Horse Winter Insulation

Now that the colder weather (and worse wet) has finally arrived in earnest we are all looking at rugs and how to keep our horses comfortable. It is the combination of wind and wet that is really the one to look out for. We have no idea how well insulated a horse is in fact. Even a clipped horse still has those amazing fine hairs next to their skin which still provide a lot of insulation. I've often wondered is there any way we could find out for ourselves how insulating it is. We humans with our relatively fine head hairs and little else besides. Blankets, because they squash down the hairs they are resting on can provide less additional insulation than you might think. I have read a figure of as little as 15% extra. For me the key things to do are make sure you feed extra when it is cold, fresh water slightly warmed if possible (you can get devices which buried deep in the ground provide enough of a temperature difference to lightly heat the water a few degrees) and protection from the wind and rain. And you must always remember that if you start rugging you have to continue.