Measure Up! Finding the Perfect Fit for Your Next Horse Blanket
Did you know that horses shiver when they’re cold? While some horses shiver noticeably, it’s often difficult to tell. You might need to feel your horse’s muzzle or ears to check if they’re feeling a bit chilly.
A horse blanket will protect your horse from the elements, providing much-needed warmth.
Just like you might need a parka or an umbrella, a horse blanket provides extra defense from sun, rain, wind, and snow. If you’re looking for a horse blanket, we’ll explain how you can make the best choice and find a perfect fit!
Horses need blankets to keep them comfortable and healthy. This is especially true during the colder times of the year. You want a properly fitting blanket that does its job and keeps your horse safe.
A good place to start is by measuring your horse for fit. The correct fit is of utmost importance. If a blanket is too loose it might cause rubbing, chafing, or even injury if it slips.
In our steps below, we use a lead rope with a standard construction measuring tape, but you can use anything you have available that suits you and your horse. For example, you could use string, rope, or a cloth measuring tape if you have one.
Here are 4 quick steps on how to measure a horse for a blanket:
1: Have your measuring tape and lead rope ready.
2: Stand your horse straight on level, firm ground.
3: Measure from the center of your horses’ chest. Work the lead rope around their shoulder, along their body, and around the hindquarters. Stop at the center of the tail.
Make sure you don’t let the measuring rope fall slack, it needs to pull flat across their body, not too high or low. You only measure one side of the body, from chest to tail, not all the way around. Keep the place you found on the lead rope at the tail.
Step 4: Holding the lead rope at the part that met their tail, set it against the measuring tape. Then find the inches. You might need to round off to the closest number.
You’ll need to repeat the process, measuring along the spine from withers to tail.
It’s sometimes easier to do this with two people, but that’s up to you. It might also be a good idea to measure twice. The first time is just practice for both of you.
Each brand varies slightly on its sizing. If you can, look for a fitting guide as a reference to match your horse’s measurements. If your horse is between size increments, choose the bigger one.
How do you know if your horse needs a blanket? Clipped horses need their blankets if temperatures drop below 50°F. And, unclipped horses should be ok until temperatures reach about 30°F. Remember to factor in living and grazing conditions, weight, age, and level of fitness.
A horse blanket chart can be very useful. You can find a blanketing cheat sheet here.
Horse Blanket Types
There are many types of horse blankets to choose from. It’s important to understand the differences between them.
Here’s a quick rundown on 5 types of blankets:
These blankets are for indoor wear. They’re more fitted and aren’t waterproof. Stable blankets keep indoor horses clean and warm when they can’t move around much.
These are for outdoor wear. Turnout blankets provide more freedom of movement. They’re waterproof, more durable, and protective.
Mesh & UV Sheets
Mesh sheets serve a protective function. They protect horses from flies, biting insects and harmful UV rays while grazing outside.
Sheets are breathable and often made from cotton. Sheets are commonly used during the warmer months and worn in the stable and used to keep horses clean and offer a light layer of warmth.
Cooling Blankets & Fleeces
Cooling blankets and fleeces can be used to stop your horse’s body temperature from dropping too fast after exercise.
It might benefit your horse to build up a collection of blankets. That way you’ll have a variety to choose from as the weather changes and as the need arises.
Notes on Style
Horse blankets fit over a horse’s entire body, from shoulder to tail. Most standard blankets cover the withers, back, barrel and hindquarters. Style is up to your discretion on what would suit your horse best.
A quick note: A horse saddle blanket, also called a saddle pad, is something different. It fits underneath the saddle, providing cushioning and protection.
Blanket style comes down to personal preference and your horse’s lifestyle. Maybe you don’t need a blanket that covers their tail. And, perhaps you do want one that gives full cover over her chest and neck.
When putting the blanket on, start at the front and work towards the back. When taking it off, do the opposite, start at the back and work towards the front. Working systematically is safer and stops you from missing any clips.
Blanket weight determines warmth and refers to the fill that provides insulation. It’s measured in grams for heavy, medium, and light. For example, a heavy blanket will usually be upwards of 300 grams and will be very warm. A light blanket will be 0 to 100 grams having minimal insulation.
Denier is like a thread count, starting at 210, and it refers to the strength of the blanket. The nylon fiber density determines its durability and water resistance. Turnout blankets for cold weather should have a denier of at least 900.
The Perfect Fit
There are a lot of options for horse blankets. Don’t make an uninformed decision, or settle for second best. Be prepared so that you know which type, weight, and denier will benefit your horse and which style will be most suitable.
There are a few things to consider to make sure you get the right thing by measuring up first you can treat your horse to a blanket that’s her perfect fit.
If you’re shopping for a horse blanket, we have a wide selection of products and brands to choose from. Take a look here.