To blanket or not to blanket... that is the question! This is a subject many horse owners can struggle with. We always want to do what is best for our horses. So is blanketing, or letting your horse go natural, the best option? Here's some guidelines to help you decide.
This one is simple. If your horse is clipped, his natural method of staying warm has been removed. He needs a blanket to stay warm and comfortable.
Providing adequate hay and shelter are two important things you can do to keep your horse warm - without blankets. Making sure your horse can get out of the rain, snow, and wind will help keep your horse happy in the coldest of temperatures. Also, providing plenty of forage keeps the furnace running. As horses digest their hay, their gut heats them up and keeps them warm. You don't need a fancy barn or gourmet hay. Even a simple three sided shed and a round bale can make your horse thrive in winter.
Maybe your horse is a hard keeper, a rescue, or just thin. You don't want him burning precious calories to stay warm. Blanketing can help conserve energy to maintain or gain weight. Alternatively, if your horse is pleasantly plump, he may not need a blanket.
Horses who are very young or very old can strugggle to maintain their body temperature. If you have a young foal, or an equine senior citizen, a blanket may be helpful to keep them comfortable when the temperatures drop.
These are just a few tips to help get an idea if blanketing is right for you and your horse. If your horse is healthy, a good weight, with lots of hay and a shelter - a blanket may not be needed. Otherwise, blanketing can be useful in some situations to help keep your horse happy and comfortable.
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