Blanketing Tips for Your Horse
Blankets are primarily used to shield horses from varying weather conditions and climates. Providing your horse with the best fit, comfort and protection is vital to your peace of mind. The right blanket choice will help to regulate your horse’s body temperature and maintain a healthy condition.
There are 5 main types of blankets:
1. Turnout Blankets and Sheets
Using a turnout blanket or sheet will help protect your horse from harsh weather conditions such as cold, rain, wind and snow, keeping him warm and dry. There are various levels of protection and warmth available in turnout blankets, and you should consider you horse’s living and grazing conditions, the outdoor temperature, your clipping routine, weight, age and exercise level before purchasing a blanket.
2. Stable Blankets
Horses who are clipped and living indoors will benefit from a stable blanket that will provide warmth because he is unable to move around freely to generate his own body heat during colder months. Lighter weight stable blankets can also be used to help keep horses clean who mainly live inside.
3. Mesh Sheets
Mesh sheets will help prevent horses from becoming irritated by flies and midges in the summer months when they are spending more time outdoors, allowing them to relax and enjoy their grazing. These are essential for horses who are allergic to insect bites.
4. Summer Sheets
Horses that are turned out in warmer weather will benefit from a summer sheet with ultraviolet protection. With a high cotton content, they are more naturally breathable to keep your horse cool in the sun and they also help to prevent coat fading, keeping your horse clean and dust free.
Generally made from wool or fleece, coolers are used after exercise, typically in colder weather, to help regulate your horse’s body temperature and prevent it from dropping too rapidly while he is cooling down.
WHICH BLANKET SHOULD I USE?
One of the most frequently asked questions has to do with blanket weight. More specifically, horse owners want to know which weight blanket to use for certain temperatures. This is a tough question to answer because every horse is different, Weatherbeeta has put together a chart to serve as a starting point.
Keep in mind that this list does not take into consideration wind chill or precipitation, so you will need to factor those in to your decision. This is particularly important for horses who are clipped and/or live outside.
In general, you want to keep your horse warm, but you don’t want him to sweat. It’s healthier for him to be a little cold than too hot because the evaporating sweat can make your horse even colder.