Do you know how horses stay warm? They shiver. Shivering burns calories. Calories come from food, particularly hay. This is why horses are called “hay burners,” making horses very energy inefficient. The colder is gets, the more the horse has to shiver to stay warm, and the more hay he has to eat to continue shivering. For the horse owner, this is an expensive process. To keep my horses from burning as many calories, I blanket them to cut back on how much I’ll have to feed them.
A farrier once joked that I blanket every animal on my property, to which I replied that I do not, in fact, put blankets on the chickens. He just laughed it off as the reason for that is because no turnout blanket manufacturer sells a chicken turnout rug.
Brinn can’t bear for my horses to have anything unless his donkey can have it as well. This is the reason why our miniature donkey eats Strategy, MSM, and coat supplements. He also gets his own turnout blanket.
When we first bought Dominick, he suffered from poor nutrition, leaving him with a dull, dry coat. A sleek shiny coat offers more than cosmetic benefits –shiny hair is oily hair, and repels water. During a day of freezing rains, Dominick’s hair didn’t shed any water, and instead he saturated. After soaking through, the water then froze. He was the saddest, most pitiful donkey you’ve ever met. This was simply unsatisfactory on the Kiser homestead, so we had to thaw and dry out Dominick. Since my barn’s not finished yet, we didn’t have any choices exept bringing him in the house, so we pulled him into the basement and proceeded to blow dry him. We expected this to end disastrously, but surprisingly Dominick absolutely loved his salon treatment.
Not only does the herd have blankets on during the snow showers this weekend, but they all have on double layers. Bear, Reggie, Ghosty, and Dominick each have on two blankets right now. I’m sure they’re all feeling a bit like the Michelin Man, but I’m reassured when I reach a hand under their rugs and feel warm horse. It gives me peace of mind so that I can reenter my warm, heated home with no guilt for the welfare of my animals.
While Ian and I recovering from our colds, we’ve spent most of the cold weather staying warm inside. Ian’s starting to feel better, so now he’s trying to make up for the time he lost to this cold.
He’s played hard all weekend. In 10 minutes, he can completely undo what took me 45 minutes to straighten up. But I hear him waking up now, so my blogging time is cut short as my little monster is ready to come out and play some more. We only have 2 and a half hours left to get ready for the superbowl, so Ian and I must get started on our wings.