It’s that time of year … the time when all horsey Texans have this nightly conversation with themselves and each other: sheet? blanket? Well, he’s clipped, but the barn will be closed up; he’s not clipped but it’s going to be in the low 40s all night; it stays pretty warm in the barn when it’s closed up, though; I don’t know, I think I’d want a blanket right now, etc., etc., etc. …
What is the answer? My horse isn’t clipped, but he doesn’t grow much of a coat. He always seems warmer than normal to me on any given day, cold or not. And when the barn is closed up, it does stay considerably warmer in the barn compared to outside in the wind. But when it’s wet AND cold, everything seems so much colder. Eli has really only been in Texas or Louisiana his whole life as far as I know, so I am pretty sure the 40s and 30s definitely feel cold to him. Wednesday night, it was in the 30s all night and wet — blanket weather for sure for my horse. But those other nights … when it’s in the low 50s at 9pm and I’m leaving the barn, but the low is supposed to be in the high 30s, but not until 6am … sheet? blanket? Sheet now and drive back out at 1am to throw on his blanket (I have never gone that far haha)? For what it’s worth, Eli currently has a cotton stable sheet from Kensington (favorite sheet ever) and a Rider’s stable blanket consisting of “1200 denier polypropylene shell. 400 grams poly insulation. Ripstop nylon lining.” If it is in the 20s, he wears both. He’s from Texas, not the Arctic circle.
I have seen many funny cartoons, diagrams, and flowcharts about when and when not to blanket. I read about a study from not too long ago where the researchers concluded the horses studied were capable of communicating whether or not they wanted a blanket. And I even remember Kristen from Stampy and the Brain posting a user-friendly, sensible, and logical chart that is actually helpful about when to use blankets and sheets but now I can’t find it!
How do you decide when to blanket or not? Which do you think is worse, too hot or too cold? Does your horse have a way of telling you he wants a blanket? How do you feel about turnout sheets or blankets? Trailering in sheets or blankets?
(I think/know that too hot is BAD and it would be really hard for a horse in Central Texas to get too cold. But then what is the likelihood of a horse in a blanket really getting too hot in 30-40s weather if he is in a stall at night and not running around? Temperatures in Fahrenheit in case that wasn’t obvious–when I was a kid that line “a steaming 45 degrees” from Midnight Oil was really confusing until someone explained Celsius to me, so I thought it might be best to clarify.)