To Blanket or Not to Blanket - Spring Edition
 By Winniefield Park   •   15th Apr 2015   •   2,273 views   •   2 comments
To Blanket or Not to Blanket

If you live in an area where the grass is green and the spring flowers are already fading in the heat, I'm a little envious. Some of us are still looking for those bulbs we planted last fall, and waiting for the last of the ice and snow to clear from the trails. In the autumn, the first crisp nights have us wondering if it's time to put winter rugs on our horses. Now that winter is over, we're anxious to be taking them off. The problem is, the weather is truly bipolar, running from glorious sunny days, to frigid nights. That's good sap harvesting weather if you're making maple syrup. It's frustration if you're wondering if you can remove your horse's blanket for good.

To blanket or not to blanket remains a question until the weather really warms up. I find myself driving back and forth to the barn frequently, to put Trillium's blanket on, and then take it off again. A few days ago, warm weather hit, so the blanket was abandoned. I dared hope that maybe I could clean it and hang it away until next fall. Then, a few days later, the temperature plunged and clouds were spitting out a freezing downpour mixed with ice pellets. So, the blanket went back on.

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The weather continued cold for a few days before the sun came out and the temperature stayed above freezing in the daylight hours. Off came the blanket. Then, one night, a storm blew through with crazy winds and icy rain. I hadn't anticipated this and hurried out the next morning, wondering if she needed blanketing, only to find her shivering and miserable. Pretty much all the horses were, as when they saw me the whole herd galloped towards me, some of them neighing their discomfort. I squished myself against the fence to avoid getting trampled or kicked, because everyone was cranky and wheeling around making their feelings clear.

I took Trills into the barn, and beat myself up for being a bad, bad horse owner. How could I let her shiver through the night? I scraped the mud off, which also pulled a lot of wet winter coat out, dried her best I could, and put her blanket back on. It stayed on for 24 hours before the weather warmed up. I went over as soon as I could see sunshine and took it off again.

There are a few horses that have owners who leave blankets on no matter what the weather. As much as I like a clean horse, especially when it's rainy, I don't like to leave blankets on when it gets warm. Horses generate a lot of heat, and even at a few degrees above freezing, can get overheated under a thick winter rug. Along with a shedding coat, that has got to be really uncomfortable.

My only advice is to own a pair of insulated coveralls, a warm hat and gloves, and a pair of boots that you can slip on quickly. That way, like me, and pull your gear over whatever you're wearing, from pyjamas to office wear, and put that blanket on... or take it off, depending what's happening overhead.
Horse News More In This Category:  Care and Grooming      Horse News More From This Author:  Winniefield Park
Blanketing Guide:
  Nov 23, 2015  •  1,964 views
Winniefield Park  
That's a really great chart. Thanks for sharing.
  Nov 24, 2015  •  1,957 views
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