Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Questions About Blanketing

I have been thinking about buying a blanket for Chrome for the winter.  I normally don't blanket my horses because they have hay 24/7 and they have shelter, but Chrome doesn't seem to grow as much of a winter coat as the horses I grew up with did.  Last winter he would shiver when it rained, then I would have to bring him in, dry him off with towels and stand out in the freezing cold until he dried while he ate hay.  It wasn't pleasant for either of us and he always acted so freaked out, jumpy and spooky.  Very abnormal behavior for him so I know he was extremely uncomfortable.  This year I would like something just for the rainy/windy days/nights.  The problem is I don't know much about blankets!

What kind do I get?  I saw something on Smartpak called a rain sheet that looked really cool because it can go over the saddle for riding in rainy weather, which would be nice since I have no arena and my saddle has suede on it, but are those meant for turnout??  Also what brands are good?  I don't know anything about brands.

The blanket doesn't have to be particularly warm.  I live in the south, so it never gets below zero and we rarely have snow.  It's just the ice and rain that causes problems, so I need something to keep him dry.  So what do you guys suggest against rain and 20-30F temps?  Oh and if possible something that is good quality, but won't break the bank.  Money is still very tight (especially after buying all of our hay for the winter!).  Thanks guys!!

26 comments:

  1. No clip job: I would put a light turnout on if it is cold but above freezing, and a medium below freezing. Take them off during the day when it is not raining or snowing. Rambo is the best quality imo, but they are expensive. Tough-1 makes a good quality affordable product. Good luck. Here in Montana I don't blankets until temps drop below zero, and then use heavy blankets. But we dont have rain issues. Also, feed more hay in winter at night, helps keep them warmer as they generate body heat from their digestive tract.

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  2. I don't clip so that's not an issue. They also have hay twenty four hours a day. He has never shown the need for a blanket even when below freezing if it's dry. It's only the rain that causes a problem. So I would definitely take it off when it's dry. Would love to be able to afford a Rambo. I've never heard of Tough-1 so I'll definitely check that out. Thank you for the info on what weight to use and when. Very helpful!!!

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  3. Even the wind doesn't bother him if he's dry. He's weird lol.

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  4. I live in California so my blanketing needs are totally different :(

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  5. Yeah Cali is like a whole different world lol!!

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  6. SAME problem you have with my two, though we do get more snow.

    I started blanketing last year on days that were going to be wet for extended times where temeratures were going to be 40 and below because I noticed on the rainy less than 40 degree days they'd both be shivering when I arrived. They DO NOT have shelter, however, which is a big reason I am making more of an effort to blanket.

    They both have one of these: http://www.horse.com/item/tough-1-1200d-snuggit-turnout-200g/E005429%20078%20RYL/?srccode=GPHORSE&gclid=CPrv1sb05cECFUeCfgod8WgApw&kwid=productads-plaid^71030337577-sku^271448@ADL4HORSE-adType^PLA-device^c-adid^41015351377

    Which I think is considered a midweight at 200g.

    I put it on to keep them dry and wind proof for those rough days. If we're slated to JUST get snow and no ice or rain, I won't put them on if temps with windchill are staying above zero. If temps/windchill go into the subzero range, they get them on at night and off during the day if it is sunny.

    We've got the MOST fickle weather here, and we commonly make the Farmer's Almanac list for "top 10 worst weather" in the US...so yeah. Haha!

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  7. Thanks for the link Liz! I'm glad I read the reviews. I had no idea washing them in hot water could ruin the waterproofing!!

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  8. Yes, don't ever wash in hot water. Use cold water and Wug Wash (or something similar) never use regular detergent. It will remove the waterproofing!

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    1. That's good to know! I had no idea. Thanks!

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  9. Harley is also out 24/7 with no clip job. He grows a thick coat, so I only start blanketing when the temperatures are in the teens at night. This helps him maintain his weight.

    I have had very good luck with Weatherbeeta medium weight turnout blankets. Definitely get something that is meant for extended wear and freedom of movement. I throw away the leg straps because they break.

    I get them professionally cleaned and rewaterproofed after each season. My Freedom Landa is going on its fourth winter and the original Model is on its second. Not bad for two blankets each under $150.

    Good luck!

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    1. A fellow blogger is selling me one of her blankets cheap, but if it doesn't work out I'll check out the ones you mentioned. Thank you!

      Do the blankets not shift around without the leg straps?

      Maintaining weight is another good reason to blanket him. Last spring they all lost more weight than I'm used to. They had hay 24/7 but it wasn't the best quality. This year we found MUCH better quality hay!

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    2. The Landa Freestyle doesn't shift at all. That blanket is my favorite, but every horse has a different perfect fit.

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  10. If you haven't seen it already, you might ant to take a look at this article:
    http://thesoulofahorse.com/blog/a-amazing-article-on-why-horses-should-not-be-blanketed-in-winter/

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    1. Thanks for sharing. I found the article to be well written and scientific. Most horses kept out full time with a full winter coat certainly do not need blankets. However, if any of their requirements cannot be met, a blanket may be necessary to maintain condition. My vet explained to me that horses are at a greater risk of overheating than being cold, which is why I don't blanket until the temps drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, I cannot provide 24/7 forage. The blanket helps my horse compensate.

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    2. Yep I've never had to blanket a horse because I am able to provide hay 24/7, but Chrome just doesn't grow a thick winter coat like my other horses did so he will be my first to blanket. I will definitely watch for overheating and I'll only use it when it's raining. I think he will be much happier this winter.

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  11. I disagree with the thesoulofahorse.com article, some horses just need blanketed in the winter. Not all or not the majority, but there are some that do. They are the ones that would have died in the wild, and I would be one of them b/c I can't handle cold either. App absolutely cannot go without a blanket despite being away from artificial light and being outside 24x7 with full shelter. He shivers very badly and gets very cold.

    It sounds like you need either a rain sheet or a light weight turnout blanket. With the rough housing he does with Zep, you want one with a high denier. Over 1000 is strongly preferred, I can tell you from experience that a 600 denier is a waste of money. Just go ahead and burn it instead for the 5 seconds of warmth!!

    Look for used!!! There are some good FB groups for used blankets/sheets that you can get cheap, easily under $100. Rain sheet is just something that will keep the wind and rain off which, since Chrome doesn't get cold unless wet, should work perfectly. If he shivers when dry, then look at a light weight blanket. Hope it helps!

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  12. The lower quality brands have a higher tendency to create rubs which is why buying used is such a good deal. McAllister, Tough One are two that I have had issues with in the past (am currently selling my heavy weight McAllister b/c it rubs Appy), Weatherbeeta, Horsewear, Smartpak, Pessoa are all brands that are mid priced and are good. Really like all of those, Scheiders are really sturdy as well. Good luck! (ps. check fb)

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  13. Thank you guys for the tips!! Appy I answered your message on Facebook. :D

    Regarding the soulofthehorse article have a look at this article. http://mytevisjourney.blogspot.com/2013/01/blanketing-is-not-bad-and-you-arent.html It is a bit snarky, but it makes a point.

    I have always been one of those people who thinks blanketing is not necessary in most circumstances, but after watching Chrome be so miserable last winter (especially since this winter is supposed to be worse) I have changed my mind. I know he can survive in the cold without a blanket because he did, but I don't see the problem in keeping him more comfortable. Just because you CAN survive in the freezing cold doesn't mean you should when there are other options available.

    He does not shiver AT ALL when he's dry so he will only wear a blanket when it's raining. I will not leave it on him day after day after day because he just doesn't need it. Chrome is the first horse that I have ever met that just does not grow a thick winter coat. He lives outside 24/7 with access to a shed and he has access to very good quality hay 24/7. I feed him a ration balancer and a fat supplement in the winter. I have also fed beet pulp and hay pellets just for added roughage when needed (beet pulp definitely seems to warm him up), but an entire night soaked to the bone in temps below 20F is too much for him. He's miserable! I shiver constantly when it's below sixty degrees so maybe I am anthropomorphizing a little. I don't want to see him miserable again. Thank you for the article. I've already researched the subject endlessly, but it was still an interesting read. :)

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  14. i know zip zero about blankets, so no help here - but good luck getting it all figured out!

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  15. I believe a lot of those rain sheet things are just meant for throwing over your tack while you're at a show, etc. A turnout sheet is probably what you are thinking of, although remember that if you put on a blanket that is *too* light, it will not allow the hair to poof up to help them keep warm, whilst simultaneously not offering any additional warmth from fill. You might want to do what I did in order to economize--I have a Weatherbeeta turnout sheet (LOVE it, I have had it for years and it looks brand-new) and a fleece blanket liner to put underneath the turnout sheet (I have one from Schneider's that is really nice whilst also being affordable) for when it's really cold. What temps you put them on is, of course, dependent on your horse. Salem lives out 24/7 and doesn't have much of a coat, plus he is used to our balmy Miami temps, so he gets the turnout sheet if it's going to be in the mid-to-low 50s for most of the night, or if it will be in the high 40s for a short amount of time. If it's going to be around 47 or below for a good long stretch overnight, he will also get the liner. He has hay in front of him 24/7, but he is just not used to the cold and seems more comfy in his outfits.

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    1. See I didn't even know they made liners! I'm learning so much. You guys are awesome. I wish I hadn't seen those rain sheets for putting over tack because now I really want one LOL!!

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  16. I always liked this flow chart. Funny but not a bad set of rules really.

    I do situational blanketing. Dee grows a pretty decent coat (it wasn't a stretch for a Minnesota girl to adapt to Montana winters) but when it gets below zero or like one day last year where it was around 45F and raining all day then well below zero in the evening with blizzard conditions, the blankets come out! I use a layered system with a midweight going on around zero and an insulated liner when we start getting into the -20F type temperatures. But once things return to normal (which is probably still colder than your coldest days lol) we reverse the process and she goes back to being naked. She rarely found herself in blankets for more than a few days at a time.

    Last winter Dee was out 24/7 and had no pasture mates to help keep her warm (she did have a small shelter). I always saw her blankets as a portable shelter for her. Who knows what our horses really think but I believe she appreciated her clothes. We've since gone back to stabling at night in a fairly cozy barn so likely won't need to blanket at all this year.

    I've always buy my blankets from Schneiders. They seem to fit really well, hold up really well, and are well priced for the quality.

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    1. LOL!!!!! That flow chart is awesome! My horse is totally a wussy. :D Thank you for sharing that. I really think there will be only ten days or so all spread through the winter (rarely multiple days together) that he will need it. It doesn't get that cold, but I still think it will be totally worth it. :)

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  17. When I got Dickie he hadn't been blanketed and looked fat and happy coming out of winter when I first met him. Then I brought him home and noticed how dramatic he was when wet. Would slam himself on the walls of his stall trying to dry himself off. He seems to like having a blanket to keep him dry. If you need ideas on blankets that are tough and budget friendly let me know ! I even have Dickie and Romeo hand me downs.

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    1. Poor Dickie!!! Wow! Thank you for the offer. You're so sweet. I got a nice hand me down from Appydoesdressage. The post with pictures and video will be up in about ten minutes.

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