Thursday, March 10, 2011

The High Wind Fiasco

This winter the horses have been especially hard on their turnout blankets. All of three of them broke one of their leg straps. Gabbrielle has also been really bad about rubbing on the fence and tearing the border fabric that closes the seams along the edge. So, in these high winds, her blanket collects air like a kite, and with only one leg strap and a couple of belly straps holding the blanket on, I keep looking outside to see her with this blanket blown up over her neck and head. She likes to keep her butt to the wind.

When I walk into the paddock to get her untangled, she happily trots up to me with this blanket dragging at her side. I am so glad that I did all that desensitization work with her regarding having foreign objects around her legs.

These leg straps lose their elasticity and the buckles never stay where you slide them, so they get stretched to the nth degree. After a while I start tying knots in them to shorten them. I know you can order replacement parts, but I think all three of these blankets will be ready for the garbage man if they can just last through this final series of storms.

Guess what? The time is changing this weekend, so if we get some decent weather we have more light in the evenings to spend with our horses. Yippee!

Also, please take a second to fill in my survey on the sidebar. You can choose more than one. Thanks.

15 comments:

Fantastyk Voyager said...

I have a few blankets but since I rarely use them they're still in good condition although they are dirty. They don't have elastic straps so they haven't stretched out like you describe. I imagine the stretchy straps are more comfortable...until they lose their elasticity. That's too bad they don't last longer. They're soooo expensive.

Christie said...

I'm an aspiring horse owner (31 years horse-less just lessons and leasing horses). On unclipped horses when do you put a blanket on? There has been windy days and really cold days that makes sense to put blankets on but how do you figure out when to put a blanket on or take it off? So much to learn! Love your blog by the way! Hoping to a get an ipad or what not and then I can buy one of your digital books!

Paint Girl said...

I am so ready for the time change and more daylight! I am hoping the weather gets better too, I need some serious horsey time!

Katharine Swan said...

Hey NM! I just answered your survey. Technically I use the Nook app and a couple of other apps on my iPhone, but I answered Nook and iPad because I thought those were the closest (and because I'm planning on getting a Nook later this year). I do recommend offering your books on some other sites, because Kindle DRM'ed ebooks cannot be sideloaded onto any other device, except onto the iPhone and iPad with the Kindle app -- which may get pulled from the app store July 1st. (If you haven't heard yet about Apple's threats, I have a blog post about that here.)

In addition to PubIt, B&N's ebook self-publishing program, you might want to check out Smashwords.com. It's a ebook self-publishing site for independent authors, and I believe they give you a better cut, 85 percent. They also seem to be pretty well known on the B&N forums.

Good luck!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Christie - Welcome! It's up to you whether you want to blanket your horses or not. Most horses can grow the appropriate amount of hair to keep them warm in any type of winter climate. If you don't show your horses, or if you don't ride them in the winter months, you may as well save your money. I don't show my horses, though they were bred to be show horses. I just blanket them because that is what they are used to. They've been blanketed by their breeders and previous owners since they were foals. People have different rules regarding at what temperature they will remove the blankets. Some say 0 degrees, some say 15 degrees, some say 30 degrees. I know one person who says, "If it's cold enough for me to wear a coat, then I blanket my horses."

I tend to leave the blankets on all winter while it is snowing, then during the spring, I remove the blankets during the day. You have to be careful about leaving blankets on horses, and then going to work, only to have the temperatures soar above 40 degrees. The horses can work up a sweat and get dehydrated if too warm. Also, a lot of people blanket, because it cuts back on the shedding in the spring time. Technically, if the blankets are having a hard time staying on in high winds, you should either remove them or put the horses in stalls.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Katharine - Thanks for pointing those out to me. I'll look into them. Using the PubIt! process on the Nook just feels so complicated. That's why I'm doing the survey. I don't want to do all the work unless enough people own Nooks.

Dreaming said...

I am so glad that I don't use blankets! I used them years ago when I clipped my horse and I remember how awful it was to get them clean in the spring....not to mention mending them!
We have a company that cleans and repairs blankets near me. I've never had to use it, so I don't know what it costs, but it sounds like it would be a good service to offer in a horsey area!

Jame said...

Choosing to blanket our draft horses in Vermont this winter was a hard choice, mainly because of price, though I was lucky to find some Weatherbeeta blankets on sale in the sizes I needed! Basically we blanket on the rainy, windy days when the temperature is around 28-40 degrees-when even our quite fuzzy boys could get hypothermia. Plus we only have standing stalls, & one horse with heaves, so it's best if they spend the maximum time outside. That said, we just had a 50+mph wind storm last night, along with sleet, that even managed to knock over our solar tracker, so the horses spent the night in the barn. For the most part though, our boys don't have their blankets on, which I think is why they've managed to remain mostly clean-though ice tends to build up around the seams that we have to beat off with a hammer.
NM-is there a way to get access to your books without the Kindle? It's still going to be awhile before I get my hands on any type of E-reader, unfortunately :(

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Dreaming - We have a blanket repair service that comes into Nevada from California. I just can't imagine how anyone can repair my blankets. The labor alone would cost more than buying a new blanket.

Jame - I'm looking into other methods of publishing the books beyond the Kindle, and I'll announce when they are available via another method. Because I am unemployed, I really can't afford to publish them in print at the moment, but it looks like if I go with Smashwords, like Katharine recommended, people could download them to their computers in different forms such as PDF and HTML to view in a browser.

Katharine Swan said...

NM, Smashwords definitely would be worth checking out, then. I've seen ebooks in the B&N catalog that are published by Smashwords, so you may be able to go through Smashwords instead of PubIt in order to get your books on the B&N site.

Anonymous said...

I just bought my horse a Weatherbeeta blanket i got off craigslist for $80. It was perfect! Well, two new horses moved in and viola, my new blanket is getting ripped and bitten. GGRRR. But with all the bald spots my horse has now on her rump I don't know which is worse...patching her blanket or hoping the hair grows back. I did find a blanket (Rider's International, through Dover Saddlery) that has a two year guarantee against rips. I even called them and drilled them about how the guarantee works. It sounds promising and it's even on sale for $144.70. I did find another one with a THREE year guarantee too.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I've had all blankets rip. The guarantees and the rip-stop fabric really don't guarantee that they won't rip. Some dealers will send you repair kits if they rip, but you have to contact them and wait the for kit to arrive in the mail... Other horses and rubbing on fences are the main causes of blanket damage.

Since we're on the subject of blankets, once you start blanketing in the fall or winter, you really need to continue until the weather warms up. By blanketing your horse, you don't allow as much hair to grow, so if you suddenly stop blanketing, the horse will be at a disadvantage. Also, I recommend buying blankets at the spring clearance sales instead of waiting for winter when they are full priced.

Crystal said...

I am hoping spring weather comes soon too, My new horses blanket is getting torn up too, but I dont want to buy her a new one cause Im sure next year she will be in a bigger size (I hope).

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I was planning on buying Apache a blanket for this winter, because when we brought her up from the Rio Grande Valley she didn't have much hair growth and she shivered.

But I'm glad I saved the money, because this winter, I noticed that Apache has totally acclimated to our climate and grew a super plush fur coat, and even when we got down -27F, I didn't dare blanket her. She was toasty warm, almost hot, when I ran my hands across her chest, belly, back, ears and neck.

I just made sure she had a windbreak and lots of hay to help her maintain her heat production. And when it snowed, I just moved her into the barn to keep her dry.

She reminds me of the Iditarod sled dogs with their thick fur coats. No blankets needed for them either...even in -50F in the Arctic Circle.

~Lisa

achieve1dream said...

Ugh. Good thing Gabrielle isn't afraid of blanket balloons lol! I hope they last the rest of the winter weather for you. Oh and thanks for mentioning the time change! I completely forgot about it. :)