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Do you have your horse covered? Does your horse need to be covered? Winter is here and it’s going to be cold.

Brian Higby - Thursday, November 27, 2014

Horse BlanketsNowadays, horse blankets come in all varieties of sizes, shapes, and colors. From stylish, to well……at least it covers your horse.

 

How do you choose a good horse blanket? Believe it or not, horses have a natural mechanism to keep themselves warm. As winter approaches, they begin to shed their summer coat, and start growing their fuzzy winter coat. Their skin begins to produce more body oils helping to create a natural protection to moisture and cold. Much like many hairy creatures, when they get cold, the hairs stand up, crosses, and traps air next to the skin. The air gets heated by the body heat or stored heat from the sun, and then creates a little barrier of protection from the cold. When we blanket our horse, we remove that protection by flattening the hair. So if you put a thin blanket with no added warmth, your horse could actually be colder than without it. Buying a good quality rug, for the right conditions is very important.

So why do we even need to use horse blankets? In the “wild” don’t they survive just fine with that winter coat? Well, the answer is yes. In the wild, horses have more freedom. When the weather goes south, they can usually find shelter to fit their needs.

So what about our modern day horses in captivity? There are several factors to consider. First of all, every horse should always have access to shelter. We should never use a blanket or rug to substitute shade and shelter. That being said, usually just having shelter is enough for younger, heartier horses. But nowadays horses are living much longer than they used too, thanks to the supplements, feed, veterinary care available today, and of course the adoring love of their owners. As our horses get older, they may need a little help to stay warm with a blanket or rug. Aside from older horses, there are also some breeds that have more sensitive skin than others, and could benefit from a little protection from the elements.

Blanketing a horse though, isn’t as simple as put it on and forget. When buying a horse blanket, fit is very important. A badly fitting rug can affect its effectiveness to keep your horse warm/dry. If the rug is too small it can create problems with rubbing, and restriction of movement. If it’s too big, it can slip and twist and cause injury or other problems. As was mentioned in the beginning of the article, if the blanket is too thin, the horse could be colder, but also, if the blanket is to thick, it can cause the horse to sweat and become chilled.

In the end, every horse is different, but horse blankets and rugs can be a great aid to keeping your horse happy and healthy. If you need help finding the right blanket for your horse, give us a call, or come visit us in the store and we’ll be happy to help you.

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