When is it advisable to cover up your horse in the colder season? And are blanketing necessary at all? Here are some helpful tips and considerations when it comes to horse blankets. Every year, as the days get shorter and the nights longer and colder, horse owners have these questions: blanket yes or blanket no? Blanket now or blanket later? Which blanket – and how long? And, as is usually the case in horse life, the answer is: It depends – namely on many different factors that influence how and whether I cover my horse or not. The horse’s attitude is incredibly essential – whether you prefer to let your horse grow a thick winter coat “natural” or offer it additional protection from the cold temperatures with a warm blanket.
A question of attitude Horses that spend day and night in a paddock or pasture put on thick fur very early to be prepared for the low temperatures. A blanket would probably only bother you and would have to be used very early and just as long into spring. A company, very experienced and successful in Austrian horse breeding, confirms this: “Our young horses remain in the herd without a blanket and can regulate their fur very well. Even if they are broken into, they stay in the pack and, therefore, without a veil. Even though most blankets are weatherproof, after hours of rain, the ceiling can no longer take it at some point – especially if someone else nibbles and tears on it again and again. Horses that have already been ridden in tournaments, on the other hand, are covered up so that they do not get such a long coat or when they are sheared, whereby our horses are not sheared, because then the skin only grows back all the more! “
In the case of horses mostly housed in the stable, some factors should be considered individually. On the one hand, you have to pay attention to the temperature in the sound. And on the other hand, to the equipment when the horse leaves the stable. The stable can often be kept very warm, but in comparison, it is freezing in the paddock, and a blanket would be advisable. In principle, drafts in the stable should be avoided when deciding whether to cover your horse. Still, they should be included to prevent possible health problems.
Tricky: Paddock posture
A particularly tricky form of posture about our blanket issue is the very modern paddock posture. The horses can freely choose whether they prefer to stay in the warmer box or the fresh air in the paddock. With horses that have just been ridden, caution is advised here: If it is relatively warm in the box, the new wind at the paddock can quickly make you cold without a suitable blanket. Furthermore, one must be aware of the enormous temperature differences during the autumn months. During the day, the sun’s rays fight their way through and allow relaxed sunbathing on the paddock, but at night it cools down significantly, and some horses find it difficult to adapt to the right coat thickness. In this case, a blanket at night would be advisable; during the day, however, it would have to be taken down again to prevent sweating and the risk of catching a cold. Here, too, the problem with drafts must also be addressed: the various transitions from box to paddock keep drafts as low as possible, but the harsh wind in the winter months often finds a way into it. In general, the temperature in a box that allows free access to the paddock is lower than in stables with indoor boxes. But the rough wind in the winter months often finds a way in. In general, the temperature in a package that allows free access to the paddock is lower than in stables with indoor boxes. But the rough wind in the winter months often finds a way in. In general, the temperature in a package that allows free access to the paddock is lower than in stables with indoor boxes.
Horses need to be taken care of especially during harsh weather like winter all this contributes to their well being.