About this Blog

Meet my very 1st horse, Lazarus.
I couldn't wait for Santa anymore or ask one more time for a pony for my bday (after age 30 it got embarrassing). I took matters in my own hands and I finally decided to pick a pony that needed a new home. Laz found me as I contemplated with this idea. He was sweet yet very sassy, fresh off the track, Thoroughbred (OTTB).
Join us for our re-training, rehabbing from laminitis and testing all parts of mixed up horsemanship and partnership, and luck...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ADD thoughts

So, I blame this post on too much coffee!
But, I've had some thoughts swirling inside my head, so I am deciding to purge them onto paper, er blog.
So, here it goes.

Coconut Oil.
BIG fan of it. In fact, I'm obsessed with the Coconut as a whole; the nut, the oil, the water...but for myself.  How does this translate to my furried Equine?
 Last night it sprung to me, perhaps I should have some Coconut Oil at the barn.
Why you ask?
For treatments of thrush and bruising for Laz's tender tootsies. It's natural, relatively inexpensive and why the frick not? I'm going to give it a go...Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Anyone else want to weigh in on this? 

As climates and seasons are swiftly changing, I am moving on to....Blanketing
For those that live in the cooler climates (we are in SE Michigan) when do you blanket your horse?
Or do you?
I struggle with this EVERY year.
Laz's current living situation; he has the choice to be outside roaming his 6 acres (about half that now as two of the fields are being preserved for Spring/Summer) and is able to walk into any of the large stalls (3) and under the lean to.
So he has great protection. He is very happy with his herd and they all allow each other in the space and even sometimes I find two of them in one stall grooming each other.
His fur coat is THICK, but he is an OTTB and was Florida bred, so I do worry he isn't warm enough. With his fur, it's sometimes easy to think he's fatter, but ribs are EASILY felt although he's NOT thin currently.
Especially in the last couple of days, where it's been raining, sleet, some snow and about 36 degrees to 23 at night.
Once I put his winter blanket on, it's kinda ON through the winter. I give him random days off without it but it flattens the hair so much that it leaves him cooler than when before I blanketed him.
So, hence the back and forth of "Do I...don't I?"
Now, on cooler days when it's damp...I worry his wet fur won't keep him warm especially if he chooses to not stand inside and dry off like a good pony should.
For the last week, I've just been watching him; making sure he's eating/drinking/pooping like normal and checking his ears/muzzle for warmth.
The general rule is if they have enough hay, they will keep themselves warm without a blanket, and have access to shelter to get out of wind/rain/snow.
That assumes;
A. they don't eat up all their mass amount of hay that I shove in front of them all day/night long, we don't do round bales.
B. they choose to stand in shelter to get out of elements...we all know that sometimes we question their brain ability to choose what we WANT to be the right choice.
Pouring rain=Laz standing out in it by choice grazing around. UGH
A little wind=Laz standing in his stall acting as though Lions are in the field
So, I have a hay net (large-fits about 4-6 flakes of hay) that I stuff full of hay. He shares that with two others, and in addition to that, Laz gets 8 flakes of hay a day.
But it's not 24/7 grazing...
He is still naked as of now (Gasp!) but I have my blanket in my car ready to spring into action....which may be soon!
I want to hold out as long as possible as long as he's warm and comfortable...and if he was on my own property I could run out and check on him and assess the needing it or not.
Alas, he's not in my backyard, so I have to plan 1, 2 days ahead as I go out to the barn pretty much every other day.
I am more concerned with having him blanketed and being too hot vs too cold
We are past the rain sheet in weather, that has no fill and would probably just make him colder (ie flattening out his hair) but would keep him dry.
See..the insanity?
Am I the only one laying awake at 4 am thinking of this?


  1. No, no you are not! Coconut oil-big big yes! I hadn't thought of putting it on thrushy feets, especially if you mix in some tea tree oil? Sounds awesome. You can feed it for weight gain as well, cocosoya anyone?
    As far as blanketing- in general I don't. I have one that fits Bailey, my TB mare, but it was actually my old recued drafty/WB mutt Mo's. He was skinny so I did blanket him in freezing weather. This year I may blanket Rascal (ancient little Morab) since his weight is nowhere near where I want it to be (I have a paddock paradise{incidentally he stopped eating hay free choice until I gave him restricted access nets} and he gets a multi-vitamin w/ probiotics, source, rice bran and flax, I have tried EVERYTHING for weight, but I digress) even though he has a coat Cousin It would envy (pony, not cushings, he has had that winter coat the entire 14 years I have had him). But I am struggling with that decision the same as you. When to blanket? What fill? A variety?? When do I take it off? Will he panic and almost kill himself with it(this came very close to happening when he was in his late teens)? As far as Bailey (TB mare, bred in Illinois) and Ta'ceyewi (TB/App coming 3yr old gelding) they will stay naked this year, with hay in front of their Heavy Duty Hoover Equine model mouths. (I live in eastern NC, so not exactly frigid area, but we get our fair share of freezing weather!)

  2. I am not blanketing Shyloh, however, she is a Halfinger and hardy and she is already covered in fuzz.

    Some people at my barn have put a blanket on their horses and these horses are stalled at night. I read somewhere that 40 degrees F is a comfortable temp for horses.

    But I do understand the concern about Laz being outside in the wet and cold! I personally feel it is a not quite cold enough to blanket, especially if you want a some natural protection.

    Horses may be weird to us (standing in rain, afraid of wind) but they will do what feels right for them! Unfortunately, I don't think there is a right answer, but the temps here are getting below freezing at night, however it is supposed to be sunny during the day, but still chilly. Would anyone in your barn put on the blanket at night and take it off in the morning?

  3. This is the first of I've heard this about coconut oil. I will look into it. Might be a good alternative to use during the snow season.

    The blanket ballet is the worst. I try to only blanket when it's really cold and windy (like 14F or colder) and then I'm still having a heart attack that they're going to get a leg caught and kill themselves. Sometimes I think it's better to leave them a little cold and not worry about it.

  4. You know, I don't blanket them either. Too much pain. Cleaning then, fixing them, buying them. I figured god gave them a blanket already. There bodies know to change to climate, even if they are born in warm weather. My horses don't get round bales either. There are wild horses living in extreme winters and they don't get much to eat as well. But if you have time and it make you feel better. Plus, Laz needs his strong immune sytem!!! There is NOTHING wrong with the blankets:) Love us!! XOOXOO

  5. I live in Georgia (as you know!) and I am already blanketing. Besides Poppy, who we already clipped because she was sweating TOO much when she is worked (another side note: do yall deal with that in the north?! P's coat gets disgusting long and then I ride her and its 50 degrees and she sweats like a mo-fo then takes forever to dry!), Ella doesn't grow much of a winter coat at all. She is practically equivalent to P clipped! So they're blanketed. We pretty much blanket once we get under 50...so 49 and below. 40-49degrees we'll do 100g fill lightweight. 30-39 we do midweight 200g, and 29 below we do our heavyweights at 300g fill. I think as a whole, us Southerners react way more severely to cold lol It's the end of the world for us! haha But pretty much you barely see horses around my area not in blankets. We make sure ours are never too hot. If we ever catch them sweating under them we adjust our plan. If it too warm for a blanket when we feed then they go without them. Its better for them to be cold a couple hours than to be hot, in my opinion. Plus in our little barn we can close the door and it stays SO warm with their body heat + hay in the loft. But yep...its always an internal struggle. It kills me to think of them being cold :(

  6. Hey beautiful horse and lady! Absorbine hooflex dressing came in the mail today! It smells so good I almost want to put it on myself! Stanley and I thank you!

    Warm wishes to you, Laz!

  7. I know...I HATE the blanketing merry go round. It's especially hard for boarders, I think. I had my kids blanketed maybe 3 or 4 days intermittently since October, but now it looks like they are on for good after yesterday! Miles is especially prone to the shivers, and Chamie girl is just old, and used to being stalled most of the day. Bonus is they stay super clean. Drawbacks are I am constantly worried about rubs on their manes and shoulders (no matter how well they seem to fit). And on those occasional 50 degree days we get, I worry they are too warm. Ah well, only....3 more months of this? lol.

  8. You know where I am with this...no blankets, but don't think I don't worry about it...all the time! I don't even own blankets so there isn't much good in worrying. I truly believe that they will grow the coat they need. It worked out last year perfectly for Pie and Sovereign. I am not sure about Foggy this year so I worry. Our trip will end in January and I am praying for moderate temps until then. At least I can stick him in the barn if I think he is cold. That is what I did last year with him because he didn't have time to grow a coat (had been blanketed where he was before January).

    It is a struggle to think like a horse and not like us. I wrestle with horse ownership because I worry so much.

  9. @Alana-PLEASEEEE start blogging about your Paddock paradise set up! Obsessed over it and it's my dream set up! I know many readers here feel the SAME way :)

    Yes, the blanket dance is so tricky..I lay awake so often questioning my sans blanket moves.
    Jules-I know you don't blanket which helps ease my worry BUT then I question if you are as cold as in Michigan?
    It comes down to the individual...I have to make sure I don't see him shiver and that is hard being I'm there every other day. What if I miss a shivering day?! sigh....

    @Sarah-yes agreed for you. I know Miles drops lbs quick and Chamie girl is older, so I would too.

    To those that pointed out the getting the leg wrapped, etc.....thanks, that wasn't on my worry chart but is now, lol!!!!

    And agreed-I tend to think horses know best by choosing to go in or not...but there are days I wonder if any brain cells ARE working...lol

    @Ashley-LOL that everyone is blanketed down there in the heat! It IS a cultural thing, you would cry at our temps here! OH, but also you brought up a great point, I DO NOT clip Laz and if I did for training reasons, YES, he would be blanketed now for sure. Since our riding has slowed up a bit to allow for his hoof to grow/harden, he's a mega fur ball.

    @Liz-HOORAH! Enjoy :)

  10. Lance is stabled in a heated barn, naked. The barn's heat isn't turned on until it stays below freezing out to maintain the average inside temp of 50-65*. 35-40* is typically when i start to blanket. currently, my horse is the only one without a sheet on (or 2!) for T/O and that's fine, he's not cold. Looking at the weather it looks like the week after next is when Lance will begin wearing his sheet. He'll have his sheet on until is stays a bit below freezing (~25*) during the day at which time he will have his 200g medium weight on. when it's in the single digits or teens with snow/wind he will wear his 400g high neck blanket. When not fully body clipped, like this year thanks to timed stall lights, he pretty much only uses his medium weight.:) It only took 11 years for me to figure out and be comfortable with a good schedule for him and once he shows his age it'll have to be changed!

    found this chart at smartpak. it's very similar to what i follow and is a good starting point.

    Approximate Temperature Guide
    45° F – Not clipped: no blanket; Clipped: light weight blanket
    35° F – Not clipped: light weight blanket; Clipped: medium weight blanket
    25° F – Not clipped: medium weight blanket; Clipped: heavy weight blanket
    15° F – Not clipped: heavy weight blanket + hood; Clipped: heavy weight blanket, liner + hood
    Below 10°F, Heavy weight blanket, liner + hood for all; add polar fleece for clipped

    IMHO, you also must account for coat length. a horse with a long coat even though it's flattened under a blanket will be warmer then a short haired horse. hair is still insulation even if it can't puff up to do it's job

  11. lol! I have thought about a blog, but I am honestly an incredibly boring person, there is no way that anyone would actually read what I wrote!!
    @East Bound-I have seen that chart too, and I agree very much with that last statement. One thing to consider almost more than actual temp is humidity. For instance, while NC doesn't (temp wise) get too cold, my family from Colorado was miserable when they came in the winter (and family from Florida was miserable in the summer)
    @Kristin, I would just take each day as it is. If the temp is very low, and humidity is very high, then it may be a blanket day, but other days the temp could be even lower, but the humidity stays nice and low-naked Laz!!

  12. Alana - I would LOVE to hear about your paddock paradise!

  13. I totally understand the blanketing dilemma! I'm probably a good 20 degrees warmer than where you are but it still gets pretty darn cold here. That being said, Prince is inside overnight and would be inside during any freezing rain or anything like that. I was actually debating about not blanketing him this year (I have always in the past because of riding him and not wanting him to grow a super thick coat) and then he got sick and was so shivery plus he lost all that weight. So now I'm afraid we are committed to it. Oh well, with having to worry about getting his weight back up it will make me feel better not worrying if he's cold too.

  14. Blankets are a PAIN! I think there are a LOT of factors involved on deciding when to blanket and how much: your horse's weight, how much hair he has, does he have shelter, does he have constant access to hay, is it raining/sleeting/windy? If he's on the thin side, even if he's fuzzy, I tend to blanket earlier rather than later. They can drop pounds SO fast when they are keeping themselves warm! Conversely if you've got a chubby one, the early days of cold are a good time to let them use some of that stored fat up, haha! I've also noticed that my boys eat less hay when I blanket than when I don't. If it's raining, windy, or clear out, I'm more likely to blanket at higher temps than if it's calm, overcast, and snowing (clouds act as an insulating blanket and actually keep it warmer than when it's clear).

    It's ALWAYS a dance, no matter how careful you are or how closely you watch your horse and the weather!!! Good luck!

  15. I'm not blanketing Scarface this year. I only blanketed him when he was going in to a warm barn at night, which meant he would be too hot at night with a fuzzy coat. Since he is outside all the time (except period trips to the indoor arena), he gets to be naked. Now hopefully he's smart enough to go into the shelter when it's windy (unlike staying in the blazing sun in summer and getting sunburnt, even though there is shade aplenty).

    Good luck with the coconut oil!

  16. Rofl, there's a woman at my barn who put a sheet on her horse a few weeks ago because the night-time low was going to be, like, 58! :-D
    And *I* get the "Are you from another planet?" look when I say things like, "Horses fluff their hair up to keep warm and putting a thin sheet on sometimes makes them colder," or, "Horses' hair grows according to how much light there is" (the same woman had just said she blankets so they won't grow hair).
    The coconut oil thing sounds interesting, so why not give it a shot? Like Alana said, if you mix some TTO in, it would prob be even better--and maybe some oregano oil, grapefruit seed oil, calendula, etc.? Salem has his own Hoof Brew, and Laz can have his own recipe, too! ;-)

  17. AGH! I hate the blanket dilemma!!! I so worry myself to death. Stuff like this just makes me that much more glad I don't like kids and don't want any because I couldn't imagine worrying anymore than I do about Klein.
    Klein does well in the cold. Her first two years of life were spent in Canada!! But still, her clip is growing out right now and while it's pretty fuzzy it hasn't caught up so I've been in a constant battle of do I or don't I. A storm came in and it will be here until tomorrow. Our low tonight is 14 so she definitely has her blanket on. But by Wednesday it'll be back in the 50's.

    Frizzle, I don't know how true that light statement always is. When I lived in Hawaii the days definitely get shorter there in the winter and I only saw two horses there EVER get winter coats.

  18. Alana I would love to read about your pasture paradise too!!

    I didn't know all of that about coconut! I'll have to do some research on all of that (how it works etc.). Very interesting.

    I rarely ever blanket. When Chrome was a weanling I blanketed him only when it was raining because he would shiver. With Laz being an OTTB and how difficult they can be to put weight back on once they lose it I can understand your worry over the blanketing dilemma. I don't really have an helpful advice though . . . sorry!