All About Blanketing Your Horse!
Why: your horse's health and happiness can depend on being properly blanketed when the temperature gets too low. You want to keep your horse warm and dry! Get proactive about your horse's health by signing up for automatic horse blanketing alerts before the weather conditions get too cold for your horse!
Should I Blanket My Horse?
Because many people ride less when the temperatures get cold, it's easy to forget that your horse stil needs attention and management of their health. Horses can withstand cold temperatures better than we humans, espeically if they have access to a windproof shelter or stall. However when horses don't have access to good shelter, or if they have a short or clipped coat, or if the temperatures get very cold, or if there is a combination of freezing rain, cold temperatures, and wind, a blanket can be extremely beneficial for your horse's health and happiness!
Be aware that a blanket will compress your horse's hair, which can reduce the effectiveness of your horse's natural insulation. That's why it's important if your horse is blanketed for several days at at time, to periodically remove the blanket, and groom your horse in a dry sheltered area, helping to fluff their hair back up into a natural thickness, before putting the blanket back on them.
At What Temperature Should I Blanket My Horse?
A common question is when should I blanket my horse? The temperature when your horse may need a blanket will depend on several factors.
- Coat Length: If your horse has a clipped or naturally short coat it will need a blanket at a higher temperature than a horse with a full length winter coat.
- Body Condition: A thinner horse will need a blanket earlier than a horse with plenty of insulating fat.
- Age: The older your horse is, the harder time they will have with the cold, and the earlier they will need a blanket.
- Shelter: A horse with easy access to wind breaking shelter will avoid the windhchill factor which will effect a horse out in the pasture. The Chilly Pony alerts can be configured based on the basic temperature or the temperature with windchill factored in.
These are just high level guidelines, you should consider the factors above, and if you are unsure you can check with your vet as well:
|Long Coat||Clipped Coat|
|40-30 Degrees - Light Sheet||50-40 Degrees - Light Sheet|
|30-20 Degrees - Medium Blanket||40-30 Degrees - Medium Blanket|
|20 Degrees and Below - Heavy Blanket||30 Degrees and Below - Heavy Blanket|
Types of Horse Blankets
There is a wide selection of horse blankets. Winter horse blankets come in different weights, light weight (usually called a turnout sheet), medium weight blankets, and heavy weigh blankets. You should pick the correct blanket for the conditions. A lightweight blanket might be great for 30-40 degree temperatures, espeically if it is raining. But if the temperuratures get below zero, a heavy weight blanket will keep your horse warm! Depending on your local weather, you may want to have several blankets, of differnet weights, availble.
You should only buy blankets that are waterproof and breathable. It is important to keep your horse dry, which means waterproof protection from snow and rain and also to allow sweat to evaporate through the blanket. It can also be useful to have a backup blanket so if your blanket is wet with snow or rain, you can have a fresh dry blanket to put on your horse while the first blanket dries.
How to get the perfect fit for your horse blanket
Horse blankets come in sizes, typically a number of inches. The way to measure your horse is to take a flexible tape measure, cloth or paper) and measure from the center of your horse's chest back to where the buttock meets the tail.
You can check out this helpful video from SmartPak on how to measure your horse for a blanket:
Not all blankets will fit true to size, so its best to check reviews and ideally ensure there is a good exchange policy in case the blanket isn't the right size for your horse.