Question about blanketing

My family and I have recently moved to Tracy, California. I used to live up in Washington, but my stepdad got a promotion that required us moving down south. Up in WA I rode my grandparents’ horses, Buzz and Comet. That was good, but both of them were Jack-of-all-Trades, Master-of-Nothing. I’m looking to excel in my jumping skills, so I’m going to adopt an OTTB from CANTER.

Now to the actual question. I know that most- if not all -TB’s have thin skin, and in WA it would have been absolutely necessary to blanket one for the winter. But do I still need to blanket the horse in the CA winter? I don’t know much about how cold it gets down here, so I was hoping someone else from CA could help me out.

Also, if I do need a blanket, what density/weight do I need?

Not from California, but they have their cool days. I would invest in a nice T/O sheet with 1200 weight, then layer if you need more or less with lighter weight.

Looking at the weather for there, I would say maybe for turnout at night (gets down to 30s/40s) But it’s almost 70 during the day in February! No blanket needed there.

It will depend also on whether you intend to clip and how much of a winter coat your individual horse grows. I have known plenty of TB who get adequately furry.

It really depends on the individual horse (and owner! :wink: )

My 17 yo Ottb only wears her blanket ( a Medium weight Amigo turnout) when it is really cold, which means, here in Maine, when the temperature falls under 20 degrees (or the windchill makes it really cold out). For instance, tonight, after weeks of temps in the single digits, it is a balmy 20 outside and probably 25 or 30 F in the barn, so I took her blanket off.

She grows a decent coat in winter. On rainy / windy / snowy but not too cold days, she wears a 1200 denier uninsulated rain sheet.

My old TB was part yak, and in his younger years made it quite clear he preferred no blankets.

So it is really an individual horse thing, too.

I was looking at blankets on the SmartPak website (so I know what to get) and I had my eyes on a couple different Amigo blankets. Do they hold out well?

I live about 20 minutes from there (welcome to the area!) and you will not need a blanket more than 200 grams and you’ll be pulling it off during the day a lot unless the horse is body clipped.

That’s a good question. Hold up well to what?

The Amigo line is split into two, the Hero 6 and the Bravo 12. The Hero isn’t worth getting, the Bravo is reasonably nice. The Bravo will hold up to average use. If this new horse may be hard on blankets or is turned out with a blanket biter; this blanket may turn up in shreds.

The best thing you can do with blankets is to invest in nice ones. Spending the money upfront is going to prevent you from having to replace and repair on the tail end. The goal of the average Rambo blanket is 10-15 years, that is 3x the goal of the average Amigo (combining the Hero line and Bravo line into one average). On top of that, Rambo has a 3 year warranty on waterproofing and breathability and a 1 year warranty on hardware. Amigo carries none of those.

So when doing the price breakdown:
The initial price of a medium and lite Rambo, barring any sales tax, is $617.98 as opposed to $327.94 with the same weights in the Amigo Bravo line. So assuming they both function on the high side of their estimates, the Amigo Bravo will most likely last 7 years, and the Rambo will most likely last 15. That means that with two blanket purchases you still won’t cover the length of time one Rambo will cover. Also, the Rambo blankets are only 88.4% more expensive meaning that in just blanket purchases to span the 14 years (ignoring the last year that only the Rambo will cover) you will spend an extra $37.90 on the Amigo blankets.

Lets say you are going to do it yourself in your own home industrial sized washing machine, the rug wash costs $21.99. Allowing for a little spillage and overfill/underfill you get about 4 years for 2 blankets washed once every spring. That comes out to $2.75 per blanket per year, estimating on the high side. The Rug Proof happens to be the expensive stuff. It’s about $29.99 for Nikwax Synthetic Rug Proof and that bottle will only do two blankets. So that is $29.99 per year. That is $89.97 that you KNOW you don’t have to spend on a Rambo because it is guaranteed. Generally, if you have no plans of clipping and if the horse and his pasture mates are not hard on the blankets, you can wait longer to re-waterproof. If you intend to use the blanket as the horse’s shelter when outside, I would say “don’t wait” just re-proof.

I know that was a lot of information, but you asked a bit of a loaded question.

Amigos hold up well for what they are intended for. Light-moderate use; 5-7 year “life expectancy”. But they will most likely cost you more in the long run with blanket repairs and re-proofing along with replacement costs when the life expectancy is up. So far the estimation is $127.87 between difference in blanket prices, plus re-proofing costs the 3 years while Rambos is under the waterproofing guarantee. But why don’t we add in a 7th of the price of a 3rd set of blankets, to make up for the year difference, just to keep things a little more in perspective. That comes to $46.85 for one year’s worth of blanket use (because that’s how the real market works, right? lol).

That’s $174.72. By saving $290.04 on the initial purchase price you wind up spending $464.31 over time.

you should check out this infographic I found the other day, it gives you alot of details about blanketing your horse.

Some of that stuff is good but some of it is weird. Who puts a sheet on a horse in the 60s even if it’s clipped?

Horses are most comfortable around 40 degrees with a full coat. Most clipped horses only need a sheet in the 40s and in the 50s when raining. Unclipped horses are waterproof, most will be just fine in the 50s without a blanket.

Also, “there is no point in spending money on the most expensive blanket that is knowingly going to get destroyed promptly” is wrong on so many levels. The first level happens to be grammatically. The more expensive the blanket, the more durable it is. I’ve seen horses destroy blankets before, I’ve also owned a gelding who liked to remove his blanket with his buddy. The blankets that DO survive the longest are the expensive ones.

I’d like to note that my gelding came with 2 Rambos when we bought him in 1999 (they were at least 2 years old by then). He put them through the ringer in a field of geldings taking them off, laying down in the pond in them, and trying to scrape it off on trees (when the barn staff took too long to take the blankets off). When we sold him in 2009 he still had both of them. They had a rip here and there but the rips never spread and were able to be patched. They were still in good enough condition to maintain waterproofing and were able to be re-waterproofed as needed. When we ran into him at a show in 2013 he still had both of them. They last forever.

[QUOTE=yourcolorfuladdiction;8023028]Some of that stuff is good but some of it is weird. Who puts a sheet on a horse in the 60s even if it’s clipped?

Horses are most comfortable around 40 degrees with a full coat. Most clipped horses only need a sheet in the 40s and in the 50s when raining. Unclipped horses are waterproof, most will be just fine in the 50s without a blanket.

Also, “there is no point in spending money on the most expensive blanket that is knowingly going to get destroyed promptly” is wrong on so many levels. The first level happens to be grammatically. The more expensive the blanket, the more durable it is. I’ve seen horses destroy blankets before, I’ve also owned a gelding who liked to remove his blanket with his buddy. The blankets that DO survive the longest are the expensive ones.

I’d like to note that my gelding came with 2 Rambos when we bought him in 1999 (they were at least 2 years old by then). He put them through the ringer in a field of geldings taking them off, laying down in the pond in them, and trying to scrape it off on trees (when the barn staff took too long to take the blankets off). When we sold him in 2009 he still had both of them. They had a rip here and there but the rips never spread and were able to be patched. They were still in good enough condition to maintain waterproofing and were able to be re-waterproofed as needed. When we ran into him at a show in 2013 he still had both of them. They last forever.[/QUOTE]

My 36 year old TB mare gets a sheet at night in her stall once the temps drop below about 65.
At my old barn we had a TB gelding that had a “horrible colic” every time the temps dropped below 70. The BO, who pulled out her sweatshirts at <70 decided to run a test. We put a sheet on the gelding when we saw her in a sweatshirt. Gelding never had another case of colic.

I blanket or don’t blanket the horse in front of me.

I’m from California (Bay Area) and even though I’ve never had to deal with anything colder than ~30 degrees F at night), I’ve always blanketed. I know plenty of people who don’t if their horse grows an adequate winter coat, but I like the extra layer to protect from moisture and wind that might add a chill factor. If the horse is body clipped then you should blanket for sure.

Honestly, if you’re committed enough to putting on/taking off the blanket everyday (which you’ll be doing a lot if you do blanket around here) you could probably get away with a single 180-200g blanket. I like to have a sheet on hand as well for weird temperature days.

Depends on the particular TB you get.
My TB was also OTT (failed racer, but worked as a pony horse for the trainer) - he was blanketed the first 5yrs I owned him because I was at a show barn where everyone got blanketed, clip or not.

Then I moved and started experimenting, ending up when I brought him home at age 22 after ~ 3yrs where he went unblanketed in our Midwest Winters.
He lived out by his choice - my barn has free access to stalls, but he came in mostly to eat & went right back out.
He grew a haircoat that would make a Wooly Mammoth envious.
And I only put a blanket (turnout with medium fill) on when we got blizzard-like snow and/or icy rain. and even then, once he was dry beneath that blanket, off it came.

My current WB was bred in the part of Australia that has a climate like Florida, then spent 5yrs in Florida before he came to me.
He grows a pitiful Winter coat - more plush than yak - but was still fine going unblanketed the first 4yrs I had him here.
Then last Spring he came out of Winter a bit ribbier than I like to see. So this Winter he’s been blanketed since temps stayed below 30F, along with adding a high-fat supplement to his feed.

Sorry to ramble, but you will need to assess how your horse feels about the weather.
Shivering? Tail to the wind? Blanket.
Hanging out, eating as normal & looking their usual self? No blanket needed.
Like someone else mentioned, horses are cold-weather animals & are usually comfortable around 40F.
If your horse is otherwise, blanket as you need to.
There is no hard & fast Rule.

[QUOTE=jtkorth;8021379]My family and I have recently moved to Tracy, California. I used to live up in Washington, but my stepdad got a promotion that required us moving down south. Up in WA I rode my grandparents’ horses, Buzz and Comet. That was good, but both of them were Jack-of-all-Trades, Master-of-Nothing. I’m looking to excel in my jumping skills, so I’m going to adopt an OTTB from CANTER.

Now to the actual question. I know that most- if not all -TB’s have thin skin, and in WA it would have been absolutely necessary to blanket one for the winter. But do I still need to blanket the horse in the CA winter? I don’t know much about how cold it gets down here, so I was hoping someone else from CA could help me out.

Also, if I do need a blanket, what density/weight do I need?[/QUOTE]

Definitely not all! I have had some on my farm that are yaks in the winter (even one that supposedly didn’t grow a thick coat – you do have to let them grow the coat, that is, don’t start blanketing early in the fall when the temps are in the 30’s-40’s).

Absolutely it depends on the horse (age, health, thickness of coat).

It also depends on the facilities you’ll have – is there shelter from wind and rain? If yes, blanketing may not be necessary. (It also depends on the horse’s personality too – is he sensible, and willing to go into the run-in, or does he stand outside it in the rain, shivering?).

Finally, remember that horses do better in the cold than in the heat. In an otherwise healthy horse with a good coat of fur, I would not blanket at all (assuming the lowest temp you have is in the 30’s).

If you were to buy anything, I’d buy just a waterproof sheet. That will keep the horse dry and be a windbreak.