Monday, February 18, 2013

What to Wear

Or Just Go Naked

Thought I needed a post here to lighten up the mood a bit. Little Cocopuff is isolated in the sunroom for the time being until she tests negative again for Feline Leukemia, so I have been spending time with her several times a day. We play with a riding whip string toy she has three times destroyed when I left her alone with it. I think she has her mother's hunting instinct.

So, I have been well entertained as the weather shifts from one mood to the other outside.

Which leads to the the topic line. What to wear?  The horses, not me.

When I boarded out, I paid strict attention to the weather reports. I hated to ask the busy barn help to constantly change blankets and sheets on my horses, so I tried to keep it as simple as possible. I usually double layered if the night was extra cold and then only asked for the top sheet to be removed in the morning before turnout. If my boarding barn was truly budget price, I'd go there in the morning to put the right "clothes" on each horse if I hadn't been able to garb him correctly the night before.

Now, with the Boys in the back yard, is should be a cinch.

Well, it would be if Mother Nature were not so fickle. More than once, I've found myself trudging out to the barn to change  a blanket to a sheet or vica versa as temperatures wildly swapped from freezing to tropic within hours.

When I get called to substitute teach for the day--gee, it's like not being retired--then I have to decide in the morning exactly what the Boys will wear for the day.

I chose right today. Even though it was supposed to warm up to 37-38F and be sunny--weather for sheets--I left the little herd in their midweight winter blankets. The wind stayed brisk all day and wind chills made it feel as if it were in the low 20's or even colder.

Obviously, the "naked" option mentioned in the subheader would solve the problem altogether.  Horses can survive just fine without extra coverings when they are well fed, have some kind of shelter from the wind, and are allowed to grow their own winter coats.

But, I feel better when they have the added protection of waterproof sheets and blankets in the erratic weather of New Jersey winters.

So, I keep my eye on the weather forecast for each day and try to make the right decision. It's an interesting game of chance.


  1. I do the same thing - the guys put on the blankets in the morning and take them off at night - the barn is heated to 45 degrees. Sometimes it's a real guessing game with the big temperature swings we get. My boys have two pieces of clothing each - a rain sheet and a mid-weight blanket. Dawn has four - plus a fleece cooler - so she has lots of options. She has a rain sheet, a lightweight blanket, a midweight blanket and a full neck Rambo heavyweight. If temperatures are really cold and windy - wind chills in the single digits - she gets the fleece cooler under her Rambo. I always have to blanket her one level heavier than the boys, as she's inclined to get cold easily.

  2. It's the mud and precipitation that's messing me up. I blanket mostly just to keep them dry, but this weather is crazy: 50 and sunny one minute, then freezing rain out of nowhere. I have to scramble outside to scrape the mud off the boys and get their blankets back on. Ironically, Matilda the pony doesn't wear a blanket because of her ridiculously thick coat, yet she is the cleanest of them all. She stays dry, too. The rain wicks right off her coat. Maybe there's something to that naked idea...

  3. For the past two years we've gone for the naked option. It was always like a game of Russian Roulette trying to figure out the weather and right combination of blankets and sheets. They seem to have adjusted just fine to being naked in any weather. They have shelter and plenty of hay all day and even on snowy or extra cold nights some of them refuse to come in so I guess they're comfortable.

  4. :D
    Just ran out to put the rain sheet on to avoid a wet horse because even though it's 50, it will drop into the 30's tonight with a cold wind.

  5. i reckon rugs are for keeping them clean... but seriously, if we want to ride our horses in the winter, we need to clip a little or a lot, and then have to replace what we've clipped the stabled horse will get cold standing in (heated barns? luxury!) ..

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