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My boys were shivering this morning - blankets

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  • My boys were shivering this morning - blankets

    It wasn't that cold (40), and not raining much when my husband fed them at 8am. They were not shivering according to him at that time. He put hay out in the paddock which I guess they consumed in the pouring rain and then 1.5 hrs later were wet and shivering. Full body shivering too.

    I read the recent thread about horses not needing blankets even in rain and snow. Mine all have healthy coats, but they sure needed sheets/blankets this morning. This winter I've been trying to be more of blanket minimalist and letting nature do it's job, but clearly in rain they do need something when it's below a certain temp. At least mine do. And they had shelter.

    Anyway, this brings up a question. When your horse is already wet and it's not that cold out, will a waterproof sheet help them stay warm or just make them colder?

    I put them in stalls to dry out and put blankets on, but in a situation when you don't put them up to dry, what's the best thing to put on?

  • #2
    If they are really soaked through, I'll put a cooler then a waterproof sheet on, and pull the cooler once they have warmed up/dried out. If just damp, I'll just put a sheet on--their body warmth soon builds up and dries them out. Modern sheets are so lightweight and theoretically permeable from inside to out, rather than outside to in, that I find this works pretty well.

    The wind block aspect is one of the most important elements to getting them warmed through again.

    I'll also throw extra hay to get the central heating revved up a bit.

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree with the above.

      If they are WET, and you do not have a place to bring them in to dry, I put a cooler or an Irish knit under the sheet to soak up water – or heck, even towels would work. Pull them out once they have absorbed some water – switch to dry ones if the horse is still wet, and you have extra layers to swap out.

      If really in a pinch, and no place to dry the horse, or extra coolers – you can stuff hay under the sheet to absorb water, just like the coolers, swap it out as water is absorbed.
      APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

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      • #4
        To rev the engine some, you might walk them for 10-20 minutes. That can raise the body temp without creating sweat.

        Comment


        • #5
          If you have polarfleece coolers, put them on under the blankets. Polarfleece stays warm even when wet and also does a good job of wicking moisture.

          FWIW, none of the oldies here are clipped but if it's going to rain and/or be extremely windy with temps below 50 degrees, I automatically put rain sheets or blankets on. It seems if I don't, I'll have a shivering horse even though they have access to cover.
          http://thepitchforkchronicles.com

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          • #6
            My horses have a run-in shed, but I also put their hay out on days like this. They do get wet and shiver while eating their hay, but they go back into the shed, warm up and dry with no blankets or sheets.

            Shivering in horses is a voluntary thing, that they do while a little chilled to keep warm/warm themselves back up. Think of it more as their vibrating internal heater.

            As long as they have a good natural coat, and are in good weight, that is all they need, unless they are older (20s?) and have other issues.

            Sheets and blankets will flatten the "puff" out of the coat and take away their natural insulation. If you use a sheet for a few hours, a couple of times a month, that probably will not thin out the coat.

            If they choose to stand out and shiver, even though they have good access to a shed (no horse intimidating them to not get under cover), then they would rather turn on their vibrator to be outside for longer.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mkevent View Post
              If you have polarfleece coolers, put them on under the blankets. Polarfleece stays warm even when wet and also does a good job of wicking moisture.
              ....
              Wool also has this property (keeps warm when wet). Cotton does not- and I don't like to use a cotton irish knit or other cotton cooler in the winter if wetness is an issue.

              Comment


              • #8
                OP, can you feed them in their run-in (I'm guessing that's what the shelter in the pasture is) when it is raining?
                DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
                  OP, can you feed them in their run-in when it is raining?
                  I don't like to feed in the shed, as I don't want any horse to get defensive about that space. They can eat out and get a bit wet, go back under the shed to warm up after they eat.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Yes I would have put them in their stalls with hay, but my hubby fed and didn't know to do that.

                    I was just surprised to see them shivering...first time ever.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Agree with the cooler and sheet over the top. I've also used old bed blankets and baler twine when I didn't own rugs.

                      I hate cold and wet and we have no shelter when ours are out so we tend to blanket. Below 50 with rain they get their *raincoats*. No insulation but water proof and wind proof. Below 30, they get their light insulted waterproof/windproof. It has to get really really cold before we get out the big winter rugs. We usually blanket all winter. No shelter and fierce wind. We also let them into the barn yard so they can snuggle on the south and east side of the barn.

                      For us it's more important that they be outside, even if blanketed, than inside. They would prefer to stay in. Turn out for stall cleaning while eating their hay and then back in would be their ideal. I kick their sorry butts outside for at 1/2 a day!
                      Ride like you mean it.

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                      • #12
                        "Shivering in horses is a voluntary thing, that they do while a little chilled to keep warm/warm themselves back up. Think of it more as their vibrating internal heater."


                        I have to say, I simply don't understand this way of thinking. Please provide links to actual studies, or I call total BS. Mammals do not turn shivering on and off at whim, and they are neither happy nor comfortable if they are OP, I would bring them in to dry and cover them with a fleece cooler, then put them out with a waterproof turnout on.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          TotB, I agree with you. I can't imagine that a shivering horse is comfortable. I know that if I am shivering for a while, I am exhausted afterwards. Shivering seems like a last ditch means for preventing freezing to death, rather than a voluntary and comfortable activity.

                          My horses have shivered only a few times in the 28 years we have had them at home, with constant access to the barn. They walk into the barn and eat more hay long before they shiver.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I've had to put sheets on wet horses. Not sopping wet, but more than damp. They dried out fine, because modern sheets are breathable. At 40 degrees and rainy, I would just use a sheet with no fill. I'm in California, so it's rarely any colder than that and raining. Any time it's really cold, it's dry (it doesn't snow where I live).

                            I no longer believe that a sheet flattens their hair and makes them cold. I sometimes leave the sheet on in between storms, and they are always warm underneath the sheet. There's really no way to know if their hair is flat because the sheet is flattening it, or if it's flat because they are warm under the sheets. But they always feels warm underneath.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              My Tb mare hates to be cold.She starts getting a turnout sheet on when it gets in the low 50's. If it is in the 40's even with a sheet, my mare is shivering uncontrollably. She has been wearing a sheet and blanket(midweight) for several months. The last few weeks, I have switched to her heavy weight and sheet with her neck cover. She never grows a very heavy coat and is very happy to have her blankets on.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by TotB View Post
                                "Shivering in horses is a voluntary thing, that they do while a little chilled to keep warm/warm themselves back up. Think of it more as their vibrating internal heater."


                                I have to say, I simply don't understand this way of thinking. Please provide links to actual studies, or I call total BS. Mammals do not turn shivering on and off at whim, and they are neither happy nor comfortable if they are OP, I would bring them in to dry and cover them with a fleece cooler, then put them out with a waterproof turnout on.
                                I agree. This is nothing more than a convenient theory for people who don't want to blanket their horses.

                                Think about it, are YOU comfortable when you are shivering? My guess is No. So take proper care of your horses, and prevent them from getting so cold and wet that they shiver.

                                ETA - that "you" wasn't aimed at anyone in particular, just a general "you."
                                "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  You can always thatch them. Fluff a few flakes of hay. Place a sheet on the horse and then stuff the space between the horse and the sheet with the fluffed hay. It will wick the moisture and offer a thick insulation layer. It falls out on its own as the horse moves around.
                                  Ideally you could hose them with hot water as soothing penetrates faster. Then scrape really well, then thatch.
                                  Anytime it's below 55* my boys have something on, so I haven't thatched in years, but a good skill to have none the less.
                                  www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                                  chaque pas est fait ensemble

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by retrofit View Post
                                    I agree. This is nothing more than a convenient theory for people who don't want to blanket their horses.

                                    Think about it, are YOU comfortable when you are shivering? My guess is No. So take proper care of your horses, and prevent them from getting so cold and wet that they shiver.

                                    ETA - that "you" wasn't aimed at anyone in particular, just a general "you."
                                    Emphatic agreement. I was missing the Thumbs Down for that bizarre statement.


                                    Anyway, this brings up a question. When your horse is already wet and it's not that cold out, will a waterproof sheet help them stay warm or just make them colder
                                    No. If already wet and shivering unlined sheets are not much use as they flatten the coat . As others have said, there should be a liner or some fill in the rug and if horse is shivering and wet, you'll want to change liner or blanket later.

                                    Not all horses require blankets, but if the horse is shivering, that is not OK.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      If mine get wet and cold, I tend to put on a heavier blanket than they need and let them dry themselves from the inside out. If it was in the 40's and you were going to put them inside with hay to dry out, I'd scrape as much as I could with a sweat scraper and put on their mid weights, maybe even heavies. Whatever would make them comfortable fast and get their internal temp back up. I confess to doing this overnight and coming out to warm, dry horses and dry blankets in the morning.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        I don't know what to think about the sheets. I have rambos and amigos and this is what I've used most of the winter as it is just not that cold here.

                                        Yesterday though after they were wet and put in their stalls (with blankets) all day to warm up, it was drizzling and in the 40's at dinner time. For t/o I put the sheets on and when I came out around 8 to feed hay, none of them were warm feeling under the sheet, however, other times the are. Maybe they had trouble getting their "core" temp up after being wet in the morning.

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