EXCELLENT Article about Blanketing Horses and winter care

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Miniv

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Minimor

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It isn't excellent in that it makes no allowance for the fact that some horses, even healthy ones, do need blanketing in extreme cold situations. Some horses--and I have one if them--simply cannot handle cold weather and it would be cruel to leave them unblanketed during the spells of cold weather.
 

Ryan Johnson

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I can agree and disagree on a few things in this article.

I agree that a horse should have access to continuous hay throughout winter & that carrying a little extra fat going into winter is also good.

For me though I couldn't leave any horse in work without a rug on during the winter months. I even rug my spelling full size horses. I don't clip, but a full winter coat, when trying to work a horse during the cold winter months in Australia is just not practical. As I don't clip I certainly do not over rug. My horses still develop a healthy winter coat whilst at the same time they have protection from the rain and wind.
 

lkblazin

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I do agree and disagree some. Just as minimor said, some need blanketing. My older mare is usually fine. But I have two one 17 years old and the other around 7 ( probably 10 but she doesn't need to keep ageing
. The 7 year old gets a thick coat and a little winter pudge
but for some reason gets cold easily. The other does not develop a thick coat so I blanket her. But I did see some very informative and neat things in that artical thanks for posting it
 

Miniv

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There will always be exceptions to every rule...

We have had an older horse and a horse who was ill and running a temp that we stalled and blanketed.

I do think she was writing about the overall general needs of a horse.
 

Minimor

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Yes--but such writing is actually hazardous to a horse that needs extra protection in winter--and doesn't get it because the owner doesn't know any better and takes the article as gospel.

It was the same with the fake CSU anti-blanketing article that was circulating a couple years ago--people were quoting that and pointing to it as evidence that they should not ever blanket any of their horses.
 
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AngC

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That Icelandic horse taking a roll in the snow is just the funniest!

This puts a bunch of stuff I've read here-and-there on the internet in one article.

We don't blanket ours. The first year, I was having trouble finding a halter that fit, much less a blankie. A neighbor gave me a full-sized colt blanket: What a circus! It had a hole for the neck (with no way to open/adjust the neck opening) through which I had to stuff their head/s. I tested it on our mare and our old guy. Neither one liked it; in fact their efforts to remove it were scaring me. I would not have felt comfortable leaving them unattended with that thing on. Not to mention, what if they had to go to the bathroom? Do people wash these things every few days?

I sure hope more people comment on this article. Maybe I can learn from you all.
 

Minimor

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My blankets all adjust at the chest, though I rarely have to adjust that. The horses very quickly learn how to stuff their heads through the opening when I hold the blanket out. Jewell loves her blanket--I change it every 24 hours, so I pull the one blanket off and unfold the new one, and she is trying to find the hole to stick her head through. "Hurry up, Mom, it's COLD!!!" Then she shoves her head through and I pull the blanket into place. then I reach under and give her a good scratching all over before I do up the bellyband. (Too cold to scratch her before putting the blanket on!) Mine have bellybands (not just the surcingle straps) and tail flaps. With a properly constructed, properly fit blanket there is no problem for the horse to go to the bathroom. The tail flap lifts easily for the horse to raise its tail; the only thing you have to watch is with a gelding/stallion and a bellyband blanket--make sure the bellyband is positioned far enough forward that he won't have problems with peeing (I heard of a big horse sticking "it" into the bellyband & peeing! Ick.) I don`t wash the blankets often--the inside gets dusty and the outside does get rather dirty--last winter I used the blankets from December through the end of March, and then I washed them this spring.
 

FurstPlaceMiniatures

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I agree with a lot, but have an issue with a lot of it too. Sorry, don't think my mini is that close to a mustang. We've modified this breed so much.

Also what's up with her scientific sources? Pretty much all of them are well over 10 years old?
 

lkblazin

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Qeustion?... Why would your mini not be able to to the bathroom with the blanket open..... I'm confused. What type of blanket did you get? There should be plenty of room in both spots boy and girl.....?
 

Debby - LB

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excellent article! I agree Maryann..it's written about the overall general needs of a horse. There are certain instances where it would be necessary but in general I'm with you against blanketing. I'm also a advocate against shaving them down to the skin, especially the little foals. I feel so bad when I see the tiny foals shaved it is so unnecessary.
 

wingnut

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I agree there are always exceptions to the rule. I also agree there are some people who will read it as gospel and do something that is not in the best interest of their own horse's needs.

While I have enough blankets for everyone, as well as sheets for most and a couple of fleece covers, I rarely put them on anyone. My hard keeper is the only one who will wear any blanket during cold weather months. Simply put, she has no fat and her coat never gets as thick, dual layered and dense as her herd mates. I only put a blanket on her as needed and get it back off as soon as possible. I will avoid blanketing her by stalling her when I know wet weather is coming. If I can keep her dry, I can generally keep her warm.

I also live in the mid-Atlantic area of the U.S. where we do not have extremes in winter temps like our northern friends!
 

Rocklone Miniature Horses

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I am on the fence. My shetland got mild rainscald because she was not rugged and her coat is so thick so the wet was warm and there all the time. I then put a light rain sheet on her and she didnt get the rain scald. She is clipped this year cause of unseasonally warm weather, but still unrugged. my fala blend is unrugged and unclipped. Last year he came to me rugged...that last about 3 days (aka the photos for the owner) before i took the rug off lol
 

hylights

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The problem I have with using mustangs as a model for how to handle domestic horses have a lot to do with choices, in the wild it is survival of the fittest, so horses that couldn't make it through the winters aren't reproducing, in man made breeds, mini's! We choose for other characteristics, also in the wild the horses have some choice about where they shelter, domesticated horses are fenced in and don't have that choice.

As with everything common sense, knowledge and empathy are important in animal husbandry, some horses Need more protection than others, some situations call for more protection even for horses that wouldn't normally need it. I very rarely blanket, but my horses have a south facing door, 24 hour access to a stall that is facing south and dry and the wind,sleet snow don't come in, if they are cold due to other factors , work, age, weight, illness,I have blankets and will certainly use them, regardless of any published article, I will believe the horses that have taught me over the past 40 years what they need.

People who are still getting to know horses can certainly use this as a guide, but hopefully will use the horse in front of them even more so.
 

AngC

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Qeustion?... Why would your mini not be able to to the bathroom with the blanket open..... I'm confused. What type of blanket did you get? There should be plenty of room in both spots boy and girl.....?
I think your question was addressed to me?

The blanket was given to me. It's a "big-horse" colt blanket, which fits our little goobers, somewhat. It looks nice and is well-made; it's very heavy with lining. Picture a half-circle (actually a half-oval.) There's a hole for the horse head--no adjustments. The part that goes over the butt is solid; no openings. That is why I was wondering about pooping.

I've since looked at blankets on neighbor's horses and noticed there is a "gusset" sort of thing that appears like it would lift with the tail. The one I was given does not have that. Maybe big-horse people have horses that don't eliminate?

If it would make our horsies more comfortable, I would consider using blankets for all. But... since the window for wrapping them up passed the first year with the abortive colt-blanket, I don't guess I'll shop for blankets yet unless I notice a specific reason.

They do grow really nice coats. Actually, they turn into big hair bombs. It's awfully cute when they're having their pilo-erections in the winter; it's not so much fun when all that 3 or 4 inch hair is shedding in the spring. I wonder if people blanket because they don't want to deal with all that hair in the spring? ...just wondering.
 

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