Every horse is different, so when it comes to blanketing them, it’s not a one-size-fits-all matter. In some cases, you may choose not to blanket your horse at all. We know that finding the perfect equine blanket can be an overwhelming process, so we’ve developed this complete horse blanket guide to help with the guesswork. You’ll discover everything you need to help you find the right wardrobe for your horse. For beginners or newcomers, check out our Horse Blanket Terms and Meanings guide to help you get familiar with the lingo.
Ensuring the comfort and well-being of your equine companion during the chilly winter months is a top priority for any responsible horse owner. One of the key considerations in this regard is whether your horse needs a blanket. Let’s break it down to help you make an informed decision.
First and foremost, take a close look at your horse’s coat. A healthy horse with a thick, well-maintained winter coat is like a natural insulation machine. In many cases, these furry friends won’t require blankets at all. However, even if your horse boasts a fabulous winter coat, it’s still a great idea to invest in a turnout sheet. Why, you ask? Well, because these sheets serve as a protective shield, keeping your horse dry on top of that lush coat.
Now, let’s shift our attention to horses with shorter coats. If your horse has been clipped or naturally sports a sleeker coat, they lack that built-in protection against the cold. For them, a blanket becomes an essential piece of winter gear.
Another crucial factor to consider is your horse’s overall health. Underweight horses, senior equines, or those with specific health issues may struggle to generate sufficient body heat or natural insulation. For these individuals, blanketing is a must during the cold season.
In conclusion, whether your horse is rocking a luxurious winter coat or sports a sleek, clipped look, keeping them snug during the colder months is all about finding the right blanket to match the weather conditions. By considering their coat, health, and the thermometer’s reading, you can ensure that your equine friend stays cozy and content all winter long.
To keep your horse protected and comfortable, it’s critical to find the right size blanket for the proper fit. The accurate and simple way to fit your horse to a blanket is to find the correct measurements.
Simply grab a flexible tape measure and begin your measurement at the center of your horse’s chest. Making sure that your tape measure is flat and straight, measure around the point of the shoulder and make your way to your horse’s rear. Make sure that you include the widest point of your horse’s barrel and rear. Write down the measurement in inches. You should now have an accurate measurement of half of your horse’s circumference, excluding the tail. Side note, it is very important to not include your horse’s tail in this measurement to prevent you from purchasing a blanket that is too large.
Once you get these measurements, the total measurement in inches should equal a blanket size. If your horse ends up measuring between sizes, it’s best to round up to the closest size.
For additional reading, check out “How to Measure a Horse for a Blanket in 4 Easy Steps” or watch the video below or on YouTube.
The blanket you choose should fit your horse snugly, but not too snugly. It should cover their whole body, from chest to tail, without hanging too low or too high. The straps should be secure, but not restrictive. A well-fitted blanket will protect your horse from the cold, wind, and rain, and prevent any skin problems or injuries from rubbing or slipping.
A: Withers – Your horse’s withers are sensitive and prone to rubbing, so make sure your blanket doesn’t put too much pressure on them. You should be able to slide your hand easily between the blanket and your horse’s withers, feeling a gentle contact but not a tight squeeze.
B: Shoulders – Your horse’s blanket should fit snugly around his shoulders, matching the curve of his front legs. The front closure should be aligned with the point where his shoulder meets his chest, and the neckline should rest comfortably on his shoulder without pulling or sagging.
C: Length – Your horse’s blanket should cover him from head to tail, without leaving any gaps or hanging too low. The ideal length for a blanket is just below his elbow and stifle, covering his entire barrel and protecting him from the elements.
Now that you have your measurements ready, you must decide if you want a light, medium, or heavy blanket. To know which of these you should get, the thickness of the blankets should be considered.
When you shop for a blanket, here are some basic points to refer to:
Here’s a handy rule of thumb to keep in mind: when the mercury drops below 50°F and your unclipped horse needs some extra warmth, opt for a lightweight blanket with approximately 100g of fill. As the thermometer continues its descent and reaches below 40°F, transition to a lightweight to medium-weight blanket with 180-250g of fill to keep your horse snug.
But what if the temperatures plummet even further? No worries. When it’s hovering between 20° and 30°F, a medium-weight to heavyweight horse blanket should be your go-to. And if the cold snap sends the thermometer below the 20°F mark, equip your horse with a heavyweight turnout blanket packing 300-400g of polyfill – that’s the ultimate cold-busting gear.
Now, if your horse has undergone a full-body clip, you’ll need to step up your blanketing game. When it’s a moderately chilly 50°-60°F, your clipped horse will thank you for a lightweight turnout blanket featuring 100g of fill. As things get colder, say in the range of 40°-50°F, make the switch to a lightweight to medium-weight horse blanket with 150-250g of fill. For those frosty days when it hovers between 30° and 40°F, your clipped horse will appreciate a mediumweight to heavyweight turnout blanket.
And as for the most bone-chilling days when temperatures dive below 20°F, don’t hold back – your clipped horse deserves a heavyweight turnout blanket with a liner for maximum warmth and comfort. You may need multiple blankets for different seasons and situations. Each blanket weight is adequate for various temperatures, so you’ll need to select the proper weight for the season.
Blankets come in two main categories, which are stable blankets and turnout blankets. A stable blanket can be used when your horse is in a barn or stall. These blankets do not have waterproof protection but can help provide some warmth and keep your horse clean.
A turnout blanket has a durable and waterproof outer layer that is made to keep your horse warm and dry when it rains or snows. The material also holds up to rougher outdoor conditions. These blankets will allow the horse’s skin to breathe underneath the exterior and regulate moisture created beneath the blanket. The breathable material is designed to keep horses warm and dry for the most comfort.
Here are some general rules to note when selecting the proper blanket:
In addition to the weight, you’ll need to decide if your horse should have a waterproof blanket. In most cases, the answer is yes. Waterproof blankets are perfect when your horse is going outside because they will protect the material if your horse gets rained on or lays down on the ground. In areas that appear dry, there could be moisture that mixes with the cold air and combines to make your horse chillier than you’d expect.
This in-depth guide will give you all the information you need to find the perfect equine blanket for your horse and the ability to maintain it for seasons to come. Proper care will extend the life of your blanket. Stocking up on horse blankets now will keep your horse comfortable no matter what the outdoor elements present.
There are also some other resources available to help you learn and understanding all of the horse blanket terms and meanings, how to clean horse blankets, and a guide on how to clean your horse blankets.
If you need assistance with finding your horse the proper equine blanket, contact us for more help.