How to choose the right blanket for your horse

Choosing the right blanket for your horse is essential for their comfort and well-being. With various types of blankets available and changing weather conditions, it can be challenging to make the best choice. This guide will help you understand the specific purposes of different blankets and how to select the right one for your horse.

 

Types of Horse Blankets

1. Stable Blankets

  • Purpose: Designed for indoor use, stable blanket provide warmth in the stable but are not waterproof.
  • When to use: Use stable blankets when your horse is stabled, throughout the year. Stable blankets are designed for indoor use, but as long as it’s dry outside and not raining, the horse can comfortably stay in the paddock with a stable blanket.  They come in various thicknesses to accommodate different temperature.

2. Turnout Blanket

  • Purpose: These types of blankets are often waterproof and durable, designed for outdoor use to keep your horse dry and warm. 
  • When to use: Ideal for horses that spend time in the pasture or paddock during wet and cold weather. They come in various thicknesses to accommodate different temperature. 

3. Fly Sheet

  • Purpose: Protects against flies and other biting insects. Fly sheets are made from lightweight, breathable material.
  • When to use: During the summer months when insects are prevalent. They also provide UV protection to prevent your horse’s coat from fading.

4. Fleece Blanket

  • Purpose: Lightweight and breathable, fleece blankets are great for wicking away moisture and providing a light layer of warmth.
  • When to use: Use fleece blankets after exercise to help cool down your horse, or as an additional layer under a heavier blanket. They can also be beneficial when you ride in colder temperatures. 

5. Wool Blanket

  • Purpose: Wool blankets are designed to provide warmth and excellent moisture-wicking properties. They are particularly useful for cooling down horses after exercise or for added warmth during colder months.
  • When to use: Wool blankets are ideal for use after workouts or baths because they effectively wick away moisture while keeping the horse warm. They can also be used as an additional layer under a heavier blanket in extremely cold weather, or you can use them when you ride in cold weather. 

     

    Choosing the Right Size

    Proper fit is essential to ensure your horse's comfort and prevent chafing or restricted movement. Here's how to measure your horse for a blanket:  

    1. Measuring your horse:

    • Using a flexible tape measure, measure from the center of your horse's chest, over the shoulder, and to the point just before the tail.
    • Record the measurement in inches or centimeters. This will be the size of the blanket you need.

    2. Checking the fit:

    • Place the blanket on your horse and fasten all straps.
    • The blanket should fit snugly but not too tight. You should be able to slide your hand between the blanket and your horse's withers.
    • Ensure there is no gaping around the neck and that the blanket covers the horse's body adequately without restricting movement.

     

    Material and Durability

    The Material of the blanket plays a significant role in its durability and functionality:

    1. Outer Shell: 

    • Denier Rating: Look for the denier rating, which indicates the strength of the fabric. A higher denier means more durability. For example, a 1200D blanket is more durable than a 600D blanket.
    • Waterproofing: Ensure the blanket is waterproof if it’s intended for outdoor use. Turnout blankets should have a waterproof and breathable outer layer.

    2. Inner Lining:

    • Breathability: A breathable lining helps to wick moisture away from your horse’s body, keeping them dry and comfortable.
    • Insulation. The type of insulation (e.g., polyfill) determines the warmth of the blanket. Choose the insulation weight based on your climate and your horse’s needs.

     

    Should you put Blankets on Your Horse?

    Deciding when to put blanket on your horse depends on various factors, including the weather, your horse's coat, and their living conditions:

    1. Weather Conditions

    • Blanket your horse when temperatures drop significantly, especially if they are clipped or have a thinner coat.
    • Use a turnout blanket during wet, windy, or snowy conditions to keep your horse dry and warm.

    2. Coat Type:

    • Horses with thick, natural winter coats may not need blanketing as much as those with thinner coats or clipped horses.
    • Monitor your horse’s condition regularly to ensure they are neither too hot nor too cold under the blanket.

    3. Living Conditions:

    • Horses kept in stalls may require different blanketing strategies compared to those living outside.
    • Always adjust the blanket based on changes in weather and your horse’s activity level.

     

    Additional Tips

    • Regular Checks: Check your horse’s blanket regularly for signs of wear and tear. Repair or replace damaged blankets promptly to prevent injury.
    • Proper Storage: Clean and store blankets properly when not in use to extend their lifespan. Follow the manufacturer’s care instructions for washing and maintenance.
    • Monitor Your Horse: Pay attention to your horse’s behavior and body condition. If they seem uncomfortable, it might be necessary to adjust the type or fit of the blanket.

     

      I hope this article was helpful and that you got the answers you were looking for. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any further questions. By considering the type of blanket, proper fit, material, and your horse’s specific needs, you can ensure that your horse stays comfortable and protected throughout the year.