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Question:

Will my horse be okay without a rug for one night in winter? please help?

I am away from my horses at the moment and i have to call each day to have them rugged. I couldnt get a hold of the lady today and they may not be rugged. its winter here (not snowing here ever) and they have always had doona type rugs on of a night. will they be ok and not get sick?im so worried i feel sick

Answer:

They're more likely to get sick from *being* rugged than not. Really, unless you have body-clipped them or maintained them under lights and with rugs to prevent any winter coat from developing, horses are much healthier if humans don't meddle in their thermo-regulatory functions. They can adapt to abrupt changes in temp if left to their own devices, but once blanketed they lose that ability because the blanket lays their hair down flat and doesn't allow responses to more or less heat/cold. The fact that so few horses get sick while using a rug/blanket is more of a testament to their hardiness than an endorsement of rugging. If the horse is healthy, had a decent layer of fat and haircoat, isn't wet and the wind isn't blowing hard, and it has enough hay/forage to stay warm, it can thrive in any weather. Think of all the wild or feral horses, and those whose owners allow them to be natural horses. Some don't even have those minimums I just mentioned - they live in the open, with no shelter from rain or snow, and the only feed available is under a meter of snow and the wind is blowing hard - they come through the winter a little thinner, but still healthy. Really, your horse will be fine. Consider leaving the rugs off unless it gets much colder than usual or if the horse is already sick from some other reason. In times like that, then yes it is good to provide a little more care.
Aug 23, 2017
This is one of the problems that people get into when they start to rug their horses/ it is too late now to start worrying this winter as the horse has not been allowed to grow it's own natural and custom made rug in order to deal with the winters where it lives. it will probably do fine right now but next spring, let the horse shed and grow it's own coat naturally, then by the end of summer it will begin to grow it's own coat specially blended for the winters. leave the horse alone, it will be fine, forget the rug, and you will no longer have to worry if anyone will be around to put the rug on or take the rug off, or what ever.
Aug 23, 2017
Where I used to live Everyone blanketed, I moved and now where I live it is MUCH colder and Nobody blankets. I have found that at first the horses have a little harder time if they have never been exposed to the elements but they adjust quickly because naturally in the wild that is what they do. He will develop a fuzzy coat even if it is late in the season. Provide Lots of hay, Make sure it is grass hay, since he can't move much you don't want to feed him high quality feeds as he will get too much energy and may re-injure himself, or start gaining a lot of weight (not good for a healing injury). If this is happening on just grass hay, find a poor quality grass hay and give him a multivitamin/mineral mix to make sure he remains nutritionally sound. Also, feeding a low quality hay will help with his boredom because hopefully you can give him unlimited and he will be able to eat/graze as he chooses. The continual digestion will help him generate body heat. He will be cold for a while but he will get it figured out. Just remember if you 'rescue' him every time from the slightest cold it isn't healthy for him and will make him weaker in the long-run, because they forget how to care for themselves. In the wild they survive blizzards and come out kicking, playing, and having fun, and I have seen them do so in captivity as well- their owners just need to let them learn how to do it.
Aug 23, 2017
As long as your horses have a decent hair coat, place to get out of the wind (a wall is fine) and hay to eat they will be just fine. Even if it was snowing they'd be fine-freezing rain is the worst thing for them. Stop worrying-horses have extremely efficient heating systems.
Aug 23, 2017
Horses stand out in the cold and rain and have for millions of years - from long before they were domesticated. I bet they'll be fine.
Aug 23, 2017

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