I recently moved my new girl to a barn that is very well insulated (and even minimally heated to keep water from freezing) during the winter (I’m in Kansas, so though we don’t have Michigan-style winters, it’s pretty common for temps to drop into the single digits, and we have snow for most of December-Feb most years). The barn also has a warm (stays around 45 degrees) indoor arena for winter riding.
I’ve never had the luxury of owning a horse in a well-insulated winter barn. My girl is on turnout for 6 hours each day, comes in for lunch, and then is in the barn all night. Since I’ve never had an indoor in the winter and my horses have always been pasture horses before, I’ve never bothered with blanketing–both horses I’ve owned in the past simply got wooly, and their work dropped to once a week putzing around, due to the weather.
However, now that I have the facilities to work through the winter (focusing on dressage with the occasional jumping lesson), I plan to do so. I’ll be riding her 4-5 times a week, moderately, as I want to keep her in shape, though not quite full work like in the summer.
I don’t plan on showing anytime soon, so keeping her show-clipped isn’t a huge concern of mine. But I figure if she’s going to be worked, she will probably at least need a strip clip.
What do you all do with horses in similar situations? Should I let her grow her coat out, and just invest in a good cooler for after rides (and would she be too hot inside with a full coat)?Strip clip and let her grow a coat? Blanket her? (and if so, with what? Just a liner+turnout? What weights?)
I know there is probably a million different ways to go about this and it may largely be personal preference, but as I’ve always had pasture horses with very limited winter facilities, I’m all new to the world of heated stable+turnout, clipping, and blankets, and wanted to get some expert opinions!