Sunday, February 15, 2015

Warmth in a Winter Wonderland - Blanketing

There are a lot of differing opinions in the horse industry when it comes to blanketing horses. Some groups believe that a horse is perfectly fine in their own winter coat as long as they have a form of wind break and shelter wherever they may be....

Photo via Wikipedia
..... while other groups believe that a horse should be blanketed in order to be better protected from the harsh winds and cold winters ... especially if they are clipped during the winter.
Photo via Statelinetack
Most of what a person believes depends on a compilation of factors such as how the person is educated, what their horse's needs are and where they live.  But whatever your belief may be, this winter has been gosh darn cold, icy, windy, and just plain miserable thus far.

So, if you decide to blanket your horse, you have a few options available to you:

First off, you'll need to measure your horse for the blanket. In order to measure for the size of the blanket you need, take a measuring tape (or a piece of yarn) and measure from the center of the chest to the tail, moving the tape around the length of the mid section, like below.
Follow the Red Line to Measure
Then you will get to pick out what you want... (shopping time!! Yay)

Sheet: Usually lightweight or just a shell to protect from wind or rain
Blanket: Usually thicker than a sheet to provide more warmth
Turnout: Has a protective covering on the outside to prevent rain and moisture from penetrating the lower layers
Stable: Does not have a protective outer layer, so is best used under a a turnout sheet or blanket

I have found through trial and error that it is usually best to have a couple turnouts, blankets and sheets of varying weights/ fill so as to better prepare for the weather and outfit your horse. You can always add or remove items to increase or decrease the heat level. I've also learned (via frustration and hand signals trial and error) to make sure that all turnouts are at least 1200 deniers especially if your horse has friends that play tug-o-blanket or other fun activities. We all know that horses like to get into trouble. Heck, if you looked in the dictionary, you'd find a picture of a horse with a mischievous look on his or her face. You know the look I'm talking about.

Anyways, there is an awesome guide in the form of tables, charts and frequently asked questions on in regards to weather temperatures, fill weights, deniers, etc that I love to review from time to time. You can find it here:'s Guide to Blanketing

What do you put on or not put on your horse during the winter months? Do you have any advice for new horse owners out there that are going through their first winter?

Stay warm!
~The Equus Ally

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