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Are blankets neccessary?


Are horse blankets necessary for winter weather in Virginia (Southern)? I was told that if you use a blanket it hinders the horse's ability to grow a winter coat and you will have to blanket the horse all winter is that true?

Thanks for your time, Rusty

Hi Rusty,

Good question. There are a couple of things to consider here. First is what is the horse used to? If the horse is stall kept most of the time and only turned out occasionally, he would need to get used to the cold weather and should probably be wearing a blanket during the turn outs. If the barn is unheated, the horse may need to wear a blanket all the time when the temperature drops below what the horse is used to. A blanket will certainly hinder a horse's natural tendency to grow a winter coat. I am at 8000 feet in elevation here near Aspen. Lately is has been below 0 degrees a lot. My horse Petie has lived in the environment all his life, lives outdoors all year (run in shed available), and develops a nice thick winter coat. Horses used to their climate that have not worn blankets should do fine. There are some horse owners who resist allowing their horses a more natural way of living and insist on artificial (unnatural) things for their horse because they think of them as humans and come from that referenced place. They confine their horses in stalls all the time, thinking they are protecting the horse. Actually they make life a lot harder for that horse.

Anyway, if you are considering changing something in that horse's environment, the rule of thumb is to do it gradually. Whether diet, housing, coverings, or whatever, do it gradually and you should avoid problems. Thanks for the question.

Sincerely, Franklin

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