As a journalist, one of my Facebook pet peeves are the numerous viral false posts that are shared on my news feed. I can’t help but head right over to snopes.com to verify the information. But this week I was the one who was helping spread a false study on horse blanketing.
Titled “CSU Blanketing Study” it backed all my own completely unscientific beliefs about blanketing horses, or more accurately, why you shouldn’t blanket horses. It reads “Horses have the ability to loft and lower their coats to 17 different levels, so it’s like exchanging 17 different thermal weights of blankets off and on them all day and night, depending on what they need,” and, “Only three things make the ‘self-blanketing’ process not work: blanketing, clipping and wind. Not even snow or rain stops their own thermostats from doing the job.” Yes! I knew it! And finally a study was showing it was more than a horseman’s hunch!
The only problem was, there never was such a study at Colorado State University. The fake claims seem to start making the Internet rounds every fall, but the university says it has never done such a study.
So what is the prevailing beliefs on blanketing horses? It seems to depend who you ask and on your individual circumstances. Older, weak or ill horses; horses that are clipped; very extreme weather or lack of shelter; a move from a warmer climate to a cooler climate; and of course if the horse is shivering are all reasons that blanketing is recommended.