Should I Blanket My Horse?
Should I Blanket My Horse??
I get this question many times over again every time a cold snap comes through. Unfortunately, the only answer I can usually provide is.... well… It depends!
First, we need to understand that nature has a way of taking care of things as long as we don’t get in the way. Given the opportunity, Horses have a natural ability to warm themselves and to acclimate to changing weather conditions. A few years ago, I was at the Kentucky Horse Park for an event in March with a temperature of 20 degrees that morning. I looked around the area at very high dollar horses and I did not see the first blanket on a horse.
I’m not saying you should never blanket, what I’m saying is that every horse and every situation is different, and you should logic your way through a series of questions and then draw a logical conclusion.For example;
Do you know and understand your horse? i.e. Does your horse naturally do well in cold conditions?
Does your horse have a good winter coat or just body shaved?
Is there shelter or a wind break available to the horse?
Exactly, what are the current and projected weather conditions? Rain? Wind?
You should also understand that when you do blanket your horse, you are now inhibiting any natural ability for the horse to warm themselves. Once the blanket is on, it should stay on until conditions improve. You should always use a *Turn-Out type blanket if the horse will be outside.
Plan ahead! If you know an extreme weather change is forecast, increase your horse’s feed/hay before the cold snap. Stock up on hay and feed.
And of course, you should closely monitor your horse throughout any inclement weather to make sure all is well!
Don’t do things just because it makes us feel good, do the right thing for the horse!