Friday, December 9, 2011

Wondering About Blanketing

I am sitting here in my office.  The sun is filtering in through the windows.  Everything is warm and cozy inside.  Outside is a different story.  It was 25 degrees when I got up this morning.  That is unusual weather for the Pacific Northwest. Oh, we get cold weather but we don't usually get it for more than a few days in a row and then it's back to the 50's for daytime highs and lows in the 40's  to upper 30's at night.

I understand that for many people this is just your every day winter weather.  It's far worse in many parts of the country and around the world.  At least this has been a dry cold spell.  Still, it's not that normal for us and I find myself wondering if I'm doing right by my 22-year-old gelding.  I have him stabled about 30 minutes from home.  The elevation is a little higher and the temperature is a few degrees colder than it is here at home.  I have a light blanket on him (no fill) with a neck cover.  It's just to keep him dry and to break the wind.  He has a very fuzzy winter coat of his own, and I've always felt that was enough for our normal temperatures.  Now, with these temperatures, I am second guessing myself.  Should I be putting on a heavier blanket?  It's still getting to the upper 30's and lower 40's during the day...

He is outdoors during the day and indoors at night.  He seemed fine the last time he was checked.  He was warm and dry under the blanket.  His weight is still good.  I'm concerned that if I put on a heavier blanket he will just sweat under it.  I've had that happen before.  I've heard other people say they've beefed up the light turnout sheet in this cold weather. 

What do you all think?


  1. I am in SW Washington. I have a 23 and 27 year old. I dont blanket usually unless it gets really cold, and windy. As long as he has lots of hay and somewhere to get in out of the wind and rain he will be fine. Every time I brush the mud off of my 27 year old she goes and roles again, little brat! I try to keep it off of her and keep her hair fluffed up, but she would rather wear the mud. LOL LOL

  2. What about a 100gm fill blanket. Weatherbeeta do a great one. That way the horse gets a little bit more warmth without overheating.Or a polar fleece under rug ....just ideas and a bit hard to judge as we dont really get it super cold

  3. I also live in the Portland area. I have read a lot on this subject and have talked to my vet. He said a horse is able to stay warm without a blanket to -14 degrees if he has a shelter or someplace to get out of the rain. It is a different story if they are wet. Of course, they have to be fed plenty of hay, because the act of digesting the hay is what keeps them fueled and warm. Beet pulp is also good because it gets extra water into them and is digested the same as hay. I only blanket my horses when they get turned out AND it is raining. I only use waterproof sheets (no fill). The blankets come off at night when they are inside. All of my horses, ranging from 5 years to 26 years have always done fine and kept on the weight. I have always thought they would rather have a bit more hay on those extra cold days/nights then have a blanket on!

  4. Thanks for the comments. I feel a bit better about what I've chosen to do. My guy is out during the day so needs a rain sheet for protection. It would be nice to only have it on when it's not raining and take it off at night but that is more driving out to the barn than I am able to do, so for now no fill and no sheet when the temps rise. The barn is very good about giving them extra hay in the winter. Beet pulp is a good option that I will keep in mind if he starts losing weight or the temps drop so low he might not want to drink cold water. As for the 100 gm fill blanket, I wish that I had bought that instead of the 200 gm. It would most likely be the only warm blanket he would ever need even in the coldest times around here. I do have something I could put under the no fill blanket. Good ideas everyone thank you all!

  5. I'm on the second winter with Phantom's one-piece turnout sheet. I love it. Of course, the wet is our worst enemy and it works well for that.

    I have a fleece liner from Schneider's that I put it on under the "onesie" sheet this past week. I like the fleece because if Phantom sweats the fleece absorbs it and sort of passes it through. That way he isn't turned out in a clammy mid-weight.

    I also have a mid-weight turnout with neck cover so if we get a long spell of unusually cold weather I can switch to it, although I haven't used it for a winter or two.