By Martha Josey and #TeamDiO Leader Alissa Burson-Kelly
Fall is rolling in and the temperatures will soon startdropping. This is when the joys of blanketing begin.Throughout my rodeo career, taking blankets on andoff was a regular occurrence. Sometimes whiletraveling to a rodeo, we would jump up into Canadaand experience winter like temperatures which was alittle shocking for this Texas cowgirl when it was stillwarm down in the US! I always travel with blankets nomatter what time of year it is. There are severalreasons to blanket my horse besides keeping a prettycoat year round.
"Cooling a horse out properly and getting their coat dry is very important."
In the winter you have a lot of indoor rodeos, so youmay have to go straight from a run inside out to coldertemperatures outside. If your horse has a thick wintercoat that is wet, this can be hard on them. Cooling ahorse out properly and getting their coat dry is veryimportant. When traveling, I always keep a coolerblanket on hand. A cooler blanket wicks the moistureaway from your horse to allow him to cool down anddry off which typically takes about 30 minutes. Youcannot control the temperatures while traveling acrossthe country but you can blanket your horseaccordingly.
*One of our favorites is the StormShield from sstack.com
A lot of people are not aware of what the temperature is inside their horse trailer. I always traveled with a thermometer in my trailer which was visible to me from the outside. This way I could know the exact temperature and whether I should be dropping the windows or closing them and putting on my horse’s blanket . You never want to over blanket in the trailer because making your horse to hot will cause him to sweat and he will be very uncomfortable. I would rather my horse be a little too cool that too hot.
The size of a blanket is a very important detail thatsometimes we forget. A blanket too small can cause rubor restrict a horse’s shoulders which then become soreand they can possibly lose hair from the rubbing. Ifyour blanket is too big, you run the risk of it twisting,the straps hang incorrectly even causing you to run therisk of the horse getting caught up and injured.
"You never want to over blanket in the trailer"
Blanket thickness is always very important becauseyou never want to over blanket your horse. Be sure tohave a sheet, a medium fill blanket and a heavywaterproof one. If you intend on blanketing your horsefor the winter, be prepared to make sure you haveseveral to choose from based on the temperatures.
"The size of a blanket is a very important detail that sometimes we forget."
During the time your horse is blanketed be sure tomonitor how the temperature will fluctuate during theday so you get the right one on the horse or can changeit out at the correct time. If you work a full time jobyou may need to consider not blanketing becauseleaving blankets on when temperatures rise can be verydetrimental to a horse’s health.
I have been very excited that I am able to use DiO on my horses under their blankets. While you haveto be very careful with anything you apply underblankets or wraps because most liniments can burn orirritate, DiO will not blister orirritate. Remember that choosing to blanket, meansway more than just strapping it on. You have to bewilling to be vigilant and consistent so that you can useblankets safely and productively for your horse.