Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Staying warm's cold out there! Sunny, but danged cold and supposed to get colder tonight and tomorrow. It's supposed to get down to negative real temperatures tonight with significantly colder wind chill temperatures. Two years ago I would have been in panic mode wondering how many layers of blankets I should put on the horses tonight to keep them toasty. What's too many? What's too few? Who wears what? And then I would have been up and outside checking on them several times in the night to make sure they were warm. Worry-wart mode.

This year, I'm not worried about it so much. It's not going to sleet or rain, which is my big indicator about whether to put a blanket on or not. No moisture falling from the sky, no blanket. All three beasts are super fuzzy with thick, warm winter coats of their own, and truth be told, they are all a tad on the pudgy side. They are well-insulated naturally and don't need my interference to stay toasty. I'll throw them a couple extra flakes of hay and maybe add a touch more grain to their evening meals to offset the increase in calorie usage, but I'm not going to obsess over blankets. Their water is on the warm side because I got the good tank heaters this year, I can see steam rising from it in the morning and they are drinking well. And they will all get a quick grooming tonight to knock any remaining mud clods off 'em that might interfere in their ability to stand that hair up and create a pocket of warm air against their skin.

These are outside horses. Yes, they can escape from the weather if they want, but more often than not, they don't, so I'm done worrying about them. I've also noticed that for fully fuzzed horses the blankets don't really keep them any warmer (in dry conditions) than their own insulation. If wet stuff like sleet or ice is falling from the sky, they'll get waterproof sheets just to keep them dry. As long as they are dry, they are warm.

I'm just lucky all my beasts are fat, fuzzy, healthy and happy or I can guarantee I'd be in full worry-wart blanketing mode right now.


  1. Jenn, it all sounds peachy there...but that is waaaayy too cold. I won't even tell you what we got for weather this week.
    The main reason I blanket Wa is so my grooming goes easier...the little part of her neck and somehow between her legs on her chest is bad enough! She dislikes being groomed most times and is good all around to blanket for me(and Her).

  2. Well done for not treating them like skinny hairless lap dogs LOL.
    Even with TB's...people forget that the big studs with a heap o yearlings and 2 yr olds don't rug up :P
    We are unlucky in that our guys have no shealter in our fields, but they all have winter coats so only get a waterproof layer, a lightweight turnout rug, sometimes with the coresponding neck cover...If we had shealters or even some good hedging they'd probably be without ... :)

  3. is very, very cold, so cold some of the schools around here cancelled classes today! If any of my horses were old, skinny or sickly, they'd be bundled. If it was sleeting, they'd be bundled against the wet. But I got up this morning at o'dark thirty to feed and they were all puffed up and warm. No was shivering or miserable. Ears were warm and hay was GONE. They tucked into their hot beet pulp mash this morning and will probably spend all day in front of their gigantic piles of hay.

    Blanketing does make grooming easier I agree with that, definitely. There are times when I am faced with a giant mudball of a horse and I wish I'd tossed a sheet on!

    Kelly...Oh, I used to be bad about it! I was one of those people who had a blanket for every temperature change and obsessed over supplements and vitamins. I'd keep them in if it was muddy or rainy or cold. Which is kind of funny because I grew up with horses in my back yard and we just didn't pampered them. No blankets, no cozy stalls, no supplements. They had shelter and windbreaks and were well fed. And they were HEALTHY! Mine live outside, they don't get supplements (they do get a complete feed and access to free choice minerals/salt), they are well cared for but not spoiled and are healthy as, well, horses!

  4. You are a very good horse mommy!! You are right on track with those fuzzy beasts of yours!! Good for you for not obscessing anymore. You're right, if they have shelter and their winter woolies on, they are fine. They require shelter from wet and wind and good nutritious food. That extra layer of fat helps too. I think you are right on track!! I will try sending warm wishes your way. Or...just stay curled up by a fire with your favorite blanket and a hot cuppa ???

  5. Hey, remember the past few years when you would gloat that the daffodils were blooming in southern IL while I had 2 more months of Mich. winter to deal with?
    Remember that?
    I was thinking about you on Monday while me and mom rolled up our sleeves in the winter sunshine to cool off during our 70 or so degree ride here in the CA Sierra foothills. We did get a cold front yesterday, though. Had to break out the light flannels :)
    Cheer up, your climate zone changes moods more often than any other place I've lived. You might get a 60 degree day soon, you never know!

  6. -15 here in Nebraska last night. They ahve access to the barn and with the heat of 5 horses - ages 6 thru 12, they fair pretty well. But I, on the other hand, don't do as well. I am ready to assume the fetal position and sleep until spring....

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