Hi, first of all, I have 40 active years in raising and training Arabians and the first part was in northern Vermont where the weather could get down to minus 40 degrees! My last 22 years have been in the Ocala area and like last night, it gets cold here too, 25 degrees at times. Whether or not to blanket is always a question. My uncle, an old Vermonter taught me two very important things, cold wind and cold rain will take a horse down. Also, hay is what will keep a horse warm, not feed. Also, leave the Alfalfa to the cattle; Timothy up north, and Coastal down south as long as neither is fine and it should be second cut so as not to be too high in protein. Stop at anything over 12% protein for a horse, (this also includes feed) their kidneys cannot handle it ! As far as the arthritis goes, the one thing I find that works best is Next-Level Joint Fluid. It is expensive, but I have some old retirees plus a rescued foundered horse and it even helps her. Try K-V Vet Supply price, even with their shipping, use them for comparison when shopping. Now, when it comes to blanketing, even in Florida, when I first came here, I built not only individual feeding pens, but huge covered run in sheds. And, yes, when it gets down in the 30's I blanket certain horses, especially when we get the cold winds. I have 21 horses. I have 22 waterproof medium weight and heavyweight coats for them all. I also have some fuzzy horses. Last night and tonight they are all blanketed and will stay blanketed. YES, EVEN IN THE BARN, YOU KEEP HER BLANKETED Because of her former neglect give her comfort. It will not hurt, but remember the rule. For a horse to stay warm, they have to be fuzzy and they have to not have their hair be pressed down by mud or they cannot fluff it up to trap warm air, so if you blanket, it has to be heavy enough to compensate as the blanket will press down that hair. So, if your coat is not heavy, by all means layer with two blankets. Stick your hand in under the neck and see if it feels warm to your hand. If so, then she is warm enough. Also remember, a horse that does not have to expend calories to keep warm will not lose weight so they are easier on your feed bill! And, some of my old rescues are Thoroughbreds and they will lose weight fast if not fed properly!
My feed bill only goes up in the winter for hay.) AND, my horses have hay in front of them all of the time. A hay belly on a horse means a healthy horse. Only a hard working horse should have more HIGH FAT BASED FEED and less hay (so the hay doesn't press on their lungs). Good luck and take care. The Messenger