BLAN­KET­ING

EQUUS - - Eq Hands on -

HANDS ON

Cindy McDon­ald, Asheville, North Carolina

Send your sug­ges­tions for in­ex­pen­sive horse-care sub­sti­tutes as well as hints for sav­ing ef­fort and time to Hands On, EQUUS, 656 Quince Or­chard Road, #600, Gaithers­burg, MD 20878; Fax: 301-990-9015; e-mail: EQLet­[email protected]­work.com. Senders of pub­lished items will re­ceive se­lected EQUUS mer­chan­dise.

Win­ter weather is still a few months off, but it’s not too early to think about blan­ket­ing. Your first de­ci­sion, of course, is whether your horse will even need one. Although they might ap­pre­ci­ate the added warmth, most horses can grow a win­ter coat thick enough to re­main com­fort­able in freez­ing tem­per­a­tures. There are two sit­u­a­tions, how­ever, when you need to treat a blan­ket as a ne­ces­sity:

• Horses who have trou­ble main­tain­ing their body weight. A cold horse will burn calo­ries to keep warm and, if he’s not get­ting enough from his diet, his body will pull from his fat stores to meet the need. A horse who is al­ready on the thin side or one who has a history of los­ing weight dur­ing the cold months is likely to be bet­ter off with a blan­ket.

• Horses who will be clipped. Any­time you re­move a horse’s nat­u­ral pro­tec­tion from the el­e­ments, you need to re­place it with a blan­ket. A horse with a low trace clip, which leaves a full coat on the hindquar­ters, back, neck and most of the loins, may be fine un­cov­ered, es­pe­cially in more tem­per­ate cli­mates. But if you re­move much more of your horse’s win­ter coat, be pre­pared to blan­ket through­out the sea­son.

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