Does your horse’s wardrobe rival your own? Yes, is a common answer among many in the equine industry. But before you go out and buy yet another rug this fall, Equine Guelph has your blanketing questions covered in their free online healthcare tool – Horse Blanketing Tool, sponsored by internationally renowned blanket manufacturer, Bucas of Ireland.
“One common misconception is that if you are cold, so is your horse,” says Gayle Ecker, Equine Guelph director. “The Horse Blanketing Tool explains thermoregulation and how horse owners can help maintain their horse’s health by neither over or under blanketing.”
The tool also addresses the question “to blanket or not to blanket?” If your horse is clipped, you are committed to blanketing. Equines having trouble maintaining weight can benefit from a blanket to ensure they are not using up precious calories staying warm once the temperatures drop below 5 degrees Celsius. In the horse’s thermoneutral zone (5 – 20 degrees Celsius) they do not have to expend any additional energy to maintain normal body temperature. It is important to consider your horse’s hair coat, health, age and body condition score when deciding if a rug is required. The blanketing tool takes you through 10 factors to consider and will help you weigh the pros and cons to blanketing.
If you have decided to blanket, no time of year presents more challenges than early spring and late fall, especially if you live in an area with extreme fluctuations in temperature. Leaving a horse in a heavy rug can result in overheating and heat stress related issues as temperatures climb during the day.
Here is where the wardrobe expands! If your horse lives in a stall overnight you will likely need a lighter weight blanket for when they are indoors and a heavier, waterproof one for outdoors. If the stable has a one on one off policy, layering is an option. Spares in case a rug need to go in for repair are always a good idea.
Of course- just as we go to the change room before we buy clothes, your horse needs to be correctly fitted so always ask about the return policy. In Equine Guelph’s tool, the Blanket Centre explains about different types of blankets, how to measure your horse and problem spots. There is even a technical section to learn about denier, fill and all the blanket style terms that will affect the fit.
“Bucas is pleased to support Equine Guelph’s online educational resource, the ‘Horse Blanketing Tool’, says Ulf Casselbrant, managing director of Bucas . “It is an excellent online resource for the horse owner in understanding the principles of thermoregulation in horses and helpful in the proper use of blanket protection for their horse.”
Make your next blanketing decision simple by checking out Equine Guelph’s Horse Blanketing Tool.