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My mini is a yak!

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montikarla

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So Walter takes this whole growing a winter coat to a new level. It is so lush and thick that I get my fingers caught in it when I scratch his chest. Grooming is difficult too because I feel like I can't get down to the skin with the brushes. I am wondering about clipping him, but have never had a horse that I needed to clip. I have blankets for him, but I am not really sure the best way to go about it. He has been clipped before by his previous owner.

He does shed his coat in the spring, like normal. It just seems that he feels the need to look like a wooley mamoth all winter. Maybe it is due to previous neglect?

Walter is the dun, and this photo does not do his coat justice!
 

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Taz

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🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 He sounds like a normal healthy mini to me. If he sheds out in the spring you are lucky, a lot of them need to be clipped for the summer. I use a long toothed comb (like a heavy duty plastic mane comb) to get through all the hair and to shed them out in the spring, it's the only thing I've found that works. I wouldn't worry about not being able to get down to his skin, they seem to do fine. I've only had these little ones for a few years, someone else might have a better idea for grooming the yak.
 

Abby P

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Absolutely no ideas for you except to agree that your mini seems to be normal! I can groom Rowan and then when I'm putting him up later on I will find entire timothy seed heads emerging from somewhere in there that shook loose during exercise. Granted I am not a very dedicated groomer, but still, I've never had a horse that could hide a snack for later under the hair. 😂 It must be at least 3" long, no hope of seeing or touching skin, and I'm quite a bit further south than you. I bet Walter's is even more impressive and that's a great name, by the way.

The only thing that seems to be a concern with these crazy coats, as long as they shed out normally, is weight - you really have to feel for their ribs under there all winter since they can end up too skinny or too fat very easily and you'll never know it until spring.

I think the boring scientific explanation is that smaller animals have a harder time staying warm in cold temperatures than bigger ones, since they have more surface area relative to core volume, so they need a thicker coat. Also since there is less of them the same amount of hair just looks like a lot more than it does on a big horse. Either way it sure is cute. :)
 

Marsha Cassada

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I don't think it is possible to groom a miniature yak all the way down to the skin in winter. In Ontario, I would certainly not clip in the winter. I use an air compressor on mine in the winter; it's the only thing I've found that gets dirt out. Have to wear safety glasses, too, for the flying debris! I've tried a vacuum, but it doesn't seem to work as well. I've thought of clipping with a # 7 blade and then blanketing on colder nights.
 

dalvers63

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I would only clip if you are working him and he gets too hot. Otherwise, most minis are perfectly fine in the winter with no blankets unless it gets very cold.
 

charlottein

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Same! In my local mini FB group, I asked for suggestions and people suggested: goat rakes, wire dog brush, and regular hair brushes. Since I have the hair brush for his mane I am now using that followed up by the usual dandy brush. Not perfect but hopefully will get anything pokey out. I am going to try a wire dog brush soon since I have one for crafts.
 

chandab

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I would not clip a mini in winter in Ontario, mother nature gave him his yak coat for a reason, and living in Ontario he's going to need/use it. His natural coat will do a better job of keeping him the right temperature during the winter, than any number of blankets ever could. [As long as a mini is normal and healthy, I leave their coat to do as mother nature intended. Occasionally, I have one that may need a blanket during a nasty weather event; but otherwise they go natural.]
 

elizabeth.conder

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I agree with what the others have said. I am in west Texas so we stay much warmer, but mine still grow an impressive winter coat. This is the difference before and after clipping. I usually have to clip late March or early April just because it gets hot so fast out here. I usually clip when temps are consistently 80-90+ and night temps 50-60+
 

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montikarla

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Sorry for not getting back to this thread sooner, I haven't had much of a chance to get on my computer until now.

Our temps are all over the place these days. It isn't unusual lately for the temps to drop or go up 10+ degrees Celsius. Totally driving me nuts. This is my second winter with Walter, and the first was full of struggling to get weight on him and taking care of some health issues. Basically his teeth were in such bad shape he was slowly starving. His weight is so much better, and now the focus is to start building up his topline. I am pretty careful about checking his weight, because I do not want to go back to the skinny Walter days. BTW he came with that name and it suits him so well I have never even considered changing it.

I'm glad to hear that I am not the only one with a yak. I will start trying to groom him with a mane comb or brush.

I am used to blanketing because my other horse is a Thoroughbred. She can get pretty pathetic when the temps drop below 10 C.

The one downside to not having blankets on Walter is this 🤢:
 

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Marsha Cassada

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Aw, mud is inevitable. At least you won't have to wash a blanket, and they seem to shake off that mud when they dry out. Mine look like that right now as we had a good rain last night. I'm hoping it will be a little nicer this weekend so I can clean them up and pose them with their New Year's tiaras.
 

montikarla

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Aw, mud is inevitable. At least you won't have to wash a blanket, and they seem to shake off that mud when they dry out. Mine look like that right now as we had a good rain last night. I'm hoping it will be a little nicer this weekend so I can clean them up and pose them with their New Year's tiaras.
We were hoping to do a Christmas dress up day, but the weather kicked our butts. It was raining, then got super cold and snowed, and now it is back to raining. I think we have had about half a day of sun in the last week.

I like the idea of tiaras! I may have to check out our local dollar store.......
 

Pitter Patter

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I have blanketed all but one of my minis due to the acorn fiasco. I still am unsure of how healthy they are after losing Cottontail. (She looked like I starved her to death--in one week). I took Pepper's blanket off because she obviously hated it and wouldn't let me feel underneath. We are having an unusually mild winter so far here in Northern Michigan, but more freezing rain. I am worried about them keeping weight on so blankets will stay on unless it gets any warmer. Hopefully they won't need them forever! But having them in hand is comforting. I blanket my senior Welsh Cobb as his weight fluctuates a lot and he shivers even when it's mild. My goat has a mini horse blanket on and actually seems to love it! I have rain sheets for the llamas but very seldom use them. I have run ins but no barn yet (my 2021 wish list!).
 

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