Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Litte Cool, A Little Warm

A constant question during blanket season for us is whether to dress them where they could be a little cool or a little warm.
16 years ago when we started blanketing Sherman and Barry, the answer was pretty easy because they had a sheet and a heavier weight blanket. Now each of the horses, except Roscoe for now, has at least 4 levels of blankets.

Turnout Sheet: Temperature range of use 50-60F Brands: Weatherbeeta, StormShield
This is the blanket I would have for any horse I own. Perfect for wind and rain. Studies have shown that horses are just fine being naked during the winter, but wind and rain can both undermine their natural insulation. Plus it is a great way to keep the ponies clean too.

Light Weight 100gm fill: Temperature range of use 40-50F Brands: Weatherbeeta, Baker, Off brand
This is the newest edition to our blanketing scheme, but a very useful one. During some of the days where the temperature briefly goes above 50 then drops low again this blanket breathes great. For indoor use we have Baker rugs for some of the horses that fit in this category.

Mid Weight 200gm fill: Temperature range of use 30-40F Brands: Weatherbeeta, Rambo, Off brand
This blanket along with a sheet made our original batch of blankets. As blanket technology has improved over the years, this blanket has gotten lighter in actual weight so the horses are so much more comfortable. With VA weather the horses end up wearing this blanket a lot so comfort is very important.

Heavy Weight 300gm fill: Temperature range of use 30F and below Brands: StormShield, Turtleneck, Stateline, Kensington
This blanket allows us to avoid layering. We used to put a cooler beneath the mid weight to achieve the same level. Though we do not use it often, I am so glad to have this option for the freak freezing snowy days we sometimes face.

Since we only go out once a day blanket choice is key. Whether we let them be cool or warm, they are burning calories which according to Joyce that is what winter is for. We have used many brands of blankets, but now we lean towards Weatherbeeta. Their blankets are broad enough to handle my wide ponies preventing rubbed shoulders. Plus they breathe making dressing for day to night easier. We take into account winds, clouds and sun when we decide. For example today the temperature was close to 40F and the horse were dressed in light weights, but the wind was high and it was getting cooler. I decided to put on mid weights since tomorrows weather looks similar. If it had been sunny with no wind, I would have let them be cool.

Blanketing benefits me and it is a responsibility I take seriously. Fortunately my horses enjoy their blankets which makes the decisions easier.
And for laugh,
Dog blankets too. Kayla's heavy weight and sheet on the left are both like horse blankets with two crossing surcingles. Griffyn's just have one Velcro belly band. They have their own blanket bar to match the horses.

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