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A Rider's Guide to the Different Types of Horse Blankets
When winter arrives..so does the need to warm up your steed. The chill is in the air and it's time to stock up on horse blankets to help your horse weather the bone-chilling cold.
Because no matter how secure your horse’s shelter, the cold can still get to them! That’s why it's imperative to take the proper measures to keep your horse comfy all season long. Finding an excellent blanket - just right for their needs - is one of the most important ways you can care for your horse during the colder months.
Locating the right blanket in a very saturated marketplace is overwhelming. The different types and designs can be confusing, especially for beginners.
If you’re wondering where to start with selecting horse blankets, we’ve put together a guide to the different types of horse blankets and what to specifically choose for your own horse.
Outdoor venues and trails are obviously the harshest during winter. Your horse will need a turnout blanket to keep him warm while they're out in the wind and snow.
Turnout blankets are unique because they’re usually made of waterproof but breathable material. As a result, your horse is protected from the chilling snow but he won't ever overheat. The fabric is lined with quilting to provide the additional warmth your horse needs.
Turnout rugs are a different item. They’re designed to sit high on the neck and run from the shoulder to the back. They often have a haunch that allows for easy movement. These horse rugs also sport belly, chest, and leg straps to help the blanket remain fastened on the horse.
Remember, always check if the material is breathable. Horses can sweat and overheat under a blanket that's completely vapor-proof.
Even within his stall, the temperatures can dip low, causing your horse discomfort. This is why wrapping them in a good stable blanket is essential. Stable blankets are designed to be worn by the horse indoors.
Compared to the turnout rugs, the stable blankets are reasonably lightweight. Their fabric isn't as dense, and its primary function is keeping the horse's coat clean. However, they have an insulated lining to also add much-needed warmth.
These blankets also usually feature chest straps (but leg straps) to prevent them from shifting.
Winter galloping can cause your horse to sweat, which can be cause discomfort, especially with a blanket on. Coolers to the rescue! They are made of breathable material to help wick away any sweat or moisture.
Coolers are usually either wool or fleece, which create warmth for the horse while also keeping him warm and dry.
Comfortable straps on coolers are essential since the horse will be moving around a lot. The ties are usually on the chest, belly, and hind quarters, for adequate fastening of the coolers on the horse.
Winter feeding in pastures will be chilly and possibly even rainy. Rain sheets are the perfect item to beat the chill in the cold rain and to prevent your horse catching a chill…or even a cold!
Rain sheets are made of material that's waterproof but lightweight. The inside is often lined with a thin cotton-like lining for warmth and comfort. As a result, your horse will maintain a dry and warm coat even in wet weather.
Always ensure the rain sheet has breathable material. Sweat trapped under a non-breathable rain sheet can cause skin irritations on your horse.
Remember not to use a rain sheet in cold weather. Although it blocks the wind and snow from getting to the horse, it also mats down the hair. Such action prevents piloerection of the coat that naturally keeps the horse warm.
The horse's larger muscles especially need warming up. A quarter sheet is essential to cover the horse's larger muscles because when changing blankets and taking your horse for a ride, the chilly air can cause him shock. Therefore, it's essential to help the horse warm up gradually by having a quarter sheet.
Quarter sheets cover the horse's lower back and hind, thus protecting the haunches.
How to Vet a Blanket
Not all blankets are the same. The old adage applies here: “You get what you pay for.”
Therefore, you'll need to find an option that's within your budget but still enough for your horse’s needs. Here are some tips on how to check to see if each blanket is right for your horse.
Evaluate the Durability
When you think of how much you want to spend, first ask yourself, "How long will the horse blanket last?" The longer you can use it, the more you get out of your investment. You want affordable…but durable. Durability measures how tough the blanket is.
The durability chart's scale starts from 210 Denier to 2100, describing the easiest and toughest fabric, respectively. It's recommended to go for a material that's 1200 denier or more for a truly durable horse blanket.
Check the Amount of Fill
The horse blanket's warmth level depends on its amount of fill. The higher the fill in grams, the warmer the blanket is.
- Light blankets – 100 to 150 grams
- Medium blankets – 200 to 250 grams
- Heavy blankets – above 300 grams
The amount of fill you get has to be adequate compared to the weather conditions. For instance, choose heavy blankets for low temperatures of below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ensure It's a Perfect Fit
Most horse enthusiasts are very particular about fitting their equestrian supplies. This extends to blankets. It’s very important to get a blanket that's a perfect fit.
Size matters! So you need to find a blanket that will cover your horse adequately but not be too big as to hinder their movement.
You Now Know What to Expect When Choosing Horse Blankets
A well-fitting, durable, warm blanket is the best way to show your horse how much you love and care about them during the cold winter months.
Aside from hundreds of horse blankets we offer online, we also boast a collection of the finest horse and equestrian products and equipment. We strive to deliver absolute quality on all items to ensure the best value for your money.
Check out our wide selection of horse blankets today!