Fall’s Fast Approaching – do you have a plan in place regarding blanketing?
Horse owners often wonder when to start blanketing their animals. As winter begins in different regions, it becomes important to keep an eye on the temperature and weather conditions to ensure that horses remain comfortable throughout the season. In this blog post, we will guide you through the factors that impact the decision of when to start blanketing your horse.
Determining Your Horse’s Needs
Each horse is unique, and their needs change as they age and grow. Furthermore, factors such as breed, coat, body condition, and health are essential components that help define when to start blanketing your horse. Here are some things that you need to consider:
- Breed: Some horses, like an Icelandic horse, possess a thicker, longer winter coat, and they get acclimated to colder weather quite well. Other breeds, such as Thoroughbreds, have a shorter, lighter coat, making them more sensitive to colder temperatures. Understanding your horse’s breed can be helpful in identifying their needs.
- Age: Young or senior horses generally require a more substantial blanket as their bodies are less capable of generating heat or regulating body temperature.
- Coat: Horses that have been previously clipped will require blankets earlier to keep themselves warm. Additionally, horses that are sweaters may need used to prevent them from growing to prevent them from becoming unmanageable.
- Weather: Rising dampness, strong winds, and unexpected cold snaps can make horses uncomfortable and vulnerable to illnesses. When these conditions become severe, consider purchasing an additional blanket for your horse’s safety.
Determine Blanket Weight
Blanket weight plays a crucial role in determining when to start blanketing your horse. Horses of different sizes and ages will require different types of blankets. There are three types of blanket weights, which include:
- Lightweight: suitable for a horse during fall or mild winter weather
- Medium-weight: ideal for horses that are acclimated to colder weather
- Heavyweight: perfect for young, old, or sensitive horses that require extra warmth
In conclusion, it is essential to monitor your horse’s health, breed, coat, age, and environmental conditions to determine when to start blanketing. To avoid unnecessary costs, start with a lightweight or medium-weight blanket and consider heavier blankets for younger or senior horses that are more vulnerable. Your veterinarian, equine nutritionist, or local tack store specialist can also guide you through the process of choosing the right blanket option. By taking these simple steps, you can keep your horse warm, comfortable, and secure during the cold winter months.