A horse with a heavy winter coat is sweating during exercise and the long hair will dry more slowly. That is the reason why many sport horses are being clipped. This automatically means that the horse, in order to compensate for the clipped winter coat, needs to wear one or more blankets to keep warm. In order to determine whether the horse is feeling cold or warm, many horse owners turn out to trust their own feelings.
But this is not wise!
People without clothes do not get too warm or too cold at a temperature between 28 and 30 degrees Celsius, this is the so-called thermo-neutral zone. For an unclipped horse, this zone is between -5 and +15 degrees. A clipped horse is feeling most comfortable with temperatures between 10 and 20°C. The unclipped horse is therefore only feeling cold when temperatures get below -5°C, or in case of long-term precipitation or extreme wind, that makes the temperature drop considerably. A horse that is feeling cold, is shivering to get warm again.
This same unclipped horse is already feeling too warm when the mercury rises above 15°C. And because of exercise, the temperature in the muscles can sometimes reach up to 45°C. The horse needs to get rid of this heat, otherwise it will get overheated. The horse will start sweating; when the cooler outside air blows along the wet skin, the blood will cool down. This cooled blood flows to the muscles so that the temperature also drops there.
You can support the cooling down process by having the horse trotted or to rinse your horse with cold or lukewarm water. You can prevent the horse from cooling down too fast and getting stiff by using a sweat blanket (Fleece Rugbe Classic). Remove the sweat blanket on time because once the blanket has absorbed the sweat, it becomes wet and the horse will cool down under a wet blanket.
A clipped horse needs a winter blanket during the winter. In general, unclipped horses usually only need blankets when the outside temperature is below -5 degrees. Pay good attention, because the wind chill factor can be considerably lower than the actual temperature because of wind and rain. So always pay attention to the wind chill factor! Cold wind or long term precipitation can be a reason to use a blanket. The warmth of the blanket is being determined by the stuffing, expressed in grams. 0 up to 100 grams (Outdoor Rugbe Zero) can be used between 0 up to +15 degrees. 200 up to 300 grams (Rugbe Ice Protect 200) is being advised at -10 up to +10 degrees and 300-500 gram blankets (Rugbe Ice Protect 300) from -20 up to +5 degrees.
In case the blanket will be used outdoor, you should choose a waterproof and breathable blanket. Under a too thick or badly breathable winter blanket, the horse will start sweating and the stuffing will get wet. Once the temperature will drop again at night, the horse will get cold. Instead of one blanket, it is also possible to choose for layers. Please keep in mind that two thinner blankets will provide more heat because of the insulating effect of the air in between.