40 and dry. I tried sheeting her when she was first clipped and she was miserable...she runs hot and she came in (this is clipped) soaked in sweat under just a no-fill sheet. So she goes out naked, missing half her fur, unless it's wet. We haven't hit many days under 40 yet, but she will get a sheet for those, just to make me feel better. I do have a medium weight for her, but suspect it will only be used a few times.

                                  "Under-blanketing," as it were, with plenty of hay, is so much better than over-blanketing.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by blue&blond View Post
                                    I don't think you can go by a chart. It all depends on the horse (age, breed - what type of winter coat do they grow) and the climate as to which they are use to.
                                    Agreed. My 18 year old TB mare is blanketed with a medium turnout under 30 degrees or so....depends on the wind and precipitation. My paint mare hates to be blanketed and is always hairy and on the warm side (as well as fat), so she goes naked. Have a new mare that seems to have no coat, so she gets blanketed along with the TB....and the ponies both have blankets but I think they would spontaneously combust if I blanketed them above 20F or so....maybe I'll use them if we get sleet/freezing rain this winter.


                                    • #19
                                      Unless they are working & clipped, or older/sick/special, as long as they can stay dry, no blanket. they are furnaces & can live pretty much on the tundra.

                                      All winter ppl fuss over blankets, I don't think they are ever as warm with a blanket than they are with their own fluff. Once you put one on, you better be damn sure you've got the weight right as temps change. I don't think they even like blankets. It makes us feel better, but we aren't horses. Same goes for bringing them inside.

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


                                      • #20
                                        OK, I need to clarify. Each owner sets up a blanket chart for their individual horse. We do our best to accommodate their wishes. There are plenty that wear nothing unless winds are gusting 25 mph with freezing rain. And GoforaGallop, you probably get the same mud season we do: there can be a very good reason to put a sheet on a horse that's turned out before a lesson even if it is 60 degrees .
                                        They don't call me frugal for nothing.
                                        Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.