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No winter coat, blanketing questions, help!

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  • No winter coat, blanketing questions, help!

    I have an 18 yr old Appy that is not getting wooly at all. No loft or fuzz to his coat. He has been blanketed when the weather is very wet, or damp/into the 40's and below of course. When I bought him last fall, he was blanketed every time I went to visit/ride him - he is grey/white base color and it was so muddy last fall, that's how the owner kept him clean for potential buyers to see and try him. I was hoping we could go into winter this time with some decent coat but it's not happening. He's kind of built like a TB and is a very hard keeper (was very thin and undermuscled when I got him, but now greatly improved). He is out 24/7 - has been all his life. He has arthritis so I prefer him out but stalling is an option.

    Today it was very windy, in the 40's and damp and my teacher thought she saw him shiver a bit - I didn't but she mentioned his coat to me and that it was a concern that it's not winterizing yet. His nutrition is good (TC complete, hay, rice bran pellets, Plat. Performance CJ and I just started alfalfa/timothy cubes going into winter - his teeth are worn down so it takes him long to chew and process hay.)

    I have a good winter blanket - med to heavy weight. Do some horses simply not get that coat?? He's my first horse so this is a bit new to me. I need to keep him warm so he doesn't lose the weight we worked so hard to put on. I guess my only choice is to keep blanketing at this point but would love any thoughts.

  • #2
    My trainer has a QH mare who simply grows no winter coat. None. No seasonal difference in coat texture or thickness at all. And she's younger than your Appy and has always been that way.

    I think it seems to be most common in Arabians, TBs and horses with a lot of TB blood (The Coatless Wonder is Three Bars lined).

    If he's really not growing in any coat at all, then I say go ahead and blanket.
    Manes And Tales


    • #3
      My gelding is the same way. Born up here in Canada but he gets NO coat.
      All the horses up here look like yaks but he is mister peach fuzz.

      I swear his winter coat is thinner than most horses summer coat. You can actually tell when he has worked hard as his veins show even through his not-a-winter-coat.

      Very TB looking Standardbred.


      • #4
        I have a couple that don't grow much winter coat. They wear turn-out sheets or blankets if it's going to be very cold or cold and wet.


        • #5
          Not very helpful, but I have a pony that's been "winterizing" for the last month. She has enough hair, and will have WAY more later, to supply several horses twice her size. Supposed to get down into the low 20's tonight, our first hard freeze of the season, oh yay!! NOT!! They may be ready, but I'm sure not.

          I'd blanket him just so you don't lose what he's put on. I have a varnish roan appy and she's always the last to get her winter coat on. Her hair is mainly thicker vs long and thick. She stays really warm in the winter due to the density of her coat.

          Good luck w/ your boy.
          A Merrick N Dream Farm
          Proud Member of "Someone Special to me serves in the Military" Clique


          • #6
            we have an Ap in the barn that does not get furry fuzzy , but this hair lays flat and it is thicker with more hair.

            it is like the hair does not wish to stand up and it is a challenge to shave him.

            That said, our horses wear blankets 24/7 starting soon ( we are still getting temps during the day of about 55 - 60) I am in western Washington. My horse will not be shaved this season since he is on lay up but I will stilluse at least a water/windproof sheet on him. The hair will provide the insulation layer.
            -- * > hoopoe
            Procrastinate NOW
            Introverted Since 1957


            • #7
              My QH has a full fledged winter coat right now, fuzzy as can be. My appendix QH who is appox 1/3 TB has NOTHING yet. I keep telling him he should get on it rather soon but he just won't listen ;-) I blanket anyhow, but I'd feel better if he got at least a bit of fuzz.


              • #8
                My appy mare gets a tad more hair in the winter than in the summer but not much. Everyone always comments on how short her coat is in the winter. As long as she gets all the hay she wants she stays warm. We do stall her when the weather is really bad but her stall is pretty airy.
                You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.


                • #9

                  What kind of lighting is around this horse? My horse, who was a PMU from the ND border of Canada, came to us with a huge yak-like, winter coat. NOw, he hardly grows one. But it is due to an outdoor light outside his stall window that is kept on quite a bit. This year, I changed out the light bulbs to one of those curly cue energy saving lightbulbs and he grew even less a coat. I unscrewed the light bulb (the outdoor lights are on a timer so I unscrewed the one right by his window) and now his coat is growing in full strength. Might still have to blanket but I will see at the end of Nov.
                  Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
                  One of our horsey bumper stickers! www.horsehollowpress.com
                  Add Very Funny Horse Bumper Stickers on facebook


                  • #10
                    I have two QH's and two Paints. Three of them get real heavy coats and never need blanketing but I have one QH that was born and raised in Montana who hardly gets a winter coat at all but he does just as well in the cold as the woolly mamoths. He never shivers or seems to get cold even though his coat isn't as thick as the others.
                    RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
                    May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
                    RIP San Lena Peppy
                    May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010


                    • #11
                      My horse gets fuzzy but her hair seems to lack the barbs needed to "knit" and shed water/wind. it goes right through. She has a complete wardrobe for every temperature variation! Your old guy may have something else going on that is also keeping his hair from growing (if it ever did I mean). But by all means blanket him, no sense shoveling more and more feed down him when a blanket will keep him warm. =)
                      Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

                      Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.


                      • #12
                        My older appy mare is always the first one to be blanketed at the farm
                        She just doesn't get the thick/long coat the other beasties do....
                        Y'all ain't right!


                        • Original Poster

                          Pines4equines, he is only in natural light. He's out 24/7, nice pasture-field of about 9 acres. At night there might be one outdoor spotlight on one side of the barn, but I don't think that is even on.


                          • #14
                            Have you been blanketing him every thime it is below 40 degrees or just when it's below 40 and wet? If he has been blanketed every time it gets cool, he might not grow much of a coat.
                            "Uh, if you're going to try that, shouldn't you unplug it first?"


                            • #15
                              Interesting about the apps, wonder why that is? I looked at my 2yo's coat today and he's just like his mamma. Real short, but not hardly dense yet, same as her. Yet everyone else is fluffy looking already. And they're both varnish roans so they need to get w/ the program. I don't blanket at all, as their coats do eventually come in great and do a fine job keeping them warm and dry.
                              A Merrick N Dream Farm
                              Proud Member of "Someone Special to me serves in the Military" Clique


                              • #16
                                If you think you need a heavy weight blanket for night time and really cold days, also get a medium weight for the not so cold days... Tackoftheday.com has some great deals!


                                • Original Poster

                                  Interesting about the appy's. Mine is greyish with varnish roan spots.

                                  We just started blanketing him last weekend, when temps started dipping into the 30's, but only at night. Day he is not blanketed until today - 40's, high winds and rain last night so he's had his blanket on since yesterday. We are in NoVA.

                                  I am now considering stalling him for winter which I guess will help keep him warm and maintain his weight. I am REALLY on the fence about that. He has arthritis but my vet (and others) really feel he would benefit from being inside at night with a nice hay bag and/or trough of cubes for him to munch on. He has always been out 24/7 but is 18 (we think.....maybe 20) He's a hard keeper and we worked so hard to get some nice weight on him, but winter is tough on him.


                                  • #18
                                    Tpup - you're horse will probably stay warmer if he's outside and allowed to move around. A shelter or windbreak, weatherproof blanket if needed and lots of hay and he'll be happier than closed up in a stall.

                                    All my old guys do much better out in winter, true we don't get really bad winters here, but, they don't get stiff and being able to move, and eating, keeps them warm.


                                    • #19
                                      Tpup... I agree he'll stay warmer if he's allowed to move around like he's used to and a plus for his creaky joints, as well.

                                      I took pics of my 2yo boy today, would love to see your varnish roan. Mine sure didn't look like this last year or at birth, he changed just this spring. He was black bay w/ the blanket, hind sock and star. It's been amazing to watch him transform. His mom doesn't have any spots though, she just has the varnish marks. She's bay based also and was born black bay.

                                      A Merrick N Dream Farm
                                      Proud Member of "Someone Special to me serves in the Military" Clique