Naked Pony!

So I am planning NOT to blanket my Gennyral this year. I have been planning this since last year. The reason I want to give this a try is because last year I noticed that Gen didn’t really need to be blanketed. I knew that my horse grew a great winter coat, but in my area if you love your horse, you blanket them. Only owner’s who didn’t care about their horses left them naked all winter.

I think we can all agree that I love my horse. It sounds stupid, but I didn’t want people to think I didn’t love my pony so I didn’t even think about what would be best for him and so I just blanketed him.

Last year I noticed that my Gen would get warm under his blankets. Sometimes he was even HOT under those blankets. As we all know, Gen tends to be a hot horse in general which is why summer is so hard on him. The more I thought about it the more I started to realize that there was no need to blanket him. He is retired so it is not like he is getting clipped any time soon. Plus, I have all the blankets so if he does get chilly they are right at the barn ready to go on him.

He is such a furry fuzz ball already that I think he will be okay. The tricky thing with going blanket free this year is that I have commit to it. Horses hair protects them very well, but if you put a blanket on it moves the hair in a way that it does not give as much protection. That mean that even on the coldest days he can’t get something on him. That is going to be hard for me. I know that leaving him naked is for the best though. I just hope I can be strong enough to do it! I just need to remember that what Gen needs and what I think Gen needs are not always the same thing!

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10 thoughts on “Naked Pony!

  1. It’s not that people who love their horses blanket them – I don’t know where you got that from. It’s that people who RIDE their horses blanket them. For 2 reasons: 1) keep them clean; 2) keep the hair from growing too long, so they don’t overheat when we ride them.

    It’s safer for Gen not to wear blankets – no getting hung up in buckles, etc.
    It’s more comfortable for Gen – no rubs.
    It’s easier for you because you won’t be worrying about whether the weather is going to get warmer or colder and you’ll have to run to the barn to switch blankets.

    You and he will be fine!

  2. I’ve read that the winter coat “hair” fluffs up and keeps the horse warm, sort of like a bird fluffing its feathers does the same thing. Blankets keep the hair smooth so it can’t fluff up. My OTTB grows quite the coat, too, and I feel like you do–he can’t POSSIBLY be comfortable. Old habits die hard ;o)

  3. My draft cross becomes a wooly mamouth in winter, but for my sanity I put a rain/turnout sheet on him to keep him clean. This seems to work out well for both of us. i would never dream of using a blanket – he would definitely get too warm. Good luck.

  4. Cherry Hill just had a blog post reminding people to not over-wash their horses in the winter if they have a natural coat and no blanket. The oils of the hair help insulate them, so less currying is also important apparently.

  5. I am positive that Gen will be happier naked. Given the frown I get from Tucker when I approach with blankets, he would be too. . . but alas, he’s a show horse and has to stay clipped and sleek at all times. The retired horses that live in my backyard are naked all winter, and they are very content to play in the snow with their warm woolly coats for protection. Last winter on the snowy days I was worried they would be cold, but they were perfectly content munching away at their hay in the barn at night while the snow melted off them. They were actually dry at the base of their coats — amazing what natural defenses these guys have when we stay out of it!

  6. I’ve done this when I didn’t want to keep my horse clipped or heavily blanketed. Keep a waterproof turn-out sheet at the barn at all times. On rainy days, snowy days or bitter, windy days, he’d wear the sheet, just to keep him dry and block the chill. Otherwise he’d go out in his furry birthday suit. I never had a problem doing it this way, horse was healthy and comfortable and I felt better on the really lousy days knowing he had a little something extra to protect him.

  7. Hi,
    I live in Ontario Canada and if the horse is not clipped we generally don’t blanket. It gets very cold and damp here. Yucky, but we survive. The biggest problem is making sure they are completely dry and cooled after a ride.
    My horses (2QH, and 2 Haflingers) live outside 24/7 and they are very happy and warm through the winter. They have a run in shed to get out of the bad weather. My vet advised leaving them natural. He said that the worst weather is freezing rain and to watch to ensure they are not shivering. When it’s freezing rain, I make sure the horses have lots of hay in their shelter. Eating hay helps keep them warm.,
    Some people blanket because they feel better, but like anything else with horses we use our feelings and fears when natural is often healthier.

  8. Oh, I’m with you…it’s hard NOT to blanket on those COLD days b/c you feel like it’s a disservice to the horse..but it’s more for us humans I guess.
    Laz is quite furry too. I’m hoping to ONLY blanket the days if he seems shivery and cold …I always test his ears. Last year, with him being sick..he needed the extra layer and his fur hadn’t had time to grow in.
    This year may be very different b/c he’s healthy and fur ballish.

    You can see the long hairs stand up when they are protecting themselves in the cold-I know the blankets prevent that from happening….so I have one, like you, on standby. 😉

    I’m sure Gen will do great!

  9. I don’t blanket Chevy, but it’s more because I can’t unless I want to muzzle him (which also doesn’t work because he can get even the impossible ones off). He rips up anything left on him while unattended. Bell boots, check. Fly mask, check. Expensive sheet bought to keep him clean for shows, check.

    So, yeah, I don’t blanket and he is always fine. I hate having to cool him out, but hey, it’s just more time with my pony. 😀 Gen will be fine. Chevy has lived all over, including Iowa and South Dakota, without a blanket and he is still here.

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