Pro-blanket, anti-blanket… the debate rages boringly on but the bottom line is, every horse is different — well, mostly. Maria Wachter subdivides the horse population into five equally dysfunctional archetypes.
For the past X number of years, humans have been plagued with the dilemma, “To blanket or not to blanket?” With the recent invention of Facebook and other social media groups, I’m sure we all have come across articles saying how blanketing is detrimental to our horse and our horse was designed by nature to have this magical coat that will keep him warm and regulate his heat in all winter conditions. Is he shivering? Well, that’s just his skin rapidly vibrating to heat him up. He’s not really cold and the only reason he’s doing that is to make him even warmer so he can feel like he’s laying on a tropical beach sipping margaritas while in reality he’s weathering a blizzard. OK, tell that yourself at 3 a.m. when you’re laying in bed, the wind is howling, the snow is falling and you’re wide awake worrying about Buddy freezing to death outside. In reality, horses probably don’t need to be blanketed. We blanket them so we can feel warmer and sleep better.
We have broken down the horses into five different categories:
Mr. Thin Skinned
This horse is typically a thoroughbred or other thin-skinned horse breed that normally doesn’t grow a super thick coat. All the weather has to do is dip below 75 degrees and this horse is already shivering to death. He practically runs into his blanket and prefers three blankets layered on at a time.
The Incredible Hulk
This horse stands very still while you blanket him and seems happy and content as you walk away to finally go back to bed and get some well deserved rest. Once you make it into the house you take one final glance outside and watch as your horse suddenly turns green and busts out of his blanket leaving it into a pile of shreds that he then turns around to poop on.
You blanket Houdini and leave him for the night to find in the morning Houdini has somehow magically slipped out of his blanket, yet the blanket is still fully buckled without a tear or scratch on it.
You go to blanket The Jerk just as it’s starting to freezing rain and the wind picks up to 60mph. The Jerk is petrified of this blanket and will have nothing to do with it. He runs around and around the paddock working up a sweat. Finally after an hour, you both give up, and you and your horse are drenched to the bone in sweat. You murmur some curse words and say “Fine! Be that way!!!” You head into the house, feeling defeated. The Jerk proceeds to prance around the corral with his tail raised high, doing a victory lap while he tries to free all the other horses of their horse-eating blankets.
This horse grows such a thick winter coat, he puts woolly mammoths to shame. He sweats even when he’s not blanketed and it’s snowing. He is also super fat and thinks shivering wastes precious calories. Blanketing is not even an option for him since all it would do would turn him into a puddle of fur and sweat.
Remember, if you decide to blanket or not, at least summer is over with and the flies are gone for a while.
Well-played, Maria! Thanks for sharing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Blackman Ranch on Facebook here. Located about 45 minutes northwest of Las Vegas, the good folks at Blackman Ranch describe themselves as “just a couple of hillbillies that sell trail horses and mules” but they really do have some good-looking and sweet-sounding equines for sale, if you’re in the market. Even if you aren’t in the market you should go have a look — we ran a feature on their, uh, “unorthodox” sales pitch a couple ago. Go Riding!