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How cold do you let your good doers get?

14 replies

Champagneandmonstermunch · 02/04/2021 15:57

For the first time I've found myself with a horse who does not need industrial quantities of hard feed to get through the winter without looking like a hat rack. In fact after a winter of just low energy chaff and a balancer he is still a little plumper than I'd like. He hasn't had a rug on for at least the last month, other than a rain sheet if it's been wet.

Now the temperature is due to go down to about -2 I'm wondering whether he'd cope without a rug on, and it it might even be good for him to shiver off some weight. I will feel a bit mean though if I do leave him naked. I'd be interested to know what other people do.

OP posts:
lastqueenofscotland · 02/04/2021 17:23

Has he been clipped recently.
If not I’d leave him unrugged
They are so much better at regulating their temperature than we are

AmberItsACertainty · 02/04/2021 17:31

Warm base of ears, cold tips. Not actually shivering or looking tucked up. The minus 2 will be the lowest point of the night not all 8hrs of it. Is there a bit of shelter from wind? Do they have any hair, either a partially grown out hunter clip or a fresh trace clip, for example? If there's some hair they'll fare a lot better than you'd think. Ultimately it causes far more problems to be overweight. At this time of year it's best to be a bit lean so weight gain over summer is less problematic.

EasterIsComing · 02/04/2021 21:00

An unclipped, well covered horse can cope with -2. Wet weather is more difficult but saying that an unclipped horse that isn’t over groomed will generally cope with rain too. It definitely helps in managing their weight if you let them deal with a bit of weather.

Champagneandmonstermunch · 02/04/2021 21:19

He was clipped, trace clip in about November, but it's pretty much grown out now

OP posts:
Champagneandmonstermunch · 02/04/2021 21:19

No rain forecast here, just cold.

OP posts:
BertramLacey · 02/04/2021 21:56

This article is useful OP

Bear in mind in particular that a horse's thermo-neutral zone is much wider than a human's. I'd say an overweight horse could cope fine with -2 fine at this time of year when the days are longer, so it won't be at that temperature for a prolonged period.

Newstaronhorizon · 02/04/2021 21:59

If you have mud then a lightweight sheet works well just to keep them clean Smile

Champagneandmonstermunch · 03/04/2021 11:11

Thanks for the article. I think I'm going to let him take his chances with the cold, and see how he gets on. Luckily its been dry for a while here, so the mud has pretty much dried up!

OP posts:
OldSpeclkledHen · 03/04/2021 18:33

Ours live out, rugs came off in early Feb?

They look a bit rough, but I can see ribs on my good doer, so yours will cope!

KlippertyKlop · 06/04/2021 09:41

Did he cope OP? I've a very similar creature and circs and decided to leave her naked with a belly clip (last done in Jan) last night! Barely slept for worrying and went crack early to check. Toasty as anything!!

I thought I'd done well last winter with just a lightweight and still spent all summer working and stressing like a maniac to get the fat off. We're starting this spring in a vastly improved position.

I'm a complete convert Smile

Champagneandmonstermunch · 07/04/2021 08:29

He's been fine. Wasn't at all interesting in coming in when I went down yesterday. Last night was worse as we had a short snow shower. I nearly went back down and put a rug on, but when I checked he was only damp on the top of his coat and still seemed quite happy. I just hope it works in getting the weight off.

OP posts:
KlippertyKlop · 07/04/2021 22:04

Ah that's good. Yes, I'm hoping this last cold spell will help shift the final bit. At least they'll have both burnt more calories than they would have otherwise, so we can feel good about that! Good luck with keeping on top Smile

RatherBeRiding · 08/04/2021 12:53

I have a very good doer who lives out naked 24/7 even when it was -5 a few weeks back. She dropped a little bit of weight (Yay!!) but it's now creeping back on. I gave her a tiny bib clip at the start of winter but next winter I might have to be more ruthless. She was NEVER cold when I stuck a hand in her armpit.

Also have a rather poor doer who also lives out 24/7 (although they do have access to a shelter and I do pop a no-neck rug on him overnight when it's forecast baltic.) The poor doer does drop weight, but he's never cold (armpit test) which I'm happy with, as they are supposed to drop weight in winter and I believe the cycle of weight on/weight off regulates the hormones and helps prevent laminitis.

Trivium4all · 08/04/2021 21:02

I have 3 good doers: 1 youngish cobby pony, who was nude through the 50mph winds and snow of the past days, 1 c. 20yo pony with Cushing's, who was also nude, and 1 15yo mare with Cushing's, who got a LW on because she's always the first to shiver. As long as they have adequate free-choice forage and some shelter, I generally let them get on with it. If someone is shivering, they get a rug on. If I think someone is likely to be shivering if I don't put a rug on, they might also get a rug on. In total, I've rugged for about 1 week this winter, and they had hay only during the time with deep snow. I feel rather mean, they have a visible shadow of ribs (well, not the cobby pony), and the vet is super happy with their weight coming into spring! This time of year, better a bit too light than a bit too heavy!

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