While I personally don’t blanket my horses, I would under specific circumstances—if I had an old horse and I couldn’t keep weight on him, for example, or any horse with medical problems.
My thanks to guest blogger William Healey, writing for Horse.com., for the following.
Blanket season is here again and choosing the right one can be a bit overwhelming. At Horse.com, we’ve put together a buying guide because we want to make the process less complicated by answering some of the more common questions about horse blankets.
Let’s start with these most frequently asked questions.
1. “What type of blanket should I buy?”
Deciding on whether you should purchase a stable blanket or a turnout sheet would truly depend on whether or not you need a waterproof blanket. Stable blankets are NOT waterproof, and are typically used when your horse is kept in the barn. They feature a center seam and rump darts that give it a contoured design. Full hoods are also available. Sold separately from the blanket purchase, they help provide complete coverage for horses that are usually body clipped. Popular stable blanket brands available at Horse.com include Big D® All American, Pro Equine® Relentless™ and Weaver® Profit™.
Turnout blankets and sheets are waterproof and can be found in two types available: Standard and Combo. Standard turnout blankets provide coverage from the withers to the tail. Combo or Detach-A-Neck blankets provide coverage from just behind the ears to the tail. The designs of a turnout blanket or sheet are more “drape” like and roomier, allowing for better coverage protection against the weather. Popular Turnout blanket brands Horse.com offers are Defender ®, WeatherBeeta®, Saxon®, Big D®, Professional’s Choice® and Weaver®.
2. “How do I know if the blanket will help keep my horse warm enough?”
The answer to this question is dependent on how much fill is in the blanket. This determines how warm the blanket should be. The fill can be either Polyfill or Fiberfill and is measured in grams. The higher the weight number, the warmer the blanket will be. Determining a desirable weight depends on your horse’s environment and the condition of your horse’s coat. Besides the climate, also keep in mind if your horse grows a light or heavy coat, is body clipped mid-winter, is turned out with or without shelter, or kept in a barn. These are all factors in determining which blanket fill to choose.
We’ve provided two charts for you to reference to help you determine what would fit your needs best.
Sheet – No fill Provides protection from the wind and rain
100 Gram Fill Light Warmth
150 Gram Fill Light/Medium Warmth
200 Gram Fill Medium Warmth
250 Gram Fill Medium/Heavy Warmth
300 Gram Fill Heavy Warmth
400 Gram Fill Extra Heavy Warmth
Temperature Horse with Natural Coat Horse that is Body Clipped
50-60 Degrees Sheet Light Blanket (100g)
40-50 Degrees Light Blanket (100g) Light/Medium Blanket (150g-250g)
30-40 Degrees Light/Medium Blanket (150g-250g) Medium/Heavy Blanket (200-300g)
20-30 Degrees Medium/Heavy Blanket (200-300g) Heavy(300-400g) or Medium (200-300g) with Blanket Liner
Below 20 Degrees Heavy (300-400g) Heavy (300-400g) with Blanket Liner
3. “How easily will my horse’s blanket rip?”
Well, we can’t always guarantee that your horse’s blanket won’t get caught on a board, or that one of its pasture friends won’t think of his new blanket as a chew toy. One thing to consider is the turnout blanket’s outer shell. Also known as “denier”, this strength is determined by the thread’s thickness; the higher the denier number is, the stronger the material strength will be.
210 Very Light Strength
420 Light Strength
600 Medium Strength
1200 Heavy Strength
1680 Extra Heavy Strength
2100 Super Heavy Strength
4. “How do I figure out which blanket size to order?”
To answer this question, you will need to measure your horse; this task is much easier when done with the help of a second person. You will also need a flexible tape measure, which helps you get the most accurate measurement possible. First, start by standing your horse as square as possible on a flat, even surface. Next, place the tape measure at the center of the horse’s chest, over the high point of the shoulder. With the tape measure held in place on the chest, run it alongside the horse’s body until you reach the rear of the hind leg. For the most accurate measurement, keep the tape as straight as possible along the side of the body without following the contours of the horse’s body. If the length falls on a size not offered by the blanket company, then simply round up to the next available size being offered.
5. “I received my blanket order from Horse.com, but how do I tell if it fits my horse properly?”
We recommend placing a thin, clean stable sheet on your horse to keep the blanket in new condition, just in case the fit isn’t just right. Now you’ll want to check if the blanket fits properly.
• First, place the blanket on the horse and fasten the chest straps so the fabric overlaps at the chest. It should be snug here, but not tight.
• Next, fasten the surcingles and adjust to fit loosely on the horse’s stomach with about four fingers width between belly and straps.
• Finally, fasten and adjust the leg straps so you can only fit a hand’s width between each leg strap on your horse’s thighs.
6. “The blanket looks like it fits, but I’m just not sure. Any suggestions?”
Once the blanket is on your horse, check the length and the fit on the front.
Length – To check the length, stand behind the horse and gently bring the two ends toward one another against the horse’s rump. Try not to pull the blanket out of place as you are doing this. If the ends meet on the horse’s tail, the blanket is too large. If you cannot bring them together at all or if you can see more than 2-3 inches of the horse’s rump on either side of the tail, then the blanket is too small. The end of the blanket should stop just above where the tail starts.
Width – The best way to check the fit of the blanket is to watch your horse walk while wearing it. As your horse is moving forward, observe the shoulders. If the blanket fabric pulls tightly against the shoulder to the point of possibly impeding movement, then the blanket is too snug. If the blanket drops very low at the shoulder or chest, then the neck opening and/or the blanket is too large.
7. “How do I clean my horse’s blanket?”
The best way to clean your horse’s blanket is to wash it with a mild detergent and then hang to dry.