Saturday, May 9, 2015

Spring storms and blanketing

We've had a lot of rain all week, and tonight it turned to snow.  We're supposed to get five to nine inches overnight.  The horses are of course nearly down to their summer coats now, so they're all tucked into their blankets.  (I had my boys in rain sheets all week too, so that they wouldn't be wet and cold, especially when it came time to blanket for the snow.)

I know lots of people have different opinions about blanketing, but it irritates me when people don't realize that the horses don't have the same ability to stay warm during these spring storms as they do during, say, January, when they have full winter coats.

For example, one of the horses in my corral hasn't been blanketed much this winter.  His owner doesn't have a rain sheet for him either, so when I came tonight to switch my boys' sheets to winter blankets -- as it was starting to turn to snow -- he was soaked and shivering.  I texted her to see if she wanted me to blanket him, and she said she hadn't been planning on it, but since he was shivering to go ahead.  Then she said who would have thought he'd need a blanket in May?

Um, anyone who has lived in Colorado long enough to know we get spring storms well after the horses have shed out their winter coats?

Of course I blanket more than a lot of people do, all winter long.  I blanket for anything below 20 degrees, if it's going to snow, and for rain too if it's going to rain a lot and drop below about 50 degrees.  The go-to excuse for people who don't blanket is, "Well, horses can survive in the wild without blankets!"

Most of these people don't go out to the barn themselves in the cold, in my experience.  So they don't know that their horse is, in fact, cold.  I've checked on my horses in the cold, so I know at about what point they get cold, and if I'm unsure I just double check.  Just because they survive it doesn't mean they are comfortable.  And I personally want my horses to be comfortable, even if it requires a little extra work on my end.  I figure if I don't want to put forth the effort of taking good care of them, I shouldn't have them.

Anyway, my horses are blanketed and will be plenty warm tonight, not to mention clean, dry, and above all, not jumpy from being cold all night when I ride tomorrow afternoon.

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