Friday, November 7, 2008

To blanket or not to blanket….

This subject has come up on several different blogs and discussion boards, so I thought I’m throw out my two cents worth.

I have a neighbor, Pam, who will blanket all three of her horses when the temperature drops below 40 degrees. Pam rides every day if she can. The wind and cold of winter doesn’t bother her. Her horses stay fit year round. The only time she DOESN’T ride is if it’s raining or snowing, and that’s because she doesn’t want her tack to get wet. Well, ok, who DOES?

Her thought is that the horses’ coats stay smooth and they don’t get as sweaty, therefore, cool down times is shortened. I totally get what she’s doing and why she’s doing it.

But I don’t ride every day. I “might” ride once a week in winter. I don’t like the cold. I don’t like the wind.

So I don’t blanket. UNLESS…. I’m at a barrel race or open ride indoors somewhere, my horse is sweaty, and I’ve work her up to the closing time and can’t cool her out inside. I’ll cool down outside for as long as I can, then I’ll but on a blanket and let her dry out under the blanket. This might happen twice during winter.

The next afternoon, during the warmest part of the day, I’ll pull her blanket and within 20 minutes, she’s a big fluffy poofball again.

Even in the deep cold of winter, my horses don’t wear blankets. As long as they have shelter from the wind driven rain, sleet or snow, they’re fine. My stalls are open to runs, giving them free choice to stay in, or go out. Nine times out of ten, they choose OUT.

But the way that my horses live isn’t the way other horses live. They may be stalled and given turn out at some point during the day. Is this a heated barn? If not, the chances are pretty high that the INSIDE of the barn is colder than the OUTSIDE. I know that this is the case at one of the indoor arena that I barrel race in during the winter.

There really is no “RIGHT” answer. Each horse owner does what she/he feels is best for the horses in their care. My neighbor has said on more than one occasion that she blankets to make herself feel better, not because the horses need a blanket.


Anonymous said...

One other factor is if you clip them. If you take off that nice thick coat, of course they should be blanketed.


Karen V said...

OH! I absolutely agree!

We had an old granny mare with cushings that we'd body clip at the beginning of April. She's wear a blanket and a hood until the middle of May.