Tuesday, February 6, 2018

punxsutawney phil predicts: more winter shopping!

That's what the off season is all about anyway, right? Buying stuff to make us feel better about the cold and/or to get us pumped up and excited about the future!! Or something like that!!! No February spending freeze happenin here lol....

modeling a cozy 100g liner by Horseware of Ireland
I wrote last week about how fluctuating temperatures (and precipitation) have been complicating the blanketing game with Charlie. Basically, the long and short of it is that, to date, Charlie has owned a sheet and a medium that can be layered together to make a heavier weight blanket if needed. He also has a Back on Track mesh sheet that I often use interchangeably with the regular sheet as a liner.

he's wearing an 81. i freaked out at first bc his butt hangs out a little bit, but i think that's by design so it doesn't get wet from peeking out underneath a top layer
This has worked well for our region and typical climate, for the most part. Except when we're dealing with frequent rain and one of the layers isn't drying out quickly enough. So after a little brainstorming, I picked up two new layers:

- Horseware of Ireland 100g blanket liner
- Mio turnout sheet

velcro closure at the chest, and extra velcro tabs on top of the shoulders should you be inclined. no belly straps.
My thought process being: Even when it's been extremely cold here, Charlie's done fine with layers as opposed to a single heavy weight blanket. And the layers give me more options with varying temperatures in wet and dry conditions. So buying more interchangeable layers seemed like a my best bet for always having something(s) on hand no matter the weather.

new cheapie 600D Mio lightweight rain sheet layered on top
The liner seemed like a good choice bc it's in some ways lower maintenance. For instance, it can be laundered in a normal machine with normal detergent bc it's not waterproofed or sealed. It works with all of my current blankets by clipping onto the surcingle straps, and works great with Charlie's anti-rub shoulder bib.

So I can layer it under the medium instead of my sheet, or use all three together for extra bundling. Or it can layer with just a sheet alone if the medium is wet, for instance.

the Mio just has an adjustable tail strap, no rear surcingles. that's fine. the Horseware liner has clips to attach and prevent slipping.
The reasoning behind getting a second sheet is just to have an alternate for instances when our normal sheet (the Smartpak Ultimate turnout blanket, with the 10 year guarantee) is wet.

Plus this new sheet is actually quite a bit lighter in weight than the Smartpak (it's only 600D and not lined, compared to the 1000D nylon-lined Smartpak) so it may end up getting more use in warm spring or summer rain showers. Assuming it doesn't get shredded by any of Charlie's pasture buddies haha.

if i had composed this picture a little better with the color block line in charlie's sheet level with the horizon, it would have turned into camouflage lol
And as far as I'm concerned, it's reassuring to have additional options in various weight configurations during all this spastic weather.

snowy mane!!!!
So that when I decide to squeeze in an early morning trail ride to beat a pending snowstorm, I don't need to worry about whatever layers I put on the horse afterward knowing he'll wear them for 36+ hours straight.

and see, charlie does prick his ears on the trail! just... not when he's mindlessly following another horse i guess
And speaking of that trail ride.... It was short and sweet, and just me and Chuck. No better way to pass a strange Sunday morning, as far as I'm concerned.

cute ears too <3
And it makes me so happy that Charlie is as willing to strike off on his own solo trail adventures as he is to go with a buddy or two. He's also basically got the paths memorized by now so I mostly just sit there with my legs off, reins on the buckle, and either chat with him or enjoy the ride in silence. It's peaceful.

and a surprising coverage of snow speckles even just from our short jaunt
Our only little bobble was crossing the deeper stream - it was iced over pretty thickly, such that the ice didn't immediately give way under Charlie's weight. So he took a stutter step on the ice before it broke and he crashed down through. Which.... naturally upset him a little bit and he thought maybe we ought to turn around and go home right that instant.

A few pets and words of encouragement tho, and some sniffing of the water's edge, and he was willing to give it another try. Good boy. He was a little snorty after that, and had to trot and canter through all the rest of the little tiny stream-like depressions in the trail... But that's ok haha.

it all got rained away shortly thereafter tho.... ick
We kept it pretty short tho all the same - cutting back to the barn through the summer pastures that are all lying fallow over winter. Considering the snow was getting heavier and I knew freezing rain would follow shortly after, I wanted to get home before the worst of it.

were it not for the sleety snow i could have gotten better pictures. sorry!
It was good tho. Even tho it had taken a little convincing to get out of bed that morning to make it out for an early ride, I definitely felt better for it through the rest of the day. No regrets there!

but i finally replaced my DIY hackamore noseband with something a little sturdier....
And we also got to try out a new hackamore noseband while we were at it! The DIY version I made for Isabel has held up remarkably well.... But the closure I used on it just isn't strong enough. It's a simple hinge-constructed suspender clasp.

It was strong enough to hold everything together on Isabel, who was extremely respectful of the curb chain (so much so that I always kept it covered with sheepskin). But.... Charlie's a little more dull in that department. Plus about 400lbs heavier so.... yea.

the DIY version held up admirably over the years, but that suspender clasp was just no match for freight train Charlie...
The suspender clasp was allowing the strap to slip through during a ride. And I just *knew* we'd eventually end up with the whole thing falling off Charlie's face at what would surely be a very inopportune moment. Thanks, but no thanks.

So back to a more traditional, commercial noseband we go. Luckily Brita had a friend who had a spare, so I didn't have to buy a whole new set of cheek pieces and chain and everything, I could just change out the noseband. 

charlie's all snugged up in his new liner. bc ugh, this precipitation is never ending....
And who knows, maybe I'll fuss around with trying to put a proper buckle on my DIY version so that it might hold up better for Charlie. We'll see.

Maybe if this cold rainy weather continues I'll have nothing better to do with my time than dream up unnecessarily fussy / complicated DIY project haha. Maybe.

At least in the meantime Charlie will hopefully be all snugged up in his new layers! Does your horse often wear layers? Or do you have a specific blanket for every occasion? Or no blankets at all?

54 comments:

  1. Ours rarely get blanketed. Mostly because the weather is so difficult down here with freezing temps overnight and 60 mid day but then dropping back into the thirties once the sun goes down. Working full time and having them at home means I can’t change blankets during the day so they are either too cold or too hot for part of the day. My solution? Unless it is heavily raining they go naked, lots of hay to keep the internal fire burning and shelter from the wind.

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    1. Yea that certainly works for a lot of horses!! We've got about an even split at my barn for horses who go naked and horses who wear clothes. And they all seem pretty much fine! Go figure, horses are so adaptable haha. Tho so much of what I choose for Charlie revolves around my own convenience, like clipping him, which then requires more oversight...

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  2. Omg. Sunday's weather was THE WORST. Bast was covered in wet frozen sand mud when I finally got there, and Lyra looks super clean today as she spent the whole day as soaked as me. Bleh. Looks like you guys started with more snow than us! It was freezing rain from the first. Ugh. (Can you tell I hated it? Lol)

    I adore layers for blankets. This was partially because I'm cheap and Pig required me to buy expensive blankets, and partially because I think it actually keeps them warmer. Honestly I've never owned a heavy weight blanket. When it gets really cold, mine end up wearing everything they own like sad horsey hobo children. Haha

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    1. Yea the layers have worked really well for Charlie too. At Isabel's barn they were great about switching out blankets but only allowed two weights per horse, so I kinda got used to making do with that, and all the horses were fine.

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  3. I have that Mio sheet in black/teal (shocking, I know), I really like it! Over the years I've accumulated a shocking amount of blankets, haha. Back when I had 8 horses, everybody had at least a heavy, if nothing else. I'm gradually wearing those out and not replacing them, and I've accumulated enough sheets and layers for now that keeping 4 in the right "clothes" is fairly easy! Just gotta keep up with rewaterproofing when necessary, because I kick mine out in all sorts of inclement weather.

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    1. The water proofing is so hard, the local blanket repair service won't even call her silicone treatments "water proofing" bc it really doesn't work that well. But yea out horses go out in all weather too so I'm happy to have the extra sheet even as just a top layer to help keep them dry!

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  4. Any horse game for solo adventures is the best horse <3

    For the first time in 7 years, we're finally having a standard winter for our area. None of my horses are clipped and each has a medium weight blanket. Stan's on his second after Houdining out of his on the second day of cold weather and shredding the batting at the same time. He got through the 3 weeks of sub-zero temperatures without a blanket like a fucking boss though, so his dumb human is listening to his request to NOT be blanketed and his new blanket is in it's shipping box in the tack room lol. Grif is my wuss and is in his blanket all the time. Q is in hers for longer stretches of cold only. I'd leave them to their natural devices if they had shelter, but since we don't have any shelter, blankets it is!

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    1. I love that Charlie is so good on the trails by himself! I personally enjoy company too but sometimes we just want to sneak away!

      And somehow that doesn't really surprise me about each of your horse's individual preferences about blanketing lol. Charlie would be more like Grif (tho I do clip Charlie bc he neck sweats like nobody's business even in very light work), and Isabel was very similar to Q it sounds.

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  5. Remus has a kind of heavy weight weather beeta that was cleaned last year and stored in a bag and we still haven't used it. This flip flopping weather means layers, layers and more layers. It is just not good enough to put a heavy ass blanket on Remus and hope for the best. He gets cold if he gets wet but otherwise pretty hardy. We have that liner, and two or three sheets (I Love the Mio sheets have 2 but they are both in my garage to go to get cleaned and repaired). Right now our go to move is the liner, a horseware 100 gram sheet, a horseware sheet and an old schneider 100 gram. These get put on him as needed and removed. It works he is never shivery even when it is cold because Shawn adds or removes as needed. HORSES...ugh. SPEAKING of which I want to buy another sheet. Remus (Well STERLING i am sure) has ripped his tail flap on his horseware 100 gram and it will need repairing. Sigh. I wonder if i should just sell the 'heavy' weather beeta. It is in perfect condition and just stored in its zip bag. I swear my horse has more coats than I do!! Stay warm!! SPRING IS COMING I can feel it!! (Glad you got a new hackamore rig for Sir Charles too!)

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    1. Spring is definitely coming! And yea I hear ya on having the heavy weight just sitting there. My medium is a weatherbeeta and I really like it (even tho it's too big on Charlie lol) so I can understand not wanting to part with it. But based on my recent perusal of eBay, ppl are definitely buying used blankets right now! And that's good to hear you've had such success with the liners too. I've never used one before but am surprised by how much I like it!

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    2. Sarah liked it too as a keep human warm blanket while watching idiot buckskin and his rider :) HA HA HA I should have gotten a pic of her wrapped up in it.

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    3. Lol that's excellent! I like using my BoT for that exact same reason lol

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    4. I loved the 100g!! Excellent human blanket! What size is your heavy weight? In case you end up selling...

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    5. lol my favorite thing is seeing folks huddled along the rail during chilly horse shows wrapped up in the Back on Track sheets and sitting on ogilvy half pads lol. we might as well get to enjoy some of the luxurious pampering we dole out to our horses, right????

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  6. I have the mio - we're on our second one because Penn's old friends didn't tolerate him at all. It's a great sheet for spring days. I have all the ultimate turnout layers, but the light isn't actually very light, so this is a great layer for keeping him clean on warmer days when he's still going to need a blanket at night (I hate putting a blanket on a mud covered horse).

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    1. Yea I actually really like how light it is, tho it does make me concerned about its durability. I'm looking forward to having it on hand for those days where it's a liiitttle bit trickier to decide what to put on the horse lol

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  7. Connor's had a complete set of those Horseware liners for years now. I layer them with the SmartPak Ultimate sheet and blankets and have never had any issues with them slipping even though they're not technically compatible. I love how flexible it is, and the barn staff weirdly prefers the liners to actual blankets. He actually spent an entire winter with just the SP Ultimate Sheet and the liners and everything turned out great (and I saved a lot of $$$ on blankets!)

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    1. yea they seem to be pretty universally compatible, rather than designed to suit just one specific type of blanket. it's very convenient! esp the fact that they're a lot cheaper than buying multiple blankets!

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  8. Blanket liners are a great way to go. I have so many blankets of various weights that it's ridiculous.

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    1. ha yea i was very reluctant to buy many more weights of blankets bc i didn't really want to end up paralyzed by too many options, or confusing the people who have been willing to help me out lol

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  9. I now buy Rambo 100 gram turnout blankets then a range of liners so I can just switch them out all winter. Plus I have the Rambo sheet to work with the liners as well for Maestro (the chestnuts sheets predate the option). The chestnuts have 100g, 200g, and 300g liners while Maestro just has 100g and 200g. This year I added neck rugs for everyone this year and like those a lot. So much versatility!

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    1. that definitely makes a lot of sense from a systems perspective to me. using my sheets and medium as "shells," so to speak, with the interchangeable liners. i've considered adding a neck rug too but just haven't really felt the need yet. maybe that would be the next purchase tho?

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    2. I love neck covers! My horses think they're itchy but they really seem to keep them warmer, and my girls always seem less stiff through their necks than they would without them. I don't love the ones that come on elastic surcingles, though... velcro is the way to go! A friend's horse got an elastic attachment neck cover pulled over his head and ended up down, unable to get up and was half buried in snow when he was found that way - eeeeek!

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    3. i've definitely heard that a neck cover can help keep the horse warmer in a lighter weight blanket - plus i like the idea of helping him stay more dry in a lot of rain. good to know about the velcro tho, that's scary about the horse that got tangled up!

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    4. I originally bought them for the chestnut boys thinking about them being outside longer (4 hours/day vs 12+ hours/day) and needing more warmth. I just did the no fill version. While P seems fairly ambivalent (as he usually is, lol) Stampede is much happier in the cold with it on. If it is windy and he doesn't have his neck rug he hangs out in the barn more. He is also the crabbiest of creatures when he's cold. No I don't randomly check my barn cam throughout the day...

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    5. yea that makes a lot of sense. charlie gets crabby when he's not very comfortable too haha so i totally get it!

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  10. i have so many blankets this year. its really out of control. I like the idea of the liners but indy makes a habit of getting naked and/or destroying everything so I feel like if it doesn't have protective nylon on it it's just going to get destroyed.

    i got a 100g 'lite' turnout this year and oh my god, 100g is everything I've ever needed in my life. it's the best blanket weight ever. indy runs so hot I only used his heavy weight long enough for him to totally destroy it.

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    1. ugh Indy, stop destroying things!! luckily charlie is pretty gentle on his clothing, tho he's got some raucous pasture mates lol.... but yea the liners have been super convenient. and 100g is definitely my go-to weight right now. so easy to combine with other things or leave on its own, vs a 300g or something like that that can only really do one job.

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  11. Gina and Candy have medium weight blankets, but poor, long-suffering Moe gets to wear the stable blanket + turnout sheet combo when it's really cold. The stable blanket slips something awful, so I end up adjusting twice a day. Moe gets to wear it because he's the most tolerant of all the tugging and pulling lol

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    1. aw haha, Moe <3. so far i haven't had an issues with slipping blankets but that would definitely drive me crazy. these liners might work well in exactly that type of situation too if you ever get tired of all the adjusting!

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  12. I’m with you and mainly use a sheet and medium and will layer those if I need to. I did buy a cheaper heavyweight blanket a couple years ago and it barely gets used lol. I like the layers bc it makes it easier to pull the heavy blanket off and leave them in their sheet for the day and I only have to fuss with 1 blanket, but the worst days are when it’s cold enough for the medium during the day and they were layered st night so I have to take off both blankets and then add put the medium back on! That’s usually when I use the heavyweight blanket so the next morning I only have to take off 1 blanket and put 1 blanket back on. Basically it makes me obsessed with my weather apps so I can plan everything out to be the most efficient 😂

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    1. ugh yea.... i'm also one of those people that likes to be ruthlessly efficient and will drive myself crazy trying to optimize exactly which blankets and when depending on the next three days forecast.... except i'm coming to the sad conclusion that optimal efficiency just isn't really a thing with horses and blankets. sigh.

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    2. I probably should of proof read before I hit submit… I meant medium blanket as my top layer not heavy and ugg the next sentence is a train wreck but I think you get the idea :)

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    3. lol yea.... definitely know what you meant bc that's pretty much exactly how i've been doing things up til now too - and it works pretty well! the only reason that stopped being a 100% satisfying solution for me was when the sheet has gotten soaked a few times lately and i needed something else to serve as a layer.

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  13. I've hoarded up a pretty good amount of blankets. I bought a light, medium, heavy 3 years ago for my first horse. But none of those had neck covers, so I of course "had to" buy a new medium and heavy when Charmer strolled along and I hunter clipped him. Now I just keep buying sale blankets when they come along. We do a fair amount of layering (especially with BoT mesh sheet), but mostly single blankets because I have more than I care to count. One of them is the black/teal version of that Mio turnout, but I haven't used it yet because I'm 100% sure it will be shredded by one of his pasturemates and it's too pretty to die yet haha.

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    1. lol yea the Mio does seem a little bit delicate.... which is maybe why i shoved charlie out in it the very first day it came home just to either see it die immediately, or be pleasantly surprised. so far i'm still in the 'pleasantly surprised' stage!! and yea i totally get the convenience of having a specific blanket for each need.... i'm just frankly out of storage space. sigh.

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  14. Cheers to the liners! I really like the concept, but do resent the fabric - I've had one get ripped to pieces under a pristine turnout and it made me super crabby. The 100g weight is awesome, though - it's a really useful weight. I have been doing stable blankets instead of liners (because I can get them in a better denier for destruct-a-shoulders) and use elastic hood connectors to connect them to the top layer. I like to own a sheet, medium and heavy for each horse but still end up layering. I could probably get away with a couple of sheets and liners - if only they made sheets with neck covers! It's so interesting how everyone blankets, and I really enjoy talking about it like a nerd.

    Also I wish my horses trail rode on the buckle! #jealous

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    1. lol yea i've honestly never thought too deeply about the ins and outs of blanketing. isabel was a pretty hardy beast anyway, plus her blankets were her owner's responsibility. since that barn (inc myself as staff) changed blankets twice daily, we were able to stay on top of issues with things not drying or the horses being too cold or warm. so it was never a big deal. with charlie tho, the whole game is changed bc he might legit end up untouched (like if i'm out of town) for multiple days in a row even in the midst of winter. so far tho it's not been as challenging as i anticipated, thankfully!

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  15. Jiminy has a pony sized Mio medium weight in the same color. I bought it on a whim because it was really cheap and while its a tiny bit long in front, it actually fits the chunky mini really well and perfectly over his other blanket. He can match Charlie!

    I'm really getting into liners. I don't have any of the horsewear ones but I bought a Scheniders 280gm liner for Subi that he's wearing now under his heavy weight (I probably should have pulled that off this morning... Oh well, he runs cold and thankfully won't get too warm and it just feels damp outside... But this is also the horse that isn't hot when wearing a medium when the temps unexpectedly hit 60...).

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    1. omg wouldn't that be so cute to get a picture of Charlie and Jiminy hangin out together in the matching sheets? the giant and the mini lol...... but yea the Mio seems like a good fit for charlie too, which is nice! i've heard good things about the schneiders liners too. probably if i end up getting another liner it'll be around 200g, tho i'm hoping to get away with what i've got for now!

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    2. Well, Jiminy is pretty convinced he's a giant horse... The Schneiders are nice because while they have no straps (mine is a closed front), you can stick leg straps through the slots in the back from the top layer blanket.

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    3. ha and charlie is pretty convinced he's the size of a lapdog. i'm sure they'd get along famously!

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  16. Moiya owns a sheet -- and I think a blanket? I dunno, she doesn't wear it lol. Niko runs cold, so he has a sheet, medium and heavy. Usually layering is a bit much for our barn staff, so it's easier for me to just have one of each weight I want.

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    1. yea that's kinda how it was at isabel's barn. the staff offered a ton of coverage in ensuring each horse was blanketed according to the forecast and their needs, and in turn the barn requested specifically which type of blanket each horse could have (2). it worked well for everyone involved!

      my only bugaboo now is that i'm responsible for all blanket changes now (with the occasional pinch hit by someone who just charges a low monthly fee). so charlie's needed to be dressed such that he can go 36-48+hrs at a time in what he's wearing, whether it's rainy or crazy or whatever. makes it tricky!

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  17. Oh good you found a piece! I bet that was definitely a relief. I would've disliked buying a whole new one as well, but it worked out! Yay! Amber's "heavyweight" blanket is actually a medium weight I believe lol since it doesn't usually get uber cold here. Most of the time tho, she wears a cotton sheet or a nylon lined, no fill blanket. When it was cold enough for a little more but not her medium, I layered just like you do. It's always nice to be able to do that!

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    1. definitely nice! in this particular climate, the extreme cold isn't really as much of an issue for the most part - but things get really tricky when it's wet out, either in the form of snow, ice, rain or just general raw dampness....

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  18. I love the little snow flurries in his mane!

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  19. I had that Mio turnout sheet on Levi last year. He destroyed a bunch of blankets last year. He shredded the Mio in a day or so and I ended up duct-taping it back together because I was sick of fixing/replacing blankets. It ended up working for the rest of the winter with the duct-tape and I fixed it properly at the end of the year.

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    1. ugh yea i count my lucky stars constantly that charlie is generally not very destructive. the only issue we had last year was when i hauled him in his sheet and he got the surcingle tangled while unloading. definitely not his fault, but that sheet was not able to be saved. sadness.

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  20. I have a blanket for every temp- this is the first year P isn't body clipped so I was hoping not to have to drag out the heavy, but then it was 3 degrees, so that had to be layered (P lives outside, only comes into his stall to eat). I have the Big D ones- those are indestructible!

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    1. i've heard good things about those blankets! and yea that whole 3* thing really puts a damper on any possible wins from not clipping, ugh. i'll be 100% satisfied if we don't see temps that low for the rest of the season, thankyouverymuch!!

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  21. B has the same Mio blanket - I love how lightweight it is, and so far we are on month 2 of west coast winter and it's still waterproof - miracles! I layer a fleece sheet under if it gets below freezing, or she's freshly clipped (trace clip) otherwise, that's all she wears.

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