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The long winter hair coat serves as insulation by reducing the loss of body heat and provides the first line of defense against the cold. Its insulating value is lost when the horse becomes wet and/or is covered with mud. So provide a dry sheltered area in cold wet weather. How do you know if you should blanket your horse?
It is important that the blanket fit the horse make sure you have the correct size to fit the horse.
The equine hair coat acts as insulation by trapping air, however, if the hair is wet or full of mud, air is excluded, reducing its insulating value and increasing heat loss. As little as 0.1 inch of rain can cause cold stress by making the hair and reducing its insulating value. It is important to keep the horse dry and sheltered from rain. Woolly horses with a thicker hair coat can retain more heat so sometimes it is better not to blanket.
Reference: Marcia Hathaway, October 2012, Univ. of Minn. Horse Newsletter, Volume 8, Issue 10, p. 1.
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