No rug = good weight maintainer?

pottamus

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18 November 2005
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What real effect do people think that keeping a horse out in winter with no rug on (unless wet & windy) has on a good doers weight.
Normally I have rugged my welshie by now even though he is un-clipped, but this year I am trying to keep him without a rug on those dry days and only put a rain sheet on him if it is due to be wet combined with the cold and/or wind.
The reason for this being that he is a good doer, is a nice weight now that I want to maintain as he had laminitis in 2009.
Because he has been on the same paddock all year it is now down to nothing and he is looking hungry so I am starting to strip graze very gradually, monitor his weight and am hoping that the lack of a rug will help counteract any possible extra calories from his foodin order to keep his weight stable...or am I being unrealistic?!
He is in at night on year old soaked hay and ridden 3 x per week in winter...cant do any more as I have no facilities other than roads!
All thoughts and comments welcome!
 

Lotty

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21 July 2005
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I'm doing exactly the same as you:) My girl had laminitis in March, she was clipped last week and is only in a 4oz rug. I try to ride 6days a week, she's out muzzled for 5 hours then brought in for a small feed and weighed soaked hay.
 

Supertrooper

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I lost a horse (cob) in 2008 with lamintis, partly I'm convinced to the fact that I over rugged her through the winters, she always came out of the winter looking far too well and this combined with lack of exercise and over feeding triggered the attack. I will never forgive myself for my stupidity (I thought at the time I was being kind to her).

Roll on two years and I now share a shire x cob, we have owned him six weeks now and in that time he has lost weight. The farrier who also shod him in his last home is delighted with how he looks as he said he was borderline laminitic. We have done this with a combination of watching his grazing, exercise and no rugs unless it's going to be continuous rain or wind and rain together in which case he's had a rain sheet on.

I think no rugging works by making them use their feed to keep warm rather than storing it as fat. Also it triggers the metabolic system to work correctly?

He does get hay now as grazing very sparse now and a token feed of happy hoof or fast fibre plus he has a salt lick xx
 

MochaDun

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18 September 2009
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I would like to think it worked but last year I only used a lightweight (no fill) turnout on my very good do-er throughout and he had a bib & belly clip. He didn't shift much weight and was on poor grazing but the main problem was they were given very little turnout on poor weather days (which was a lot of days...)and we only are allowed haylage at the yard so those 2 things conspired against me I think. When I think how cold it was in January though (-12 one night!) as well! I think mine is hardwired to lay down as much fat as he can and cling onto it throughout the winter. I am hanging on this year to not put on a turnout rug until I have to on bad days but he's already making riding impossible at the end of the day as coming in caked in wet mud some days (a tactic on his behalf I'm sure). The first year I had him I did no rugs through the winter, neither turnout or stable though not clipped and it made no difference then either - it's official...he's a mammoth.
 

Boysy

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22 October 2006
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Yes no rugs does work as a weight reducer/maintainer however i don't that myself exactly. By choice I clip mine out and then rug accordingly but don't over-rug. The max weight rugs mine wear are 200g full necks, most of the time they are in 170g underugs with rainsheets. They are natives and fed accordingly i.e. sparsely as they would be in their native habitat over the winter. They come out in spring very slim and brimming with health ready for the onslaught of the spring grass............... i never see them cold wet and/or shivering and they live out 24/7, and yes i have gone up in the middle of the night in a snowstorm to find them happily snoozing in -10 warm as toast.....
 

Pearlsasinger

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20 February 2009
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I lost a horse (cob) in 2008 with lamintis, partly I'm convinced to the fact that I over rugged her through the winters, she always came out of the winter looking far too well and this combined with lack of exercise and over feeding triggered the attack. I will never forgive myself for my stupidity (I thought at the time I was being kind to her).
Please don't feel too bad - you did what you thought was best. I think that so long as we learn from our mistakes, no-one (including ourselves) should blame us for well-intentioned errors. Most of us are lucky and get away with it but every horse-owner in the world makes mistakes, even those of us who have kept horses for years and years.

OP, I'm sure that a genuine good-doer can cope with most things that our weather can throw at them. If they've got a good thick coat then they really don't need rugs, xcept in the very worst of wet, windy weather. If I were you I'd monitor carefully and only if the horse starts shivering would I rug. I know this sounds harsh but it really is for the best. I think many horse-owners forget that horses were designed to live out. IMO it is better to give more forage and use fewer rugs. The very act of digesting forage helps to keep the horse warm. Please be wary of lightweight rugs - they can sometimes make the horse feel colder as they stop the hair fluffing up to keep the horse warm naturally.
If you find your horse with a layer of ice on its back, the horse is not cold, it is well-insulated and that insulation is stopping the ice/snow melting.
 

noblesteed

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Yes cutting back on rugs really helped my good doer last winter. We clipped him in November and even with minimum rugs his clip lasted all winter, despite the freezing temperatures. If he had been cold it would have grown back a LOT quicker. I think WE think they are a lot colder than they are!
 

xRobyn

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7 April 2010
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May have been the change in field but for years my cob was unrugged and unfed through winter. He still came out of winter too fat (and subsequently got suspected laminitis in April 2008).

So got weight off of him through summer, managed to shift about 80-100kg before we got to Jan 2009. He came out of winter very slender!

This year he was clipped, fed, hayed (in snow) and rugged (200g at the most) (was in work) and got down to a nice weight and looked very well imo.

If he has a loaner this year then the above will be repeated, if not then he will be left unrugged, unfed etc. Fingers crossed it works :p
 
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