blanketing issue

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blanketing issue

Post by Admin on Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:40 am

Hi trainers-I have 6 horses in my pasture ranging in age from 1 year to 9 years. Everyone gets along reasonably well. This year I added a yearling filly to the mix and as the weather gets colder, she is proving to be pretty intolerant to the cold. For the first time, I've decided to blanket a horse. The problem is that one of the geldings gets unusually excited and agitated when I blanket this filly. Can horses see color? I wonder if he just likes the color. It's pink. Anyway, when I blanket her, he goes nuts. Running, squealing, tries to mount her, chases her, just becomes a nuisance in general. It seems to be getting worse. I'm not sure how to handle it. When I yell at him or shoo him away from her it seems to make him more agitated.



Thanks,



Cindy, NC
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Re: blanketing issue

Post by Ed Dabney on Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:23 am

Hi Cindy,

Horses cannot see color. They have more rods than cones in their eyes which gives them excellent night vision but they see only in black and white and shades of light and dark.



I would recommend not blanketing your filly. They really don't need blankets especially in the south. Once you begin blanketing you must continue to blanket throughout the winter. Save yourself a ton of trouble and let them grow a winter coat to stay warm. Many times while driving along I have seen horses standing out in pastures on a sunny 60 degree day wearing a heavy winter blanket. Most likely the previous night's temperatures dipped into the 30's or 40's but the owner failed to remove the blanket as the day's temperatures rose. This neglectful behavior by the owner is rude and potentially harmful to the horse. I guarantee the horse is overheating and sweating under that blanket.



In Wyoming my horses lived in the pasture and had a run in shed available to them but they never used it. They were happy to stand out in 15 below zero weather in a blizzard munching hay. They would grow a heavy winter coat and snow would pile up on their backs. As long as they had plenty of good quality hay their body would generate enough heat to keep them comfortable. (Note: if they were losing body heat the snow on their backs would have melted.)



Certainly we prefer to be indoors on a cold or rainy day cuddled up by the fire in a warm blanket drinking a cup of hot chocolate, however, in my opinion, we should allow horses to live in the way they prefer rather than try to force our human characteristics on them. Let them be horses and live outdoors without blankets the way God intended.



Ed
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Re: blanketing issue

Post by Paul Williamson on Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:48 pm

Paul-Well, if you're absolutely sure the filly needs to be rugged, I would keep her and the gelding separated until he has seen enough of that rug. Make sure that he can se her and interact with her over the fence until he has made sure that she's still just the same little filly but with a rug. He should get used to it over time and get bored of it eventually.



Good luck

Paul
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