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Baby, it’s cold outside…. December 5, 2011

Posted by twobitkc in Uncategorized.

I might actually wear my ski bibs to the barn today. We finally have a day when it’s cold enough. And that has gotten me to thinking (again) about how the weather, and our efforts to mitigate it, can affect our horses.

Expect to see more energy from your horses when the weather is cooler! Have you ever bounced on your toes or swung your arms to keep warm on a cold day? Well, the equine equivalent of that it to do most things a little quicker…be more ready to hop left or right if a leaf blows by…and generally feel a little more “spring loaded”. So don’t go to sleep at the wheel when the weather is nippy!

As soon as it gets cold enough for us to feel it, we have to face the question of blankets for horses. Of course, if you show extensively in the winter and your horse is body clipped, there is NO QUESTION that you are going to blanket your horse. And possibly even double-blanket, as well as keep your horse in the barn on really cold days.

But, what if you aren’t on a heavy show schedule and you have left your horse to grow it’s winter coat in? In that case, your horse doesn’t really need a blanket. He will probably be fine all winter long in nature’s blanket – and you can always keep him in the barn on a really, really cold day or night. However, some of the other reasons we blanket are to keep the hair laying down (to improve our horses look at a winter show) and to keep him cleaner during the constant rain/snow/freeze/thaw mudfest that winter can become.

If beauty and cleanliness are your goals, it’s fine to blanket. Just remember that you will need to TAKEĀ  THE BLANKET OFF on milder days, and put it back on when the deep freeze hits again. Some people use all-weather sheets for milder days, and switch to blankets during the really cold spells.

Anything that your horse is turned out in should be labeled a TURNOUT sheet or blanket. These repel water instead of soaking it up. Stable sheets and blankets soak up water, so if your horse is turned out in one and it starts to rain or snow, he will soon be soaking wet with no way to dry off and warm up. THIS CAN BE A DISASTER FOR YOUR HORSE! And, by disaster I mean that it could be fatal.

If you decide to blanket (and I usually do), remember that you are responsible for making sure that he is wearing the correct type and weight of sheet or blanket at all times.


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