Understanding Horse Blankets
What are Horse Turnout Blankets and Sheets?
Horse turnout blankets and sheets are essential pieces of horse clothing that provide protection and warmth during cold weather. They are designed to be worn outdoors and are made from durable, waterproof materials to keep horses dry and comfortable.
When Should You Blanket Your Horse?
Blanketing your horse depends on various factors such as the horse's age, breed, health, and the weather conditions. In general, horses with a thick winter coat can handle colder temperatures without a blanket, while horses with a thin coat or clipped hair may require extra protection.
As a rule of thumb, consider blanketing your horse when the temperature drops below 40°F (4°C) or during wet and windy conditions. However, it's important to monitor your horse's body condition and behavior to determine if they need additional warmth.
Choosing the Right Weight
Horse blankets and sheets come in different weights, measured in grams of insulation. The weight you choose depends on the climate and the horse's individual needs.
For mild weather or horses with a thick coat, a lightweight turnout sheet (0-100 grams) is usually sufficient. In colder temperatures, a medium-weight blanket (200-300 grams) provides more warmth. In extremely cold climates, a heavyweight blanket (300-400 grams or more) is recommended.
Types of Horse Blankets
There are several types of horse blankets available, each serving a specific purpose:
Turnout Blankets: These blankets are designed for outdoor use and provide protection against rain, snow, and wind. They are typically made with a waterproof and breathable outer shell.
Turnout Sheets: Similar to turnout blankets, turnout sheets are lightweight and provide protection against rain and wind. They are ideal for mild weather or as a layering option.
Fleece Coolers: Fleece coolers are used to help horses cool down after exercise by wicking away moisture and allowing air circulation. They are not designed for outdoor use or to provide warmth.
Stable Sheets and Blankets: Stable sheets and blankets are used indoors to keep horses clean and provide a light layer of warmth. They are not waterproof and should not be used for outdoor turnout.
Choosing the Best Blanket for Your Horse
When selecting a horse blanket, consider the following factors:
Fit: The blanket should fit well without rubbing or restricting the horse's movement. It should cover the horse's body from withers to tail and have adjustable straps for a secure fit.
Material: Look for blankets made from durable, waterproof materials that are also breathable to prevent sweating and overheating.
Features: Consider additional features such as shoulder gussets for freedom of movement, tail flaps for extra coverage, and reflective strips for visibility.
Budget: Set a budget and choose a blanket that offers the best combination of quality and affordability.
Remember, each horse is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It's important to assess your horse's individual needs and consult with a knowledgeable professional to determine the best blanket for your horse.
By understanding when to blanket, what weight to use, and which blanket is best for your horse, you can ensure their comfort and well-being during colder weather conditions.