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February 13, 2009

Royal Robes for Your Longeared Buddies

If you're thinking about clipping your mules or donkeys for show this spring, here's something you'll want to remember.

Here are a couple of my longears showing off their special jackets:


Clipping time can be a fun and exciting time! You're turning your woolly mammoth into a beautiful show creature all in a matter of a few hours. Obviously if you aren't planning to show, it's much easier to just leave them woolly and let them shed out on their own. But if you are going to clip, now is the time to start preparing, and make sure you have everything you'll need when that day comes.

One very important piece to have is a warm horse blanket or two to put on your donkey after he is sheared, so he'll be able to stay warm during a chilly spring night, cold rain storm or late season snow storm.

There are many different kinds of blankets to choose from. Light weight, mid-weight, heavy weight, waterproof, heavy canvas, stable blankets, etc. If you live in an area that gets a fair amount of rain this time of year, you'll want a waterproof turnout blanket. Stable blankets are typically not waterproof, and are only designed for use indoors where the animal won't get rained or snowed on. Heavy canvas blankets usually hold up to a lot of wear and tear, and may be water resistant, but in my experience they tend to get soaked if the donkey is out in much rain.

When I lived in an area with a drier climate, I used this kind unless there was a rainstorm forecasted. Where I live now, we get a lot more rain, so I use the waterproof turnout blankets exclusively. Depending on what the temperatures will be, I will use either a heavy-weight or mid-weight turnout blanket.

But before you can go shopping, you'll need to know what size of blanket to buy. Here's how to figure it out.

Get a flexible tape measure or a piece of rope or string. Measure from the center of your mule or donkey's chest, around along the side of his barrel, all the way to the center of his tail (tape should be relatively parallel with the ground). This will give you a measurement in inches of about what size blanket he'll need.

Here is a short video of how to measure for a blanket:

Or click this link.

I buy blankets that buckle down the center chest, and this allows you an adjustment of a couple inches in size - you can loosen or tighten it to get the size just right.

I also suggest that you make sure your blanket has leg straps. The blanket has belly straps to hold it on. But having leg straps to go around each back leg will do a lot to prevent the blanket from sliding off when your mule or donkey lays down or rolls.

Once you get your new blankets home, let your mule or donkey have a good look at them, and take your time putting them on and taking them off a few times. This will help your longeared buddy get used to their new wardrobe, and learn that it's not a huge monster out to eat them up. Soon enough they'll be looking for you to bring their snuggly blankets out when it gets chilly.

Once you start blanketing them, you also want to be sure and keep a close eye on the weather. Around here it can be frosty outside in the morning, and up in the 60s or 70s by mid-afternoon. If it's going to get warm during the day, you want to make sure someone will be around to take the blanket off before your longeared friend gets cooked!

Kristie Jorgensen

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at February 13, 2009 04:43 PM