Even though the temperature is still around 18 degrees Celsius; autumn is here. It is getting dark earlier every day and our horses have started building their winter coats. They all create different ones. One might not be that different from their summer version, while the other looks like a teddy bear. Could be genetics or some are just better at regulating their body temperature, I haven’t found the study yet. What I do know is that each horse is different and that we need to look at what they need. There is no one correct path. Most of us train our horses often if not daily, which means a work out and often a work out results in sweating. Luckily, our horses sweat easily and loose most of their excess heath this way.
My mare has never created a real winter coat. When I was still training her, I would put on a thin blanket (0grams) when the days started to become shorter and she would keep her light coat. When it would freeze, I would put on the 100 grams, but more was rarely needed. Even when she was housed in the free-range stable where lighting till 10pm has less of an impact, she would keep her easy to maintain coat. Perfect. Secretly hoping that her son and daughter will have the same genetics, if it is genetically passed on. Last year was the first year, in all those years she is mine, that she stayed outside 24/7 without a blanket. Even then she did not create a teddy bear coat. Apparently she is hot blooded or just good in regulating her body temperature.
Clipping is not on my favourite to do list. Mainly because it is a lot of hassle and you have to maintain it the entire winter. But then I got my sweet gelding. He also resides in the free-range stable, but then the male one. Donned a blanket in time last year, but he creates one of the fluffiest coats I have seen. We train a lot, do a lot of competitions. Both dressage and jumping. When do we train? Mainly in the evening since work is kind of necessary to provide our horses the best possible life. It means you are on a clock. He would be soaking wet after our training sessions, and that meant walking for about an hour before he would have been able to get rid of all that excess heath. Just put a fleece on you would probably say, but that works best for that tiny bit of sweat that is left after tacking of. Cause if you put one on directly after training your horse would still not be able to get rid of the excess heath. The fleece would absorb a little, but the rest would be contained in the air pocket between the coat and fleece. That steam needs to go somewhere. Best option is the cooler air. The whole point of sweating is to cool down the body and get rid of that excess heath. Naturally I am talking about horses who are fit and healthy.
So tried this for a few months, but it was undoable for the horse as well as for me. I would need to put him back while he was still too sweaty. It wasn’t working. So, I decided to clip him. Best decision ever. I noticed he felt more comfortable, he didn’t get overheated every training, and I was happy because he was happy (yes, also because we didn’t have to walk for an hour or more after our training which he would be fed up with after about 20/30 minutes). So clipped him again this year, expect we have to do that 2 more times this season, but looking at the intensity of our training sessions and the drive he has, this is by far the best option for him.
The mare and foals? They can create their own personal winter coat. Teddy or not, whatever works for them.
Want to keep track of all your training sessions? Take a look at the training set. It is on sale during the per-order period till end of November. Tip from me, if you want to add pictures of your horse(s) or of your favourite lesson horse, order the Photo Module as well.
P.s. Great to give as a present during the holidays. I will make sure it is delivered before 5 December.