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Tips for Horse

Tips for Horse: Choosing the Right Horse Blanket

What Type of Horse Blanket is Best for My Horse?

Horse Blankets come in three basic types: Turnout Blankets, Stable Blankets, and Sheets. There is no right or wrong blanket choice.  The ideal blanket for your horse will be based on the environment in which your horse lives, the types of weather you experience in your local area, and how much time you have to spend blanketing (and un-blanketing!) your horse.

  1. Stable BlanketsStable Blankets are designed to keep horses warm in a stall or stable situation.  If you live in a cold climate and your horse spends most of the time indoors, a stable blanket may be the best choice for you. Stable blankets are also a good choice for winter shipping, and are an excellent choice for body clipped horses that are stalled.  (Remember, in most climates, a body clipped horse should be kept covered) The important thing to remember about stable blankets is that they are generally NOT waterproof.  A stable blanket that is used outdoors in the rain can act like a sponge, soak up water, and actually make your horse colder.
  2. Turnout BlanketsTurnout Blankets are designed to withstand the rigors of  pasture turnout- both in terms of weather and horse play!  These hardy blankets are generally waterproof, breathable, and made of tough fabrics. If you can only have one blanket for your horse, a good turnout is probably the best choice.  Just because it is made to be used outdoors, doesn't mean it can't double as a stable blanket!
  3. Horse SheetsHorse Sheets are multi-purpose cover-ups that are used anytime you need lightweight coverage for you horse. Sheets can be used in the summer when you want to keep the dust off, or to prevent sun fading, or in a stall situation when you want your horse clean, but don't need the warmth of a stable blanket. If you show, a sheet is critical for keeping your horse clean and ready for the ring. Some sheets are hardy enough for turnout, but beware, many a horse owner has gone to catch up their horse to find them wearing the taters of a lovely sheet!   
What Weight of Horse Blanket Is Appropriate?

Turnout Blankets are generally available in three "weights" based on the amount of insulation ("fill") in the blanket : Light Weight Turnout (no fill)  Medium Weight Turnout (approximately 200grams of fill); and Heavy Weight Turnout  (300+ grams of fill ).

Stable Blankets are similarly categorized, although they will generally have higher "fill" weights, and much lighter exterior fabric: Light Weight Stable Blanket ; Medium Weight Stable Blanket; and Heavy Weight Stable Blanket.  Because Stable blankets do not have to be waterproof, you will also have a wider variety of insulation materials.  You will find everything from traditional wool blankets, to high tech fleece.     

How do you know what weight your horse needs?  Here are some basic guide lines for a horse with a moderate hair coat, and days without extreme winds or heavy precipitation:

Blanket Weight
Blanket Weight w/ Liner
35-50° F
Light Weight
25-35° F
Medium Weight
Light Weight w/ Liner
10-25° F
Heavy Weight
Medium Weight w/ Liner
Below 10° F
Heavy Weight plus Stable Blanket

Remember, these are just guidelines!  Just like people, some horse tend to be hot and sweaty, and others need more covering.  Additionally, be aware of factors others than temperature.  A bright, sunny, but very cold day, may require less blanket than an overcast, wet day.  Use common sense! When in doubt, err on the side of under-blanketing.  Just like you, it is not a good idea for you horse to get sweaty under layers of heavy blanket. 

Do you live in an area with wide temperature swings?  Try a blanket that has optional liners.  These ingenious systems combine Turnout Blankets with fitted liners of varying weights.  This allows you to change out the liner based on the temperature.  Additional, these combos are generally much easier and faster to change than completely swapping blankets.  If you swap blankets on a lot of horse daily, a liner system may be the best option.


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