Hello, my dears. Today we picked out a very interesting article about horse blankets. It is older but still up-to-date. It’s winter and the big question of covering up is back. The mindsets diverge here and this is a good thing. We live in a free country and everyone has their tastes and thoughts and everyone should keep and live them out. What’s so interesting about this article? It is written by a veterinarian who cares about the well-being of the horses and their keeping. Dr. Pick runs Gut Holzen in Icking with his wife Jutta and is very careful about keeping horses appropriately. Dr. Pick has gone from being a racetrack veterinarian to a racetrack critic and has published many exciting articles and books. Just read and say what you think about the topic.
The 8 myths about horse blankets
The well-protected horse
We thank Dr. Maximilian Pick, equine veterinarian, for permission to publish this article.
Anyone who still wants to put the horse to the aid with a simple snaffle or even want to keep a horse species-appropriate, will not keep up with the times. So you can read it out from the numerous accessory catalogs. Horse rugs are also offered there to protect the horse from all possible harm:
The rain blanket protects against rain, the sweat blanket helps the sweaty horse, the kidney blanket protects the horse from kidney colds, while riding you have the exercise blanket, the fashion-conscious rider can choose to ride with a loden blanket or a cotton blanket. The fly sheet protects the horse, stripped of its dirt (protective) layer, possibly even washed and neatly coiffed, from the annoying insects. The stable blanket is for the stable, and the little foal gets used to the perverted blanket cult with a foal blanket in good time. Anyone who thinks that the author of these lines is exaggerating just has to open a corresponding catalog.
But what is the real purpose of the blankets? Surely it cannot be that everyone uses blankets for no good reason.
1st reason: the common cold
A horse that stands in the wind or in the draft, maybe even wet, be it from rain or sweat, will catch a cold. This is what the self-proclaimed “horse connoisseurs” claim. In the 40 years of his veterinary horse practice, the author has not seen a single horse with a cold!
Certainly: there are infectious diseases, hay and straw dust allergies and lung problems due to poorly ventilated stables and the like. These horses help themselves with coughs as a defense and healing measure. They do not have a cold, on the contrary, if they had stood in fresh – cold – air, they would not suffer from respiratory diseases to the same extent.
With a sensible stable, blankets are superfluous: the horses are in the pasture every day and in all weathers and therefore hardly have any respiratory diseases. You have a well-trained thermoregulatory mechanism. So if the reason for the cold is not valid, then there must be another reason to justify decking the horses.
2nd reason: The winter fur
Here, too, the blanket fetishist says: If you do not cover the horses in time in autumn, they will get a thicker winter coat and sweat a lot when riding. Here you can only say: So what …?
It is true that some horses – especially the old ones – get a relatively thick winter coat in winter. Fortunately, because if they are kept in a species-appropriate manner, they should be in the paddock at least during the day, even in winter, and here they need protection from the cold. However, that does not mean that they cannot be worked in winter: The dressage work or jumping training can continue unchanged even with a winter coat. Of course the horses sweat faster and more intensely. But they dry faster if you don’t put a blanket on them afterwards.
They dry fastest in the pasture. The coat and skin are dry within a few minutes. Not so with the covered horses: they may still sweat after an hour. The solariums are downright harmful. The drying process takes even longer here. Ultimately, nature wants to reduce the internal body temperature, which has risen quickly from winter fur and work, by sweating.
Of course, it is impossible to ride a horse intensely and put it in the box or in the paddock without a break. Each work has to be concluded with a longer step phase. The horse should get to know the rider not only as a demanding, but also as a relaxed, friendly and praising friend. In this context it is to be seen as the pinnacle of a missing horsemanship to “hang” the horses on a horse walker to “dry”, which is supposed to replace the psychologically valuable step-final phase.
But it is by no means necessary to ride the horses stride until they are completely dry. The skin and undercoat are often dry after just 5 – 10 minutes. Even a damp horse will not catch a cold in wind and weather.
3rd reason: the tense back
It is unclear what experience the claim is based on that an uncovered horse has back problems more quickly. A good rider will loosen up his horse in the back through correct riding.
The bad rider, however, can cover his horse with three blankets, the horse will always remain tense in spite of this measure in the event of a lack of assistance and poor riding. A blanket as a “riding aid”? Only an inexperienced and poor rider can give this reason.
4th reason: the dirt
Truly, the argument about filth cannot be refuted. In fact, it takes work to “de-crust” a horse that has rolled in the pasture.
But the horse needs the crust of dirt on the skin as a kind of skin and coat care. The horse has different ideas about hygiene and different needs than humans. Let’s leave the horse the joy of rolling in the mud, in the sand or in the earth. It will be happy and have healthy skin too. Even the annoying insects can do this
rather be repulsed. You should have 10 minutes to clean before riding.
5th reason: the increase in value
When Mr. Jumphigh and Mrs. Middeltrot stock up on their 100,000 Euro horse meaningfully after work, “Lieschen Pferdelieb” also hopes that their double pony will gain in value when it is at least wearing a nice blanket.
6th reason: doing good
Many riders, unconsciously or consciously, sometimes (or always) have a guilty conscience when they ask too much of their horse. On the other hand, the horse was very expensive and they want an adequate return from their “sports equipment”. As an excuse, so to speak, or as a thank you, they do something “good” for the horse after they have finished their work: they put a nice blanket on the animal. But they only do something good for themselves!
7th reason: need for care
Horse care is not only a matter of hygiene and health, it is even more important for the well-being of horse owners.
Caring for, caring for, looking after, mothering, petting, additional feeding and the like somehow culminates in a blanket. She is the crown of care. Man is doing himself a favor here.
Young girls in particular, who have just exchanged their dolls for a horse, believe that they have to continue their care here. You will certainly not do the horse any good with this non-natural care.
8th reason: veterinary emergency
This is really one of the few sensible reasons for a blanket: In shock – be it after an accident, colic, severe blood loss or the like, it can be of great importance to protect the horse from further temperature loss.
Here a good warm blanket is absolutely sensible and justified.