Items

Forums
To Blanket or Not to Blanket
 By Saferaphus   •   10th Nov 2013   •   2,849 views   •   1 comments
To Blanket or Not to BlanketI live in one of the most southern-most parts of Canada. So while winter here can be long and hard, it's still not as severe as it can be in many parts of North America. When I was young (yes, my first horse was actually an Eohippus), no one ever blanketed their horses for any reason but to keep them clean before a show. Forward a couple of decades, and it's unusual to see a horse standing in the snow without a blanket on. But, despite the fact that more people are blanketing their horses, many people are still against using winter blankets (turn-out rugs).

Several years ago, a farmer delivered hay to me, and on seeing my blanketed horses said, “you're making your horses sick wearing them there blankets”. I was taken aback, not just by his poor grammar, but because there before us stood four happy, healthy horses, who for years had been healthy despite wearing blankets. In fact, if I had any qualms about their wearing blankets it was not their health I worried about, but their safety. Over the years, I've seen far more injuries than illnesses caused by blankets.

Related: How Not to Freeze to Your Horse
Related: How Horses Stay Warm in Winter

One of the most important things we need to do when our horses wear blankets is to check them daily. Loose straps, rips and tears and can quickly become hazards. Horses can become entangled and cast in damaged blankets, and this can lead to potentially severe injuries. Another hazard is poorly fitting blankets. Pressure over the withers or shoulders can cause nerve damage. I've seen the skin on a horse's withers cut deeply no thanks to a poorly fitting blanket. Worn hair is a sign the blanket doesn’t fit right and needs either altering or replacing.

In defence of blankets, however, there are many places where cold, which horses deal with quite well, is not the only factor horses have to deal with. Driving freezing rain can quickly saturate a horse's coat and leave them shivering. Frigid winds blow the warmth out of the thickest winter coats. It's just not healthy to keep horses indoors all the time to avoid miserable weather. And, like little kids, even if there is a run-in shelter available, they don't always know when it's time to come in out of the rain. So, a blanket can help protect horses from elements beyond those they are naturally designed to withstand.

Whenever I went out to my paddock with my horses' blankets draped over my arms, they'd storm to the furthest corners and refuse to be caught. Clearly, they wanted nothing to do with those blankets. One night, however, a brutal storm of driving icy sleet and wind blew up. I carried their blankets out, and I was amazed as each horse quietly and untied, waited to be blanketed. There was no question that they understood their blankets would give them some relief from the storm. I have learned to use my judgement in balancing the risk of having a horse wear a blanket against the benefits. Your horse's behavior and physical condition can answer the question, to blanket or not to blanket.

Image Credit: © Judith A. Brown | Dreamstime.com
Horse News More PB Articles About:  blanket,
Horse News More In This Category:  Care and Grooming      Horse News More From This Author:  Saferaphus
Dark Star  
I feel any horse of value should be blanketed because they can easily get sick from not having them on if it gets cold enough. My friend's mare (Champion Rocky Mountain mare) is fighting ammonia from being outside without a blanket on. Now she's inside with a blanket and getting better with weekly visits to the vet for treatment.

Both of mine have blankets on because I feel there is no reason for them to be out in the cold with just their winter coat. That would be like us being out in the freezing cold with just a sweatshirt. Dee is the most onrey thing when she's cold, she has some kind of blanket on the second it gets below 60. She is starting to be kept in right now due to how cold it has been, with a heavy duty winter blanket. (Can you say spoiled?)

I have never seen a blanket stand up to a horse when they get tangled in it. Want to see what happens when a horse gets tangled in it's blanket? See Image. I came home to find THAT around Archie's neck with the rest of it scatter
  Nov 17, 2013  •  5,359 views
 Related Horse News
To Blanket or Not to Blanket
10th Nov 2013   |   Care and Grooming   |   Saferaphus
I live in one of the most southern-most parts of Canada. So while winter here can be long and hard, it's still not as severe as it can be in many parts of North America. When I was young (yes, my first horse was actually an Eohipp ...
Horse Blanket Measuring Tricks For a Perfect Fit
21st Mar 2014   |   Care and Grooming   |   Saferaphus
It may seem like a strange time of the year to be buying a turn-out rug, but spring is when many tack shops are clearing out their winter stock and warm winter rugs are on sale. Just like buying yourself a coat, it's important tha ...
The Horse Blanket Bandits
2nd Jan 2017   |   Care and Grooming   |   Saferaphus
It’s blanket time here again. We’ve gone from rain sheets to heavy rugs in the space of a few weeks as the temperature dips from cold to downright frigid. While making the change from sheet to the rug, I looked over the sheet and ...
Horse Blanket Hazards
11th Nov 2017   |   Care and Grooming   |   Saferaphus
Most of us try our hardest to look after our horses well. That can include putting some sort of blanket on them to protect them from the elements. Unfortunately our best efforts can occasionally backfire, and the very thing that s ...
  View More PonyBox Related Horse Articles
 More News by Saferaphus
Things to do With Your Horse on Stall Rest
23rd Mar 2019   |   Care and Grooming   |   Saferaphus
Your horse may be perfectly fine in its stall overnight, or when it knows the weather is bad. But enforced stall rest for an extended period of days, weeks, or even a month or more can be stressful for both you and your horse. So ...
How Long Will It Keep
21st Mar 2019   |   Care and Grooming   |   Saferaphus
If you have a horse, chance are you’ll accumulate things in bottles and bags that contain food, medications, grooming aids and supplements. In cleaning out my house for a move, I found lots of these things and I realized I had had ...
When Your Horse Can't
18th Mar 2019   |   Care and Grooming   |   Saferaphus
Any time you see your horse can’t do something it normally does with ease it’s time to call the veterinarian. Here’s what it could mean if your horse can’t... ...
Long Distance Horse Ownership
16th Mar 2019   |   Care and Grooming   |   Saferaphus
My horse always been an easy keeper, but over the last year I’ve noticed that she’s a little leaner than usual. Every winter, with less work to do and full access to a round bale, she’s usually on the plump side. But, the last two ...
Horse Praise and Rewards
14th Mar 2019   |   Care and Grooming   |   Saferaphus
When it comes to horse training, timing is incredibly important and whether your reinforcement is positive or negative, it needs to be done with split second accuracy. Praise in itself doesn’t mean anything to a horse. Your parent ...
Horse Bling History
12th Mar 2019   |   Care and Grooming   |   Saferaphus
Last summer, near a seaside resort in Bulgaria, archaeologists found a burial mound that contained 40 pieces of harness decoration. They are estimated to have been buried there in 333-250 BC. The pieces included round motifs simil ...
Where Horses Should Not Be
9th Mar 2019   |   Care and Grooming   |   Saferaphus
Horses look beautiful in pastures and they’re easy to admire as they lean over a stall door to greet us. We admire them as they work in farm fields or clearing brush, stand sedately on streets to control crowds or in the show ring ...
Barn Ice Management Solutions
6th Mar 2019   |   Care and Grooming   |   Saferaphus
This has turned into one of the iciest winters I’ve seen in a long time. Many horse owners are worried about the safety of their paddocks for people and horses. There have been quite a few news stories of horses rescued from icy p ...
  View All News by Saferaphus
 
©2002 - 2019   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
470 Members Online 243,928 Registered Members 2,544 News Articles 10,646,591 Unique News Article Views 240,479,013 Website Views