More like blanketing WTF??!!! You won’t find any tips on blanketing here…simply because, I have no good ones to offer.
I struggle with the whole blanketing thing. It is a very specialized science. I’m good at science, it was my major…but, there is something about the blanketing of a horse, that I just can never EVER get right.
And before everyone jumps down my throat about the benefits of leaving horses unclipped, unblanketed and outside – hear me out. YES, I understand that the more horses are outside, the healthier they are. They can move around more, breath healthier air, etc etc etc. In my very non professional opinion, I think there are some cases where blanketing is beneficial.
Older horses or horses that are difficult keepers in the best of weather situations, will burn a lot of calories to keep warm. Blankets help them stay cozy! When you are working through a program, have goals you want to accomplish and live in a frozen tundra 5 months of the year – even 6 months of the year as has been the case recently – you have to clip – if you want your horse to be comfortable while they are working and then cool down somewhat quickly. Blankets help them too!
Now, I am pretty sure that you DON’T want to be waiting around a freezing barn in the middle of February at 9:15 p.m. when it is pitch black, -22 Celsius and walking your unclipped horse around and around the indoor arena waiting for them to dry off. Of course, I could be wrong about that. And if I am, then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can book you in as my personal horse cool-er off-er. I’ll head home to some sweet potato soup, dry socks and a fireplace and YOU can walk Colby & Chester around the arena for me for 45 minutes waiting for them to dry off. Sounds appealing doesn’t it?
Up here, the weather is changing and it is changing quickly. We went from it being light outside until 8:30 p.m. to near blackness at 7:30 p.m. – literally overnight. Actually, I think the second Labour Day is over is when the change happens. This is when I start to curse mother nature on a more frequent basis. It sucks getting up in the dark. Can’t wait till I look out my office window at 4:30 and it is pitch black outside.
We went from having gorgeous warm – sometime gross and humid – weather and mild evenings to chilly winds during the day and cool nights. Perfect example: On Friday, September 2, the temperature at the cottage was 29 degrees Celsius. The temperature on Labour Day Monday morning: 8. Yep, 8.
This is where my problems start. Right now, our days are still pretty mild and warm. At night however, the temperature plummets. Your horse, who you have spent endless hours currying over the summer to get that healthy shiny coat – Sleek. Gleaming. Gorgeous. – all of a sudden looks shaggier. Then, you notice sweat marks under the saddle pad and girth areas…annnnd it isn’t THAT hot out anymore. Then you notice the longer hairs on their necks and butts. While some people like the water buffalo/yak look, I for one do not.
It is at that point where I start to go, ‘Great’. Hairy horses = longer cool out times = me getting home later at night = me not eating dinner until 9:30 p.m. = me not being happy about that. Technically, you aren’t supposed to clip until the end of November…or so ‘they’ – whomever ‘they’ are – say.
This is the time of year when I start to pull my eyelashes out one by one. At our barn, all the horses are still out 24-7 and they will remain that way until probably the end of November OR until the ground freezes – whatever happens first.
So, how can I justify blanketing my horse when it is gorgeous, sunny and warm out during the day. I can’t. That said, when the sun goes down, it drops to single digit temperatures over night.
Enter audible sigh here.
THEN of course when you do start to blanket, you get all the hazards that go along with blanketing. There are great games we get to witness called ‘Destroy the Blanket’, ‘Capture The Blanket’, ‘Let’s See How Long It Takes To Rip The Blanket’ blah blah blah…
I don’t think there is anything more frustrating than seeing your brand new and very expensive winter blanket with a big chunk of it flapping in the breeze 3 days after you bought it. Not only is that a hazard, but then said ripped blanket is also easier for your horse to get all tangled up in. I don’t even want to talk about the havoc that a loose belly or leg strap can cause!
Or, how a poorly fitted blanket can cause ugly rub marks, chaffing, cuts….ugghhhh – is anything more frustrating than horse blanketing?? Especially when you have a horse who is built-in a way that no regular sized blanket will fit them??
I would like for my horses – and all horses really – to be warm and cozy when it starts to be chilly. The way I see it, when I start to need a jacket – they need one too! Too bad there is no science behind blanketing…or is there?
What do you guys think?!