Turnout blanket WEIGHT question

Discussion in 'Equine' started by Renee, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. Renee

    Renee Well-Known Member

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    I never use blankets but my Arabian mare will be 27 yo next spring. She has a door from her stall open to the outdoors in all but the fiercest weather. Average winter night temps here in January are about 15-17 degrees. Because she has never used a blanket I'm thinking about buying a medium weight, waterproof turnout. Does medium weight sound like the way to go? Also, once I start blanketing can I take it off when the night temp/windchill is about 30 degrees? Thanks, Renee
     
  2. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

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    I wouldn't blanket if she isn't showing any signs of trouble. Is she shivering, losing weight or chronically ill? The best and safest way to keep a horse warm is feeding lots of good grass hay. The colder the temps, the more hay.
    But it is a good idea to have a waterproof turnout blanket on hand just in case. I have them to fit all of my horses although they rarely need them.
    You might want a sheet and a medium weight turnout. Make sure they have leg straps.

    One other good thing to do with elderly horses (actually all of them) in cold wet weather i to keep a spray bottle with salt water handy and spritz some hay with it to keep them drinking water

    It is harder to unblanket after they are used to it, so I'd wait to see if she will really need it. Most of the time we tend to blanket horses so we feel better about it. I know I have for sure. I'm probably blanketing my mare now unnecessarily but she is boarded now and having an issue with chronic diarrhea which is stressing her.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017

  3. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Blanketing a horse suppresses their natural winter hair coat. So once you begin blanketing, you might need to continue through the winter.
    Some folks blanket older horses to keep nosey people from reporting them to Animal Control for starving their horse, not understanding that older horses can just be thin.
     
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  4. Renee

    Renee Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to both of you for the advice. This mare has always been healthy and hardy. This past year she has aged more dramatically in appearance but never a lame or stiff step. She will get thin in the winter if I am not careful but I feed her an alfalfa mix hay and add moistened alfalfa pellets and just adjust that by her condition. I do also have grass hay I can add for warmth. She has a heated water bucket but I think the salt water spray is an excellent idea that I never thought of. I will start shopping for a medium weight turnout to have on hand and I am more confident after your comments not to use it if she remains healthy and does not shiver (she never has). I'm sure I have a sheet somewhere that I bought years ago to keep on hand if needed. So far I haven't found it! Thanks
     
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  5. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

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    I've had old horses start having trouble keeping Weight on and (assuming you've had her teeth checked and floated if needed) I would start her on a good senior feed in addition to her hay and also add an additional fat source like corn or vegetable oil to help her gain. Fat is one of the safest ways to add calories for weight gain. Beet pulp is another but involves soaking, etc.
     
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  6. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have blankets with a wool liner, for warmth and to wick away moisture. I looked for photos of the Big Fella fly sheets that they wear in the summer. All I could find was thie one in the trailer. The fly sheets buckle across the chest and two buckles under the belly. Keeps bugs off and helps prevent sun bleaching the hair.
     

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  7. aoconnor1

    aoconnor1 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I only blanket on very cold, wet days. My old ladies and a few Thoroughbreds are usually the only ones I blanket on those days. I used to blanket the whole herd faithfully starting with the first night below 40 degrees. Now I just let them get hairy:). It’s easier and the horses are just fine.
     
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  8. Renee

    Renee Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I didn't realize there were more responses!. I appreciate learning from other's experiences with their senior horses.
    Thanks for the pictures, Haypoint! In past years I fed a little corn in the winter but became concerned about mycotoxins when I heard a story of a couple of local horses ingesting them. Seems like its more of a problem in corn grown in a drought year.
    I've forgotten the details, I just stopped using it. I might research it again now that you can find anything online. It would seem that the corn would look or smell moldy. Re the situation I remember both horses had been eating a mixed grain feed from a local mill. BTW, Vanity and our mini will have their teeth done in January. Thanks everyone! Renee
     
  9. TroyT

    TroyT Well-Known Member

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    We blanket horses that get worked all winter, otherwise only the really old or very young ones get blankets. We blanket the working horses so they don't get hairy which allows them to cool off faster and dry out faster. We generally put a cooler on them then cover the cooler with a rain sheet, unless it really cold, then we use a heavier blanket.
     
  10. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

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    Definitely, if they are kept from getting a coat by blanketing and keeping lights on at night or if your horse is body clipped because it's in full work in winter you need to blanket. When i was showing back in the old days before goretex was invented and became affordable we had stable blankets and sheets of various weights and for turnout it was the heavy waterproofed canvas New Zealand rugs with wool lining that got stiff and unwieldy. All you could do was hose them off to clean them. So much nicer now with everything waterproofed.

    Saw a girl out at the barn complaining about her horse taking a paste wormer. She'd never heard of how we used to have to have the vet tube worm with a naso-gastric tube and bucket with bicycle tire pump.
     
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  11. Renee

    Renee Well-Known Member

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    I remember the tube worming!!
     
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  12. TroyT

    TroyT Well-Known Member

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    We keep empty wormer tube for each horse. Once a month we fill it with apple sauce and give it to them. Then when it worming time, they are looking forward to it.
     
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  13. Teej

    Teej Well-Known Member

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    Me too and so glad we've advanced beyond it.