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Overblanketing paranoia. A few questions...

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  • Overblanketing paranoia. A few questions...

    While I have an obsession with blankets, I try to avoid overblanketing at all possible costs. So for you blanketing gurus, I have a couple questions.

    1. Would you prefer a horse to be too warm or a bit chilly? What if the horse had a cold, with a minor temp?

    2. While I laugh at the fact I'm calling 35 degree weather cold, for SoCal that is COLD. Plus it has been raining quite a bit recently. Both my horses are in mid-weight blankets and are happy campers. Both have been body clipped...one is completely grown out and due for another, the other was done about a month ago. Would adding a high-neck rain sheet, no fill, on top of a mid-weight add much warmth? I mostly just want more neck protection, especially since one or both will be getting body clipped next week.

    3. It has been suggested to me that when I do body clip again, to add another layer, such as a fleece. I am just so paranoid of over-blanketing that I'm worried it will be too much. Blankets are removed daily as long as its not raining, and when it is raining during the day but isn't overly cold, rain sheets are put on instead.

    TIA. Just looking for some advice, since I don't have any real facts behind how I blanket other than past experiences.
    runnjump86 Instagram

    Horse Junkies United guest blogger

  • #2
    Usually, I prefer that horses that are OUT and moving around be a wee bit on the cool side than warm. They can warm themselves up by playing and moving if they need to. I also prefer chubby horses to be a little cool, as they'll burn a few extra calories trying to stay warm. But, I do have a few horses that I may bundle up more for various reasons. My horse gets tight in his back when he's cold, so I try to keep him a little warmer to avoid that (but he's a delicate balance, as he sweats easily...and is allergic to his sweat ). A thin horse or one who is prone to shedding weight too easily, I'll typically keep a little warm.

    I do find throwing a hooded sheet can really up the warmth. You can try different layers (like a regular sheet plus the hooded one, or a fleece or thin liner plus the hooded sheet), to find a balance.

    I find blanketing to be one of the biggest "it depends" horse issues. I refuse to follow a temp chart of any sort, and horses, like people, are so different in their comfort levels. I try never to blanket them to how I feel (I am ALWAYS cold!), but to get to know the horse and what makes them happiest.

    I get the impression you are around your horses a lot, so I would be less concerned about overblanketing them, as you can check on them frequently. I do that, for all my horses, but, I've also gotten to the point where I can be pretty accurate with what they will need for a given day or night (as long as the weathermen aren't WAY off!).


    • #3
      I would prefer mine be slightly on the cooler side than being too warm. They can always move around, cuddle up, or eat more hay. 35 degree weather and clipped horse would be in a med weight for me. I add a liner underneath if its in the 20s and windy and/or snowy. Typically I don't use more than a medium weight.
      "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

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      • #4
        In those conditions, my horse would be in a midweight turnout, as she will be tonight when it dips to 27 (which is super cold for ENC!). She's unclipped but doens't grow a fluffy winter coat. If it's in the low 60s and I got to take her sheet off, she's not sweaty. It definitely depends on the horse.
        Gracious "Gracie," 2002 TB mare
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        • #5
          Originally posted by runNjump86 View Post
          1. Would you prefer a horse to be too warm or a bit chilly? What if the horse had a cold, with a minor temp?
          I'd prefer a bit too chilly, but it depends on the situation and how long they'll be a little cold/warm.

          If the horse is sick, that's tough and would depend on what I know about the horse. If it's not wet out, I'd prefer a little cool, I think. But if it's wet, I'd prefer to have them inside. If that's not possible, I THINK, though might change my thought at the time, I'd still prefer a little cool.

          2. While I laugh at the fact I'm calling 35 degree weather cold, for SoCal that is COLD. Plus it has been raining quite a bit recently. Both my horses are in mid-weight blankets and are happy campers. Both have been body clipped...one is completely grown out and due for another, the other was done about a month ago. Would adding a high-neck rain sheet, no fill, on top of a mid-weight add much warmth? I mostly just want more neck protection, especially since one or both will be getting body clipped next week.
          A sheet that is on top of a blanket adds a layer of air that traps heat, so yes, it can add some good warmth - that's actually what I do when it's really cold here - teens with wind - add a high-neck sheet on top of my med-weight blankets. Your fuzzy horse might be too warm, the more recently clipped one might be ok

          3. It has been suggested to me that when I do body clip again, to add another layer, such as a fleece. I am just so paranoid of over-blanketing that I'm worried it will be too much. Blankets are removed daily as long as its not raining, and when it is raining during the day but isn't overly cold, rain sheets are put on instead.
          I would think that fleece constantly against a recently clipped body would be very annoying. Fleece as a layer by itself tends to keep moisture in it, not moving it around, but 'fleece" is very subjective and a given material might be good at wicking the moisture off the horse, and that makes all the difference in the world

          TIA. Just looking for some advice, since I don't have any real facts behind how I blanket other than past experiences.
          Facts are facts until you have reality get in the way LOL I mean, you can look at general facts about horses all day, but individuals are what they are and you go by feel much of the time in cases like this.
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


          • #6
            If your horses are happy campers as you say, then whatever you're doing is fine.

            I personally want any chubby ones to be slightly on the cold side so the calories burned are working in their favor. That does NOT mean I want them shivering and uncomfortable. Just burning calories.

            Everyone else I aim for comfortable, but not to the point of obsession. They have mid- and heavy-weight blankets and they get plenty of hay and shelter and I try very hard to leave it up to barn staff to swap them if they're boarded and I go by the prevailing forecast if I'm the one changing blankets.
            Click here before you buy.


            • #7
              To address your first question, I prefer my horses to be a bit on the cooler side that too warm. Both of my horses are sufficiently fuzzy, stabled at night, and are blanketed and are of ideal (if not a little above ideal) weight. I would prefer that they get a little chill, rather than be too warm, get sweaty, and then get really cold.

              2) Adding a high neck sheet with no fill will add some warmth, but you would be better off with a full hood, which would be a good idea for a clipped horse. I live in northern Vermont, so 35 is warm, but temperature is relative to your horse and his amount of winter coat.

              3) I HATE fleece!! I do not add fleece layers ever! They static shocks the horses when you take them on/off, but the big problem for me is that fleece DOES NOT breathe, and does not wick. It doesn't breathe, so the horse can get too warm. Then they get sweaty and hot, and the moisture doesn't wick away so they stay wet and can chill really easily. HATE fleece!!!!

              If you clip your horses again, I would say switch from the midweight that they're wearing now, and go to a heavy weight with a high neck or full hood. I understand buying another blanket is an expense, so consider layering a stable blanket underneath which I think would be better than fleece.

              I like to stay simple with my blanketing too. I hate layering and I want the piece of mind knowing that my horses are truly warmer when it gets colder and I change them to a warmer blanket. Right now they wear turnout sheets from 30-40*, midweight rhino turnouts from 20-30* and heavy rambo turnouts when it's below 20*. Each horse has a stable blanket that gets layered under their rambo if it gets below 10*.


              • #8
                Well to oppose what most others have said, I prefer my mare on the warm side because she seems to prefer that! She was raised in VA and now lives in MA. It's pretty chilly up here right now (19 degrees currently). She is not clipped because she barely grows a coat, therefore barely sweats.

                The muscles in her back are very sensitive to being cold as well. She's in full work and it is just not good for conditioning for her back to be tensed all day outside. Shes out for about 8 hours a day, but does not have unlimited hay outside. She is a chestnut mare to the bone, and is really grumpy when she's cold but is much more pleasant when blanketed a bit heavier. I don't let her sweat under blankets but I do make sure it's nice and cozy under there. I also ride with a quarter sheet even if she gets a little sweat on her neck from it. I'd rather her be warm and loose from the start and I just have to walk her out an extra five minutes for her to dry.


                • #9
                  I'm in S. Cali and both of mine are body clipped. They are stalled and wearing medium weight blankets. Our temps have dipped a bit and the rain is coming a bit earlier than usual. Typically, we don't drop into the 30s until Jan/Feb but last year we had a few weeks in the 20s which was super cold for us! I'm from the Midwest so I know it's relative...lol
                  I am going to try to avoid doing a second body clip. If I'm successful, then I'll keep the blanket situation as-is. If temps drop lower I may put their BOT sheets under the blankets. I'm tempted by the idea of neck cover but will only give it serious consideration if I have to clip again. But then again, both of mine are stalled, not in pipe corrals. If they were in pipes, I would be more concerned about the rain and falling temps with a recent body clip.


                  • #10
                    I'm with most, I prefer my guy to be slightly cold. Of course, he lives outside in Georgia and isn't clipped at all so we haven't had to put any sort of blanket on him yet (then again, it hardly gets below 30 for an extended period of time so...).

                    If it were really wet and freezing, though, I'd want him in a blanket.
                    The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                    Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


                    • #11
                      I think it also makes a difference whether the horse is free to move around to keep warm, or is stalled. A stalled horse cannot use movement and that heat-generating muscle activity to stay warm the way one in turnout can do.
                      RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


                      • #12
                        It depends on what you mean by too warm. If a horses is sweating under blankets that's too much, period, but I know some horses who don't "play" as much in the winter and need extra blankets or they'll be too cold. It depends on the horse.

                        Blanketing is a lot of trial and error. What works for one horse may not work for another. At one of the barns I currently go to, they keep the show coats year round. Some horses have ridiculous blanket setups (sleezy, then sheet, then stable blanket with hood, then another stable blanket, then a lined heavy turnout) and we still battle fuzzies and don't deal with sweat. Others there cannot handle more than a sheet, a stable blanket and maybe a turnout or they'll be drenched in sweat.

                        I prefer warm enough to inhibit loooong fuzzy growth, but not so warm that they'd sweat if they moved around in a paddock. I like layers so if it warms up I can take them off and change them throughout the day. Hard to do if you're not at the barn all day, though, like I am.


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks all. Back in IL, blanketing was SO easy! Cold = blanket Not Cold = no blanket, lol!

                          Overblanketing is very popular here in So Cal. Horses are kept in pipe corrals, so they can move, just not frolic and play. Both horses get quite fuzzy. When I body clipped my Arab/QH it was just starting to get chilly at night, so there was no need for a layer. When I body clipped the TB it was still only getting down to the mid 40's, so he started wearing his mid-weight.

                          If I wasn't needing to buy blankets/sheets I wouldn't worry about it. But I need a new sheet for both, so I'm torn between a high neck or regular neck. Then I wonder if I should just purchase neck covers for their blankets. Ugh. So many options!!
                          runnjump86 Instagram

                          Horse Junkies United guest blogger


                          • #14
                            ^ I would go with a regular neck and buy a neck cover to attach when you feel they need a little extra coverage.


                            • Original Poster

                              The only issue I have with that is the neck covers have fill and are designed to go with a specific blanket. The Arab/QH needs a new blanket, but the TB has a Weatherbeeta that came with him that I'd like to keep using. Benefit of a high-neck rain sheet would be I could use it when the temps rise.

                              Man. Shopping for horse clothes is harder than shopping for my clothes!!!
                              runnjump86 Instagram

                              Horse Junkies United guest blogger