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Heated barn and blanketing? Help!

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  • Heated barn and blanketing? Help!

    Hey guys. So this winter I'm riding often and my TB will sweat like the dickens in his very, very thick winter coat if I don't clip. My dilemma is that the barn he is at is heated in the winter so it is always at least 32 degrees to prevent the automatic waterers from freezing up. The barn owner/workers will not change blankets and I can't make it out there twice a day. Once a day, probably but I'd like to just be able to go out when I need to ride. He goes out during the day unless the weather is nasty and comes in at night.

    Do you think he'd be theoretically okay if when the weather outside is less than 30 degrees for him to wear his heavyweight in the barn at night? I think he'd be fine in a midweight for 50-30 degrees inside and out but I'm worried about him overheating when he's in the barn in a heavyweight blanket. Then again, on a 24 degree day in the sun it's probably at least 32 degrees to a horse. So I don't know!

    I'd like to do a low trace clip and see if that's enough to keep him from sweating too much.

    Thanks so much!
    Sonya in Ithaca, NY
    Last edited by Merle; Nov. 9, 2008, 05:10 PM.

  • #2
    Blanketing is very different depending on the area that you live in. Here in Florida we do usually freeze at night on many occasions. But it never gets colder than the thirties except a few times a year. Here we will blanket to the nines on a night when it is going to be 35 degrees and the horses don't suffer. When I have seen horses get hot is when they are actually in the sun on a cold day. At night they seem to be just fine in any weight blanket. I have also boarded at a barn with QH halter people and if blanketing can be taken to the point of abuse these people did it. I didn't really see the horses sweat too much on 50 degree days in full heavy blankets and hoods. You could drop by early in the morning on a day when he has been in and give him a feel for sweat. I think your horse will be fine. 32 degrees is pretty cold!
    “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”
    ? Rumi


    • #3
      Had to comment on the QH barn thing. Yikes. Worked for a gal who kept her windows, doors, etc. shut in weather under 60 degrees down in Fl. She would put on slinkies, fleece sheets and then turn out sheets for weather in the fifties...you can imagine how she bundled them for forties and thirties. Those horses looked miserable in the mornings when I came to feed.

      I was always taught to blanket conservatively-as in, better the horse be cold than hot.

      And there are horses here that are in full work, cattle/trail etc. w/ their winter coats and just walked out diligently before being turned out. They stand in twenty degree weather in the rain and I think they prefer it. Honestly, moving from Fl here, I *know* we overblanket down there. I cringe when I think about the layers my horse had to put up with down there opposed to here.

      Well, those are my 2cents.
      True Bearing Equestrian
      St. Helena Island, SC


      • #4
        I would be more concerned with my horses' lungs than their comfort level vis a vis temperature. Heating a barn is the worst thing you can do to their lungs. I also have been in "QH" barns where the ammonia smell would take your breath away! HOT indoors then COLD outdoors is not a healthy situation for horses. Blanket him and leave him outside...that's what I would do.
        The thing about smart people, is they look like crazy people, to dumb people.


        • #5
          My horses are boarded in a heated barn. Heated to about 45 degrees. We are in Wisconsin. I keep a winer liner (from Schneiders) on them and a nylon sheet. Then when they get turned outside the BO only has to put their heavy winter blanket on over those. When they come in just take off the heavey winter blanket. It is easier then changing and replacing the blankets each time they go out. My horses won't go out if it gets below 20 degrees. I have an older guy and I don't believe it would be good for him to go from 45 degrees to below 20. So I told the BO don't turn out below 20. My boys get worked 6 days a week, and turned out on day 7 weather outside or in the indoor.

          I don't know why they wouldn't at least just add a blanket and then take it off when they come in. It is less work then changing the blankets IMO.

          You have to have a good ventilation system. Ours is really nice and changes the air in the barn every 20 mins throughout the day. You can never smell ammonia. If you have a heated barn and you are keeping it closed up you need ventilation, it isn't healthy for the horses without it.


          • #6
            The blanket thing!

            I am also in NY, and our winters can be brutal. We have several old horses (we rescue), and as a general rule we blanket them to go out when it is below 35-40* during the day, and no blankets at night (unless they are underweight, not healthy, etc.) but they are in the unheated barn. For turnout, we use medium weight turnouts with a liner if it is really cold.
            Personally, as a barn owner, I do not see the difference between CHANGING BLANKETS, and simply putting one on a horse before he goes out and removing when he comes in. I blanket as little as possible, turnout as much as I can, and keep my barn airy.


            • #7
              I guess I should clarify - it is less work to simply put another blanket on instead of takeing one off and then putting another one on in its place. And a lot less work then the owners just leaving their horses in because blankets can not me added or removed making the stall cleaning more time consuming. At least that is the way my BO and myself look at it. I use to run a boarding place and when horses stay in it is a lot more work then throwing a blanket on.


              • Original Poster

                Hey guys. Thanks for your replies. I don't believe the barn will be heated to 45 degrees. Just warm enough to prevent freezing (hopefully). And yes ... I am concerned to say the least about the ventilation in the barn. I am one who doesn't agree in heating barns but all the other barns around here are show barns who charge over $500 for basic board and my piddly vet school loans do not cover such luxuries.

                So, overall, he should be fine with his heavy blanket on for 32 degrees? Ideally I'd have them take it off and put his medium weight on but that will not happen.


                • #9
                  When you say clip do you mean full body or trace?


                  • Original Poster

                    Trace clip! And I can't leave the medium weight on my boy when it's 10 degrees outside - he needs the heavy weight then.


                    • #11
                      Generally horses will fare better in cold weather then in hot weather. Given a few days they will change their metabolism to keep warm.

                      Chances are that the barn will be warmer at night when the doors are closed then during the day or rush hourse when they are open a lot. Specially if theres a number of horses in the barn, they generate quite a lot of heat. It could very well get warmer then the 32 degrees.
                      If you are curious you could always stop by in the early morning just once to see if he's uncomfortable.
                      If you haven't clipped your horse yet there's no reason for a blanket other then keeping him clean and such, he will keep himself warm, but he will grow more hair as needed.
                      A trace clip will certainly help him from getting too hot during rides, (you could even just clip his belly and neck and leave the hair on his flanks and hiny. I like to continue this clip all the way up to where the bridle starts (clip his cheeks too) for a streamlined look) but won't change the blanketing much.

                      If you are looking to just trace clip, a thin/medium turnout blanket should be plenty, even for day wear.
                      If you go for the full body clip, go for a medium turnout and he will be just fine.
                      Timothy, stop lurking


                      • #12
                        Agree. If it's 10 degrees outside he will need his heavy blanket. Even if the barn is heated to 32, it will be warmer then that (unless he's a single horse) if it's already 30+ outside, not because of the heating system but for the horses in there. If it's only 10 outside the barn will probably be 32 flat and a heavy is not too much then.
                        Timothy, stop lurking


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by spirithorse22 View Post
                          Had to comment on the QH barn thing. Yikes. Worked for a gal who kept her windows, doors, etc. shut in weather under 60 degrees down in Fl. She would put on slinkies, fleece sheets and then turn out sheets for weather in the fifties...you can imagine how she bundled them for forties and thirties. Those horses looked miserable in the mornings when I came to feed.

                          I was always taught to blanket conservatively-as in, better the horse be cold than hot.

                          And there are horses here that are in full work, cattle/trail etc. w/ their winter coats and just walked out diligently before being turned out. They stand in twenty degree weather in the rain and I think they prefer it. Honestly, moving from Fl here, I *know* we overblanket down there. I cringe when I think about the layers my horse had to put up with down there opposed to here.

                          Well, those are my 2cents.
                          We are in NW Montana, and NEVER blanket. Funny that you mention a barn in Florida like that, Spirit Horse, as I am also from Florida and remember something VERY similar! Maybe the same barn... (appaloosa barn in Davie. totally crazy owner?)
                          Our horses are totally comfortable not being blanketed. They have very wooly winter coats. If they were clipped that would be a different story. As long as they have lots of hay, they are fine (and HAPPY!)