I forgot to answer the questions that Mike, Strawberry Lane and Abraham asked about the horses out in the cold and whether I blanket them or not. The problem with blanketing is if you start using one at the beginning of winter then you will have to continue using it the whole winter. I dont use them at all, the only time I do is when I have a new foal and it is really cold when they are first born.
The pictures above some of you may remember, they are of Taxes the morning he was born this last April 15th. It had snowed the day before and was raining and freezing so I blanketed him the minute he was born, he was still wet from the birth so I dried him the best I could and put the blanket on him. He only wore it for a few days, then it started warming up a bit so he was fine without it. Horses are very resiliant, they tend to grow a coat which is thick enough to keep them warm, in fact I can normally tell if it is going to be a really cold or warmer winter by how thick their coats get and how soon they start to grow them. The hair traps air underneath it and that is what keeps them warm (a short quick version of how it works LOL). Another problem with blanketing is that you have to be sure to remove the blanket at least once a day to check for rubbing and to groom or brush the horse. They can get really itchy and also the blanket flattens the hair so it cant work as it should do without it so they become reliant on the blanket. My horses are always in the barn at night or in a shelter and are also inside when the weather is really bad, some people who have their horses out 24 7 but have no shelters will put blankets on their horses too to protect them from the ice and rain. Of course you can also have the problem that your horse will rub holes in them because it is itching or will roll in the mud and displace the blanket and become tangled so I suppose it is a personal thing and depends on each persons circumstances with regard to climate and facilities.
So in short, no I dont blanket my horses because I have shelter for them in severe weather and they seem to cope fine. The other morning when it was 4F (about -14C or so) I went into the barn and some of the horses had frost on their coats and whiskers but they were quite happy. A horse will shiver when it is cold which actually is a reflex action that generates heat in its system, so although it looks terrible it is actually their way of keeping warm. I have only seen this happen once and that was when we first got Gee the thoroughbred mare off the track in November 2 years ago. She had been in a heated barn and had a short coat and after she had been with us a few days we had a very cold snap. We were loathe to start blanketing her for the reasons mentioned above and she only did it the one time. It is amazing how quickly their hair will grow, literally within days she had a good winter coat started and never looked back. I kept a close eye on her but she was fine.
Hope that all makes sense and sorry to be so long winded LOL