There is no doubt about it, horse people are crazy. One prime example is the debate/screaming match that occurs when you mention the word “blanketing” to anyone who owns a horse. They will have an opinion. And they will not like yours. Let’s be clear on this issue. Horse blanketing is your choice.
I was inspired after seeing a few articles pop up on my Facebook feed that showcase a ton of scientific research about the negative effects of blanketing. Yes, there is science but there is also a way to utilize scientific information to drive only one perspective. Let me digress for a moment and tell you that I teach my upper classmen in Econ about this concept. It’s called positive and normative statistics. For example, positive statistics says that 2 + 2 = 4 and you really can’t argue with it because it’s factual information. But normative statistics means someone takes that factual information and attaches an opinion to it. So 2 + 2 = 4 and therefore we should imposes a child-bearing limit. You see what I mean?
Back to blanketing. This scientific article leads many to believe that blanketing is weakening our horses and we should just let them adapt without. But there are too many factors and differences in horses to (pun intended) throw out a blanket statement on blanketing. Nope, not happening here. The horses are blanketed when day time temps reach below freezing and/or there will be freezing rain with temps below 40. This comes after years of watching the horses and adjusting their blanketing schedule and buying light to medium weight blankets. I am not one for babying my horses and all for letting them be as close to natural in many elements as possible (barefoot trims for instance). But I’ve also watched Big Mike shiver uncontrollably after standing out in freezing rain during an early winter month. He likes to stand out in rain and snow – he’s going to be blanketed to protect his already fluffy, natural coat from becoming wet and therefore, not dependable for warmth. Finding a blanket that actually fits his big ass is another post on its own. Oh, wait – wrote about that here.
Another article from the North Horse addresses a fake study that “convinced” many non-blanket, pitchfork waving horse owners that they were right and the blanket idiots were wrong. The study was fake but the pitchforks still remained. Seriously though, you do you. If you want to blanket because that is what’s right for your horse, then blanket.
I will say that it is a worthwhile investment to research your blankets and insure that you are providing the correct weight and size. Plus, you should be washing and maintaining blankets several times throughout the winter – I have a great post on winter prep that includes a great link for blanket maintenance here.