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Purdue on Blanketing
#1
I guess I wound up on the address list for the "Equine Health Update" put out by Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine after the trips I made with Joe a few years ago. There are several articles by vet students who will graduate this year.

One I thought of particular interest during this time of year concerns blanketing. Here are some of the points mentioned:

* healthy, well nourished horses acclimated to the cold should withstand temps down to 5°F before the body temp begins to drop.

*providing shelter from rain & wind can reduce heat loss by up to 20%.

*every degree below 18°F increases energy needs by .7% so the normal amount of 1.5-2% of body weight in feed can easily double. Blankets & shelter can reduce the need some but extra feed may still be needed.

*the blanket needs to provide the proper amount of insulation. The blanket will flatten the hair which causes the hair to lose it's insulating properties.

*if you blanket all winter, make sure to check skin & body condition regularly.

I like the fact that numbers were mentioned which will give the "to blanket or not to blanket" delimma a little easier to solve. Maybe. [Wink]
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#2
quote:
Originally posted by PaintGal

I guess I wound up on the address list for the "Equine Health Update" put out by Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine after the trips I made with Joe a few years ago. There are several articles by vet students who will graduate this year.

One I thought of particular interest during this time of year concerns blanketing. Here are some of the points mentioned:

* healthy, well nourished horses acclimated to the cold should withstand temps down to 5°F before the body temp begins to drop.

*providing shelter from rain & wind can reduce heat loss by up to 20%.

*every degree below 18°F increases energy needs by .7% so the normal amount of 1.5-2% of body weight in feed can easily double. Blankets & shelter can reduce the need some but extra feed may still be needed.

*the blanket needs to provide the proper amount of insulation. The blanket will flatten the hair which causes the hair to lose it's insulating properties.

*if you blanket all winter, make sure to check skin & body condition regularly.

I like the fact that numbers were mentioned which will give the "to blanket or not to blanket" delimma a little easier to solve. Maybe. [Wink]



Well, at least there are some guidelines! THANK YOU for that.

Sha-nook has been blanketed every winter night for years, once nights start getting into the single digits. Seven has never been blanketed except when he was injured and temps went sub-zero. Until this year, that is. At my better half's insistence I started giving him a blanket at night this year after we got a night of 10 below. Now he's in it for the long haul, as I am afraid NOT to blanket him until I know the nights will be in the high teens or twenties. On the bright side, he doesn't sweat as much when working and is a lot easier to cool off afterwards. Check the coat is a really good advice - I have had to use a stiff brush on Seven every day as the hair under the blanket gets weirdly matted even though it's short.

The old-timers' wisdom around here is that if a horse has plenty of grass, is dry and protected the wind, they're good down to 20 below.
"There is something about the outside of a horse...that is good for the inside of a man." ~Winston Churchill~
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#3
I don't start worrying about blanketing until my horses start shivering and can't stop. At that point they are losing body heat and can't stay warm without help. Usually I'll make sure they have fresh, clean water out of the tap to drink and extra hay. The water helps circulation of bodily fluids, and the hay helps add fuel to keep them warm. We will also bring them inside where our barn can be five to ten degrees warmer than outside and bed the stalls a little thicker than normal.

If they are still shivering after all that, THEN we blanket. I've done this for several years now with our horses, and it's served me well. And Dove and Terra usually don't give me much trouble about wearing a blanket once they discover it keeps them warm [Smile][Wink].

I guess I should add that it's usually in the single digets with wind chills ten degrees below zero or more. As long as they have a wind break, my horses are usually fine until the temps dip too low.
"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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#4
I think blanketing is mostly common sense. If your horses have good body weight, a good winter coat, plenty of hay, shelter from wind & precip and are acclimated to the cold, then you may not need to blanket at all.....which is pretty much what the article said. If any of those needs are lacking, then you may need to blanket more...which is also what the article said. [Big Grin]

There are so many variables concerning blanketing it's hard to come up with a hard & fast rule but as Arenadirt said at least there are some guidelines now. I think the bottom line is to know your horses and put your hands on them frequently during harsh winter weather and be ready to feed more &/or blanket as needed.
Karen ~ Trails  
  &
Joe Paint Gelding
Paoli, IN

"My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sun and neigh in the night."
[Image: th_horse-galloping.gif]  

~~~~~~
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#5
Hey PG, thanks for that update.

This is the first year in a while I haven't blanketed...worst it gets is 30 at night. Was feeling kind of bad but noticed their coats are much thicker this year.
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