There are many different types and purposes for horse blankets. They come in different sizes, colors, and are made with all different kinds of materials. One of the hardships of being a horse owner is trying to figure out and decide what kind of blanket your horse needs. This article will help horse owners in choosing the correct blanket. Here is everything you need to know in regards to horse blankets and sheets.
As the cold months approach, horse owners are getting ready to bring out their old blankets or they may be looking to purchase a new one. One of the struggles for new horse owners is not knowing when to start blanketing your horse. The best time to start blanketing your horse is usually late fall, early winter. A good temperature to start blanketing your horses is when the temperature drops to 40 degrees or lower. If your horse doesn’t have a thick coat, some horse owners may decide to start putting on a blanket in the early fall when the temperature is around 50 degrees. Other factors that may cause you to blanket your horse include:
- If he is undergoing health issues
- If he is only ridden indoors
- If your horse has been moved from a warm climate to a cooler one
- If your horse’s coat has been clipped
- If your horse's body is not insulated with a thick coat
When you start blanketing your horse, you want to make sure to keep an eye on him and make sure that his blanket isn’t too warm for him. If your blanket is too insulated for your horse, it can cause him to sweat even though the temperature may drop. This can lead to your horse getting chilled and may lead to illness. The same rule applies for the opposite situation! If your horse blanket is NOT insulated enough for your horse, your horse will be too cold. This also can lead to illness. A good “horse owner” tip is to have a couple different horse blankets that are designed with different warmth levels. That way when the temperature rises or drops, you will have the right blanket for the appropriate temperature! To see a diagram for blankets, that match the different temperature levels, check out our Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions about Horse Blankets.
Horse blankets can fall into two different categories: Stable blankets and Turnout blankets. Turnout blankets/sheets are designed for durability and are water proof. They are made to withstand horse play when they are outside and to protect your horse against the weather elements (i.e. wind, rain, snow). Turnout blankets/sheets are also designed for flexibility. This results in giving your horse more freedom of movement when he is out in the paddock/pasture. The outside material that makes up a turnout blanket can consist of a nylon material, a netted fabric, or a fabric combination. Even though turnout blankets and sheets are water proof, over time you need to make sure to check the blanket to see that it is still repelling water and is not soaking through to the inside of the blanket.
Turnout blankets are made with a variety of different fill weights. The fill weight refers to the amount of insulation that the turnout blanket has. This fill weight is weighed in grams. The higher the number of gram fill that the blanket has, the more warmth the blanket will provide. Each horse’s body is different and therefore, insulated differently. You want to make sure that you know the right gram count that your horse will need before you purchase a blanket. To see a fill weight table for blankets, check out Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions about Horse Blankets.
Stable blankets are designed for horses that are inside the barn or being transported. Stable blankets are made with a thick, quilted material and are NOT waterproof. Some designs may be water-repellant and will resist sweat and urine. However, they are not made to withstand rain and therefore should not be used as a turnout blanket. Just like turnout blankets, stable blankets come in different varieties of fill weight. Different fill weight equals different levels of insulation. Unlike the turnout blanket, the stable blanket is not made for flexibility. It is designed to keep your horse warm and dry while he is in his stall or in a trailer.
Rain sheets are made to keep your horse, as well as your tack, dry when walking from one place to another. Rain sheets usually consist of a full body covering from the top of the head, to the horse’s hindquarters. Unlike turnout blankets, these sheets are not designed with the durability to withstand the weather elements. Therefore, these sheets should not be used as a turnout sheet!
Anti-Sweat Blankets are made to be used on horses who are freshly bathed or really sweaty. They are designed to keep your horse from getting chilled while he is drying from his bath or sweat. They consists of a cotton/cotton blend mesh with tiny perforated holes throughout the material. These tiny holes allow your horse’s body heat to escape, while also protecting your horse from windy drafts. This will help dry your horse faster and keep him healthy!
Coolers are very similar to anti-sweat blankets. Coolers help to take away moisture, are used for freshly bathed horses or sweaty horses, and they help protect your horse against getting chilled. Even though coolers are like anti-sweat blankets, they do provide a lot more protection against windy drafts and are also made of different materials. Coolers are usually made of wool or synthetic fleece.
Dress sheets are used when transporting your horse during the cooler months, or when going from place to place at a horse show. Dress blankets come in a variety of colors and patterns. They are usually made out of a wool or fleece material and they lay more loosely on your horse compared to the other blankets. Dress blankets come with minimal fastenings that include a chest buckle, a belly strap, and sometimes a tail strap.
Whether you are a new horse owner or an experienced one, finding the right horse blanket doesn’t have to be a hassle anymore! With all these great informational tips, you will find all you need to know about purchasing the prefect blanket for you horse. Also, check out Beginner's Guide: Horse Blankets to learn how to measure your horse for the perfect fitting horse blanket!