Blanketing a horse is necessary to reduce the effects of cold and inclement weather when. There is no shelter available during turnout periods and the temperatures drop below 5 degrees F, or the wind chill is below 5 degrees F.
When should your horse wear a blanket?
- Watch your horses. If they are shivering, or standing hunched and uncomfortable looking it may be time for a blanket. If they are hard to keep in good condition during cold weather, a blanket in addition to extra food might help.
What temperature does a horse need a blanket?
If it’s 40 degrees, your horse probably only needs a lightweight blanket. If it’s 10 degrees below zero, he might prefer a heavyweight blanket. Sweating in a blanket on a hot day can be just as problematic as wearing a non-waterproof blanket in wet weather. Remove your horse’s blanket and groom on a regular basis.
What temperature is too cold for horses?
In the absence of wind and moisture, horses tolerate temperatures at or slightly below 0° F. If horses have access to a shelter, they can tolerate temperatures as low as -40° F. But horses are most comfortable at temperatures between 18° and 59° F, depending on their hair coat. What size shelter do you need?
Should you blanket a horse?
You’ll probably need a waterproof blanket unless your horse uses a shed consistently. They need to have water, and plenty of it. Age matters – your horse may need a blanket if they’re very young or very old. The very young and the very old may require blanketing to help them maintain their body condition.
How do I know if my horse is warm enough?
Place your hand up under the horse’s rug and feel his shoulders and chest area you can get a quick indication of body warmth. Many people recommend feeling behind the ears or if the horse is wet check around the horse’s kidneys. A horse’s kidneys are on either side of her back, behind where a saddle would be placed.
What is a horse blanket schedule?
In project management, a time–distance diagram (also called time-chainage diagram, time–distance chart, time-chainage chart, time–location diagram, time-location chart, March chart, location–time chart, orthogonal diagram, line of balance chart, linear schedule or horse blanket diagram), is a method of graphically
Do horses shiver when cold?
Shivering is a sure sign that your horse is cold. Reflexive contractions of the muscles, shivering helps the body keep warm but at great metabolic cost. If you find a horse shivering, immediately help him warm up with a blanket or shelter.
What happens when a horse gets too cold?
Horses who are cold tend to huddle up in a sheltered place and may not be willing to go out into the pasture area even to eat hay to keep warm. They may really crave their stalls. They may shiver.
Can horses be out in the rain?
A horse who kicks the walls until he’s damaged a leg is no better off than a wet horse out in the rain. A gentle or even a steady rainfall likely won’t jeopardize a horse’s health. A cold rainfall would probably call for at least a run-in shed. A chance for severe lightning or winds could be life-threatening.
Do horses get cold?
Horses are mammals and they will inevitably get cold just like the rest of us in harsh winter weather. But you don’t need to keep your horse inside all winter; horses are able to withstand colder temperatures thanks to their hardy natures.
When should you use a rain sheet on a horse?
As a general guide at Schneiders, we recommend using a waterproof turnout sheet with no insulation when the temperature is between 50°F – 65°F if your horse is clipped, or as needed if they have a full coat, to at least protect from the wind and rain during poor conditions. This will keep your horse dry and warm.
Do horses get lonely?
Horses are known to be social creatures – herd animals by nature that thrive on a group dynamic. While there are varying degrees of friendship needs, from a large field with several herd members to a trio or even just a pair, horses that are on their own, by contrast, can get lonely.
Do horses get cold in the rain?
“If a horse’s coat gets wet in rain or snow, it can dramatically chill them. You may need to bring them inside a barn to dry and warm up,” Coleman said. Horses are very resilient and tolerant to the cold. They can withstand air temperatures down to around 13 degrees Fahrenheit.
Horse Blanketing FAQs – The Horse
The principle is straightforward: if your horse is chilly, cover him with a blanket. Take it off when he is no longer chilly. But, short of observing him shivering in his bell boots, how can you tell if he’s feeling chilly at all? In such case, what kind of blanket does he require? Is it going to leave rub marks? Blanketing does not have to be a difficult task. According to two Extension experts who work as horse owners’ educators for a living. They’ll address your most frequently asked inquiries about equestrian clothing right here.
Does my horse need a blanket this winter?
In a nutshell, the answer is probably no. Horses’ bodies are extremely well-adapted to withstand even the most extreme temperatures. You’ll notice that their coats begin to alter and grow as the days go shorter and the nights become cooler, which normally happens around September. In addition to being temperature-dependent, Bob Coleman, MS, PhD, a former resident of Alberta, Canada, is now an associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. “Changes in the hair coat are as much light-dependent as they are temperature-dependent,” he says.
Waite is a graduate of Michigan State University’s Department of Animal Sciences.
But what if my horse is body-clipped?
If you ride your horse sufficiently throughout the winter to merit trace or body clipping, you should consider providing him with some form of weather protection. “Even if they’re inside, if it’s cold in the barn and they’re not moving around much, it might be beneficial to provide them with a little protection to keep the body heat they’re generating in,” says Coleman. “It might be beneficial to give them a little protection to keep the body heat they’re generating in.” When temperatures begin to rise into the 40s, cover your body-clipped horse with a light or midweight blanket, and when temps fall below freezing, switch to a thicker blanket for further warmth.
What do you mean by light-,mid-, or heavyweight?
This is one of the reasons why our horses frequently have wardrobes that are on par with our own. Warmth and management aspects are taken into consideration when blanket producers describe their products as light, mid, or heavyweight. This allows them to cater to a wide variety of temperatures and conditions. The bigger (heavier) the fill weight of a blanket, according to Waite, the warmer the blanket will be. “Knowing which blanket to use will depend on your horse’s coat and condition, the surroundings, and how they are maintained (whether they are kept indoors or outside, for example).” Fortunately, blanket manufacturers typically give advice on which of their blankets should be used in specific scenarios, so be sure to inquire about these when you’re shopping for a new blanket.
What size blanket does myhorse need?
The answer to this question is a little clearer cut than the last one. According to Waite, the best way to determine the blanket size for your horse is to position him square and insert a measuring tape in the center of his chest, just below the point where the neck joins the body. Make sure you have a helper to draw the tape around the horse’s chest and largest section of its shoulder, as well as down the side of the horse’s body to the point of the buttocks, which should be approximately 10 inches below the tailhead, according to the author.
(Coleman recommends purchasing a long tape measure that will run the whole length of your horse from a fabric or hardware store.) Despite the fact that “blanket sizes are normally quite uniform,” Waite points out that there may be subtle variations across brands.
According to Coleman, while fitting a blanket, make sure any leg straps are tight and teach your horse to wear the blanket in his stall before letting him out in it.
How do I know if my horse is getting too warm under his blanket?
If your horse begins to perspire under his blanket, he is likely to be overheated. However, this is not always visible, so be on the lookout for subtle symptoms. Equine natural tendencies on chilly days, for example, are to migrate toward the sun. This approach for warming up the horse is successful enough that you may detect steam pouring from the front of the blanket or around the horse’s withers as a result of using it. Coleman explains that in certain instances, the temperature is becoming too high, and that it is not always the additional heat that is the problem, but rather the moisture.
“Once the sun sets, they’ll be wet and chilly, and they’ll begin to shiver,” Coleman explains.
Blanketing Cheat Sheet
When making blanketing decisions, keep this guidance as a reference in mind. The thickness of your horse’s clipped or unclipped coat, whether he’s turned out or stabled, the amount of precipitation or wind, as well as his age and health state, all influence which blanket, if any, you pick.
|Above 50° F||no blanket||no blanket or just a sheet|
|40-50° F||no blanket||sheet or lightweight|
|30-40° F||no blanket, or only a lightweight||mid- to heavyweight|
|20-30° F||no blanket, or a light- to midweight||heavyweight|
|10-20° F||mid- to heavyweight||heavyweight plus a sheet or liner|
|Below 10° F||heavyweight||heavyweight plus a sheet or liner or neck cover|
Will blanketing my horse one winter prevent him from growing a good coat the next?
Nope. Several of our sources concur that this old wives’ tale has no basis in fact. The change in seasons and shorter days lead your horse’s body to begin preparing for the colder months ahead, just as it does every year on the same day.
According to Coleman, “I’ve seen a number of horses who have had blankets on, and when you send them out (the next winter), they morph into Thelwell ponies, who are as happy as they possibly can be.”
My horse is moving to a different climate mid-winter; what do I do?
“Horses that do not have winter coats should be blanketed and hooded and closely monitored for shivering, weight loss, and other symptoms,” says Waite. “If a mid-winter move north occurs, horses that do not have winter coats should be blanketed and hooded and closely monitored for shivering, weight loss, and other symptoms.” According to Coleman, “These horses will be particularly vulnerable to cold and will require suitable shelter, especially the first year.” If you’re traveling to a colder climate, he recommends investing in a blanket that has a greater insulation value.
On the other hand, “if we’re traveling from Canada to Florida in December, the horse could have a little bit of a hair coat,” he explains.
“The good news is that horses adjust pretty rapidly,” Coleman says.
Does a foal born in winter need a blanket?
Whether or whether a February foal requires a blanket is determined on his surroundings. For example, Coleman advises against rushing out to get a blanket for the newborn foal, who should be kept in a well-bedded stable shielded from the wind. “If they are in a warm barn, they may not require a blanket, but more often than not, foals born in the winter may benefit from blankets in order to keep their body heat,” adds Waite. “If they are in a heated barn, they may not require a blanket.” Horses born in the winter in northern countries are normally kept indoors and turned out for brief periods of time, usually covered with a blanket,” explains the author.
Does my senior horse need a blanket?
Some of the physiological changes that horses go through as they age can lead some horseowners to cover their animals. Many people no longer have the muscular mass and fat storage that they had in their prime, and as a result, their body condition score declines. Coleman recommends blanketing older horses that have scores lower than 5, particularly to keep them protected from the elements, such as the wind. His explanation: “Those horses who are a bit slimmer are going to grow a significantly different hair coat.” “It’ll be lengthier and a touch rougher, but it won’t be much thicker,” says the author.
How do I prevent those ugly rub marks?
Purchase a blanket that is the proper size! Measure your horse according to the instructions on the preceding page to check that his blanket fits properly and make any necessary alterations. As Waite points out, “blanket liners and shoulder protectors will also aid in preventing this problem.” It should be simple to slip your hand beneath the blanket and up your shoulder. ” “If it pinches or is too tight in here or any other region, friction may result.”
According to what has been discovered, blanketing involves a significant amount of responsibility. As Waite explains, “it’s not as simple as just blanketing your horses and having them go free.” The blankets must be kept dry at all times, and they must be changed when they become damp. They must also be checked on a daily basis. “We throw blankets on, don’t check to see if they fit properly, don’t check to see if they’re keeping dry, and then we wonder why they don’t function,” Coleman continues.
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To Blanket or Not to Blanket Your Horse
Winter is arrived! Most of the nation has short days and long, chilly nights throughout the winter months. When it comes to managing our horses in cooler weather, the subject of whether or not to cover your horse arises. The simple answer is “no,” but let’s take a closer look at why this is the case and under what conditions blanketing could be preferable or even required in some cases. How a horse stays warm is as follows: When it comes to remaining warm, horses have developed quite effective methods, even in extremely low conditions.
- In addition to protecting the soft hairs from dirt and water, the guard hairs also help to absorb moisture from perspiration that could otherwise harm the undercoat and cause it to mat.
- Water-resistant hair is made possible by the production of natural oils that coat the hair shaft.
- This muscle permits the hairs to either raised up or laid flat depending on the situation.
- When they lie down, heated air is expelled from between them, allowing the region above the surface of the skin to be cooled more effectively.
- Horses in most regions of the United States will begin to develop their heavy winter coats around the end of August, depending on the region.
- The climate in which they dwell has an impact on how thick their coat will become.
- What function does diet play in this process?
During the colder months, it is especially important to pay attention to your nutrition.
The fermentation of hay in the horse’s hindgut results in an enormous quantity of heat being produced.
And what about that sudden burst of craziness as he ran around the pasture?
What is the maximum amount of cold that a horse can tolerate?
Certain environmental factors, on the other hand, might affect your horse’s capacity to remain warm.
Rain will flatten the hair coat, preventing the undercoat from producing the layer of warm air that is necessary for warmth.
The heated air from the skin’s surface will be blown away by the wind. Snow is less of a concern than in the past. As a matter of fact, snow will accumulate on your horse’s coat, acting as an additional layer of insulation. When is it not necessary to blanket my horse?
- As long as he is wearing a natural winter coat
- When he is in excellent health and has a healthy body weight
- When the weather is not too windy or rainy
- If the temperature is higher than 5 degrees Fahrenheit
When do I need to cover my horse and how long does it take?
- He will be cut for the winter
- He will be unwell or injured
- He will be cropped for the winter In the event that he is underweight (or any other “hard keeper”)
- In his latter years, if he has weight concerns or has difficulties moving about
- When he has just been relocated to a colder location (a horse’s acclimatization to a new environment will take 10-21 days
- Expect it to take a horse 10-21 days)
- When it is windy, rainy, or a combination of the two
- When there isn’t anywhere to take refuge
Here are a few general principles to follow:
- Horses with body clipping: Begin blanketing when the temperature drops below 60°F, or if it rains or is windy. Starting blanketing your moderate hair coat horses when the temperature drops below 40°F is a good rule of thumb. Horses with a thick coat of hair: Begin blanketing them when the temperature drops below 30°F.
Always remember that most horses with a natural hair coat will be OK without blankets as long as there is no wind or rain to contend with. Important! Keeping in mind that there are occasions when blanketing is worse than not blanketing is critical to maintaining a positive attitude. A blanket will cause your horse’s hair coat to lie flat, so eliminating the insulating layer of heated air that has formed on top of it. If the quantity of insulation provided by the blanket is less than the amount of insulation provided by your horse’s natural coat, he will become chilly.
- – Your horse will become chilled if his blanket is damp.
- Check the temperature of your horse’s blankets with your touch to make sure he is not becoming too hot.
- How to properly cover a bed: It is critical to ensure that your horse is properly fitted in order to keep him warm and safe.
- It is possible that you may need to test many different designs of blanket before you discover one that suits your horse well.
- Undergarments with a smooth finish are available to assist with this.
- Remove your horse’s blanket on a regular basis to ensure that any rubs have not grown into sores or that he has not acquired rain rot beneath his blanket.
- Designed to stay in place while your horse runs and rolls, these blankets are waterproof and typically made of stronger fabrics to resist herd turnout conditions.
- A blanket that is too tiny might result in pressure sores and will not provide enough warmth for the patient.
- Equestrian Collections is a trademark that was registered in 2011.
- Hyman, VMD, DACVIM, CVA is the author.
In particular, all horse owners should obtain medical advice and treatment from a registered veterinarian, such as TEVA, for the management of their horses’ medical needs and conditions.
Should I Blanket My Horse in the Winter? — Irongate Equine Clinic
The maximum temperature in Madison, WI today is -4°F, and the temperature feels like -23°F right now, and we’re all suffering because of it! Because we’re all concerned about our horses’ well-being while they’re out in the cold, we’ve gathered to discuss the ever-present blanketing issue with you. “Should I cover my horse with a blanket during the winter?” Watch Dr. Lisa Nesson’s presentation, or read on for more information.
What About the Hair Coat?
If you’ve allowed your horse to develop a full winter coat, that coat will be more than capable of keeping them warm, providing you’ve met a few conditions, of course. Full-length hair coats are extremely insulating, provided that the hair is allowed to stand up. If it’s pouring outside, the moist weather will flatten the hair coat, destroying its insulating properties and rendering it useless. This means you’ll need to make sure you have a high-quality, water-resistant winter blanket or a shelter for your horse to stand under in this situation.
You shouldn’t simply throw a light blanket over them; you should go the whole hog and use a fully certified winter blanket, have many blankets accessible for different temps, or allow them grow out a hair coat to keep them warm.
Prerequisites to NOT Blanketing
A large number of prudent horse owners have content horses who do not require blankets. However, there are several conditions to using this method.
- Your horse will benefit from a thick winter hair coat. For further information on why, see the section above. Outside, your horse should be protected by some type of shelter. A three-sided shed is more than sufficient. Use of a windbreak, whether in the shape of a wall or a line of trees, may be possible. Three-sided sheds should be south-facing and large enough to accommodate all horses entering and exiting the shed. Do you think it’s going to rain or sleet this weekend? If this is the case, the rain will soak through the horse’s hair coat. Because it is laid flat, the coat’s insulation is no longer effective against the elements. In the absence of a constant usage of a shed, you’ll most likely need a waterproof blanket
- Horses want access to water, and they require lots of it. He or she must be able to get to it
- It cannot be frozen and must be easily available. Last but not least, that last sentence is quite significant! You may have water accessible, but if there is an ice rink surrounding your water bucket, your horses may refuse to drink because they do not want to risk crossing the ice to get to the water. Maintaining a safe access to the water by limiting excessive spillage in higher temps is essential. They also require a plentiful supply of food. Your feed can be in the shape of long stem hay or hay cubes, or it can be derived from a variety of alternative forage sources, but it must be readily accessible. If you want to learn more about why fodder is so crucial in the winter, you may read what Dr. Howard Ketover has to say about feeding your horse in the winter (hint: it’s what keeps them warm). Depending on how old or young your horse is, they may require a blanket to keep them warm. Those who are really young or elderly may require blanketing in order to preserve their bodily condition
- Your horse’s well-being is essential. Because blanketing your horse might help them preserve their energy for other purposes such as maintaining their body condition rather than getting warm, it is recommended if your horse has been unwell or is already in poor body condition.
Now that you’ve determined that your horse does, in fact, require a blanket, you must make certain that you get the proper blanket. Here are some general guidelines:
- If possible, it should be well-fitting so that it does not rub against the withers or the shoulders. The blanketstraps should be fitted tightly to their bodies so that they do not get their legs tangled in the blanketstraps and that the blanket does not slip and scrape against their bodies. It must be assessed according to the weather conditions under which they are turned out. If they’re designed for cooler temperatures, they may become overheated and begin to sweat. A blanket that isn’t heavy enough for the cold temperature in which they’re living may cause their hair coat to fall out, and this will most likely do more harm than good in terms of insulating them against the elements. For the fall and winter seasons, you may find that you need more than one blanket to cover yourself with. It is recommended that if your horse is out in the rain or sleet, they be wrapped in a water-resistant blanket. It might be a waterproof sheet that is draped over a thicker blanket, or it could be a water resistant blanket that is used in the shower. As previously said, if they become soaked through the blanket, they will lose the insulating properties of the blanket, as well as the hair coat
- Every couple of days, the blanket should be examined for damage and removed. You’ll need to do this to ensure that the blanket is still fitting properly and to examine the horse’s body condition under the cover to ensure that they haven’t lost too much weight as a result of the cold weather.
- A winter coat is not necessary if you have an adult horse with a full winter coat, appropriate shelters, water, and food, and is in good health and physical shape
- But, if you do not have an adult horse, you should consider getting one. Make certain that your horse’s blanket is well-fitting, correctly placed on, waterproof in the rain, and rated for the weather if you wish to blanket him. Every few days, take the blanket off your horse to check on him.
Remember that every horse is different, so if you have any doubts, you should consult with your veterinarian to establish whether or not they should be blanketed. Please contact Irongate Equine Clinic if you have any particular queries, and we would be happy to assist you!
When to Blanket a Horse
It’s that time of year again when the weather becomes chilly, the leaves begin to fall, and your horses begin to appear a bit more fuzzy than usual. It’s time to get out the blankets! Making the decision about whether or not to blanket your pet might be a difficult one, but we are here to assist you in making that decision a bit simpler. Throughout this post, we’ll go over the factors that have an impact on your horse’s particular requirements, which will help you select what sort of blanket to use and when to begin using it.
Why do Horses Grow a Winter Coat?
Equine winter coats are naturally produced in response to the shorterening of the days. In response to the declining daylight, an innate trigger deep within the horse’s brain fires, sending signals throughout the body to prepare for the upcoming season. During the middle to late months of August, following a couple of months of decreasing daylight hours, the horse’s winter coat begins to show through. Around the same time, the summer coat begins to shed, with the most significant shedding occurring around the month of October.
A horse’s winter coat is made up of a variety of hair lengths, including short, fine hairs and lengthy “guard” hairs, which are used to protect the horse from the elements.
The qualities of a horse’s winter coat are influenced by the local temperature, hence horses living in southern regions have shorter winter coats than horses living in northern parts.
Will Blanketing Prevent a Horse’s Hair from Growing?
Even though blanketing will not prevent the growth of your horse’s winter coat, blanketing will cause the hair to grow shorter as a result of the warmer climate provided by the blanket. When the horse’s body is continually covered, the horse’s physiology believes it is in a warm mini-climate, even if it is actually in freezing cold outside. Blanketing also helps to smooth the hairs, giving the coat a sleeker look as compared to a naturally unkempt coat during the winter. If you want to keep your horse’s coat as short and smooth as possible, try using a blanket with a neck cover.
If you blanket your horse one year and not the following, you will have no effect on the growth of their natural winter coat.
When do Horses Need Blankets?
Making a decision on what weight blanket to use for your horse may appear to be a difficult undertaking; nevertheless, it is vital to realize that a horse’s coat is naturally designed to survive temperatures as low as 30 degrees if they are not properly clipped or trimmed. If you are unclear if blanketing your horse is the best option for you, we’ve included some things to think about in the section below.
To keep warm, horses that have had their guard hairs removed may require a blanket, depending on the type of body clip used. No: An unclipped horse may not require any blankets since they will be able to grow the appropriate hair coat to keep warm.
Q: Does the horse has access to shelter?
In some cases, horses that are housed in stalls or who have access to a shelter out in turnout may not require a blanket. No: Horses left outside in the elements, particularly in the cold wind and rain, may require a blanket to keep them warm and dry.
Q: Does the horse have a good body condition score?
The answer is yes: Horses who are simple to care often create enough energy to keep themselves warm throughout the cold season. No:Horses who are difficult to keep warm during the cooler months may require the added assistance of a blanket to keep themselves warm.
Q. Is the horse older?
Because horses age, they are less effective at processing their food, which limits the amount of heat their bodies create to keep themselves warm as they become older. It may be important to provide a blanket to a senior horse in order to keep them warm and prevent them from losing weight. It is possible that younger horses with a proper amount of food will generate enough internal body heat to avoid the requirement for a blanket to remain warm.
Q. Will the horse be blanketed consistently?
The answer is yes if your barn maintains a regular blanketing schedule or if you will be removing your horse’s blanket on a daily basis, blanketing is a good idea. When the temperature rises during the day, horses may need their blankets removed or at the very least replaced to a lighter blanket, depending on the circumstances.
No:If your horse’s blanket is unable to be removed during the warmest parts of the day, blanketing may not be an acceptable option for you. Using a blanket just seldom can result in greater pain than not using a blanket at all.
Q. Is the horse showing?
Yes:Show horses are often clipped in their whole or at the very least in a reduced clip. The trimmed horses will require blanketing, especially when the temperature drops below freezing point. Some competitive horses, even those who are not clipped, require blanketing to keep their coats smooth and shiny. These horses must be covered on a constant basis in order to maintain their hair shorter. The answer is no: Horses who do not compete during the winter months will be able to keep their full winter coat and will most likely not require blanketing.
Challenging Weather Conditions
There are specific weather circumstances that will make it difficult for your horse to maintain his or her body temperature. Rain and wind are the two most crucial components to keep your horse safe from during inclement weather. Cold wind creates the most suffering for your horse since it removes body heat from the animal more quickly than other winter circumstances do. The wind will blow the warm air away from the surface of the horse’s skin, making it difficult for the horse to maintain its temperature.
Snow is less of a concern since it will settle on your horse’s coat and function as an additional layer of insulation throughout the colder months.
Blanket WeightTemperature Chart:
We’ve produced a temperature chart guideline for you to follow while blanketing clipped and unclipped horses, which you can find below. When determining the appropriate blanket weight, take into account blanketing elements as well as your horse’s personal circumstances. The quantity of fill, or insulation, in a horse blanket is indicated by the weight of the blanket. There are three different fill weights to choose from: lightweight, medium, and heavy, with fill weights ranging from 0g to 450g.
- Lightweight: From 150g of insulation, there is no fill. When it rains, this is a fantastic alternative for keeping your horse dry and comfortable in warmer areas. Medium-weight insulation weighing between 180g and 250g. In colder areas, it provides both protection and warmth. Heavy Insulation: 275g to 450g of insulation per square meter. Extremely useful in extremely cold weather with temps below freezing
Blanketing a Clipped Horse
If you cut your horse’s hair, we recommend that you cover him or her since you will have eliminated the “guard” hairs that protect him or her from the cold, rain, and snow. The weight of the blanket used will vary depending on the particular horse, as some horses gallop hotter than others and some horses become cold more rapidly. Whether your horse is totally body clipped or has a reduced clip can also influence the weight of the optimal blanket. A mid-weight to a heavy-weight blanket will most likely be required for horses that have been fully body clipped, even if they reside in a protected location or in a climate where the temperatures are gentler.
Even if you have clipped a little strip down the horse’s sides, you will not need to blanket the horse with the same amount of weight as you would if you had cut a huge region across the horse’s neck, sides, belly, and shoulders.
We recommend that you use pajamas or a neck attachment to cover the areas around the horse’s face and neck that you have cut using clippers.
It is possible to layer your blankets in order to avoid over-blanketing your horse. In the event that the horse need a little extra insulation, a blanket liner or sheet can be worn under any weight of blanket to keep him warm. Liners are particularly advantageous in that they allow you to modify the “weight” of your blanket without having to purchase a new blanket entirely. In order to determine whether or not your horse is comfortable with the liner, place your palm below the layers and check to see if the horse is perspiring.
That means they have been sweating recently, but the perspiration has dried up.
This is something you should avoid at all costs since it will give your horse the chills.
Their needs will be communicated to you directly, and this is a much more dependable indicator than relying on the outside temperature.
Blanketing After Work
After a winter training session, it is critical that your horse be allowed to chill down properly to maintain their health. It is critical to gradually bring your horse’s body temperature back down to normal after it has worked up a sweat and raised its body temperature over usual. It is possible to dry your horse more quickly if you use a cooler or anti-sweat sheet made of moisture-wicking fabric, such as fleece. This will help your horse dry off more quickly. When you return from a ride, you may lay a cooler on your horse’s back and hand walk him until he cools.
- By rubbing the surfaces down with a cloth, you will also expedite the cleaning and disinfecting process.
- The amount of time it takes your horse to cool down will be determined by how sweaty he is, the length of his coat, and the temperature outdoors.
- Before re-blanketing them, check to see that they are completely dry and that their body temperature has returned to normal.
- Prepare for your cooldown in advance.
- The analogy here is that you are donning a jacket over your sweaty training clothing and stepping outside in the freezing cold.
When you have a good awareness of the issues that your equine partner must contend with throughout the winter months, blanketing your horse becomes a piece of cake to do.
We welcome any and all of your inquiries about blankets, as well as any assistance in selecting the best blanket for you. Please contact our friendly customer service staff at [email protected]rehouse.com or by calling 1-800-620-9145 for additional assistance.
Does My Horse Need A Blanket?: Debunking the 5 Biggest Myths About Blanketing Horses — Dr. Barbara Parks, PT, DPT, CERP: The Horse PT
The subject of when to blanket horses comes up every year around this time, and I get a lot of responses. Social media is awash with messages debating the issue in one direction or the other. Because your horse isn’t covered, a buddy at the barn accuses you of being a horrible horse parent or horse mom or dad. Someone else claims that blankets are unnatural and that horses should never be allowed to wear them. But, if I’m chilly, it’s safe to assume that my horse is as well. right? How are we expected to know what to do when there are so many strong ideas on both sides of the political spectrum?
Given the vast amount of misinformation that exists about horses, particularly regarding blanketing, I’ve decided to debunk 5 of the most common myths about blanketing horses in order to hopefully provide you with a little more clarity in order to help you make the best decision for you and your horse this winter.
Myth1: Horses need blankets to stay warm in the winter.
Reality: Most horses do not use blankets to keep warm, even in the most freezing of conditions. Some horses, on the other hand, are utterly reliant on a blanket to keep warm. Horses who are elderly, ill, wounded, or underweight are far more likely to require the additional insulation that a blanket offers. Horses that have had their hair clipped will also require blankets to compensate for the hair that has been gone. A horse that has just been imported from a warmer region may not be able to grow a thick enough coat and may require a blanket to keep warm.
If your horse has access to shelter and free choice hay, is eating and drinking properly, and is not shivering, it is unlikely that you will need to cover that horse during the colder winter months.
Myth2: If you’re cold, then your horse is cold.
Reality: Nothing could be further from the truth in this case. Horses develop thick winter coats to help them stay warm and comfortable throughout the chilly winter months. Horses, on the other hand, may get chilly! So, how do you figure it out? The ears, armpits, and area around the udder/sheath area of the horse are all places where some individuals will feel the horse to see if it is warm or cold. This is a useful strategy, but it is not without its flaws. When your hands are already chilly, a frigid horse may seem warm to you at other times as well.
Generally speaking, if the horse is standing with his tail tightly clasped and his abdominal muscles appear “sucked up,” he is most certainly chilled.
Checking the horse’s vitals is another approach to determine whether or not he is chilly.
Knowing what “normal” looks like for your horse is critical, which is why checking vital signs on a regular basis throughout the year is a good practice.
When the body temperature is between 98 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit, hypothermia begins to set in. If you have any reason to believe that your horse has acquired hypothermia, contact your veterinarian immediately!
Myth3: It’s better to throw the blanket on just in case – even if my horse might not really need it.
Reality: Providing a horse with an excessive amount of blanket that he does not require may be just as terrible as providing him with insufficient blanket. The blanketing of a horse is unnecessary since it prevents him from developing a thick winter coat, which makes it more difficult for him to cope with colder weather. If a horse begins to sweat under his blanket and the moisture is unable to drain, he may become significantly cooler than he would have been if the blanket had not been used at all.
Myth4: My horse needs a blanket if its snowing.
Horses really perform fairly well in the snow, despite popular belief. In the cold, their coats stand up on edge, creating an insulating barrier between their skin and the outer world. Snow will frequently accumulate on top of the horse’s mane and tail, trapping air between the horse and the snow and keeping the horse warm. Instead, when it is chilly and wet, horses are more likely to require additional blanketing to keep warm. Light rain will drain away from the surface in the same way as snow does.
When using blankets that are not waterproof, proceed with caution!
Myth5: If I blanket my horse, he won’t grow a winter coat
Actuality: He will, in fact, continue to grow a winter coat, but it will not be quite as long or thick as it would have been without the blanketing. Blanketing the horse will help compress the hairs, rather than letting them to stand up on end, which is beneficial for insulating purposes. It is possible that if the blanket is not sufficiently thick, the horse will become much colder. It can also create the idea that the horse has less of a winter coat than he actually has by making him appear to have less.
Wishing you all the best this winter and staying warm out there!
To Blanket or Not?
Horse owners all around the world begin an obsessive daily argument in the early fall, when temperatures begin to drop at night and we begin to dig out our own winter gear from storage. The question: Does my horse need a blanket today? is the topic of discussion. As a result of the different blanketing alternatives available and the multiple circumstances that influence this decision, you might easily drive yourself insane trying to decide when to blanket and which cover to use. Fortunately, there are some simple guidelines to follow.
Her strategy is to adhere to a few simple principles, establish flexible guidelines, and avoid overthinking the situation.
Unclipped Vs. Clipped
The amount of blanketing your horse requires is determined on whether or not he has been body clipped.
According to Max, the following are the best practices for the various situations:
- Unclipped: Horses who are healthy, in good condition, and who have not been clipped at all throughout the fall or winter do not require blanketing or other protection. This is due to the fact that they contain built-in insulation. When it’s chilly, their hair automatically puffs up, allowing them to retain more body heat. In damp conditions, “the rule goes out the window,” Max explains. The presence of a little rain or snow isn’t a major concern
- But, when precipitation saturates the coat, the horse’s hair cannot fluff up to keep him warm. If your unclipped horse’s coat is really dusty or mud-caked, he may struggle to remain warm, so be sure to groom him on a regular basis.
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- Trace-clipped: A trace clip is used to remove hair from the chest, abdomen, and lower regions of the neck and flanks, among other places. When ridden, this sort of clip prevents a horse from overheating, but it also allows some of his winter coat to remain to offer warmth when the horse is not active. As Max explains it, “for every layer you remove from your horse by cutting, you must put back on him by blanketing.” It is my opinion that it is a common misperception that a trace-clipped horse has a lot of hair. The neck, the stomach, and the shoulders are still key muscular areas that retain heat after all this time. “If that’s where you clip them, they have nothing to protect themselves from you.” She applies one fewer layer to a horse with a trace clip than she does to a horse with a full body clip
- Clipped to the body: A full clip removes all of the hair from a horse’s body, with the option of leaving the legs unclipped. Because of this procedure, the coat is no longer able to give warmth or protection. When the temperature drops below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, a sheet is at a bare minimum required.
A blanket collection may quickly become overwhelming and difficult to manage. Using only three items of horse apparel, Max attempts to keep things as simple as possible: a turnout sheet, a medium stable blanket, and a heavy turnout blanket. In addition to a medium stable blanket with a turnout sheet on top, a medium stable blanket with two belly straps to keep it in place works just as well in an emergency situation. Leg straps are useful for horses that are difficult to fit and who have blankets that tend to shift.
Also keep in mind that while stable bedding and turnout sheets are suitable for use both indoors and outdoors, turnout sheets and blankets are not waterproof and should only be used indoors unless they are covered with a waterproof coating.
When it comes to insulation, the more fill a blanket has, the more insulation it gives.
- Turnout sheet/light turnout blanket – a water-resistant covering that shields a horse from wind and rain while providing just a minimum amount of warmth. None–100g
- Fill: None–100g
- This non-waterproof blanket is intended for indoor usage only
- It will not protect a horse from rain, but it will give some warmth in the winter. 200g–280g of filling
- Medium turnout is a waterproof blanket that provides some warmth while also protecting a horse from the elements such as rain and wind. 200g–280g of filling
- Heavy turnout is a waterproof blanket that gives a great deal of warmth while also protecting a horse from the elements. Portion size: 300 to 400 g
courtesy of Frank Sorge/Arnd.nL
Weather Conditions and Environment
Remember to take into account your horse’s basic living circumstances when estimating how the weather will influence your blanketing decisions. Wind, for example, is not a worry for horses kept in a stable environment. Some barn doors may even be closed tightly, allowing the animals’ body heat to keep the barn warm and comfortable throughout the winter. Place one thermometer inside the barn and one outside the barn to calculate the temperature difference between the two. If you haven’t already, check them late at night or early in the morning.
In a pasture, do you have a shelter where your horse can get out of the wind, the rain, or even the snow when he’s out in the elements?
- Weather conditions get cooler as a result of the wind. Considering the wind-chill effect and blanketing your horse according to the “feels like” temperature is recommended if your horse does not have shelter in his field.
- Body-clipped horses left out in temps below 60 degrees should be covered with at least a turnout sheet or a light turnout blanket to protect themselves from the elements. A turnout sheet or light blanket is frequently placed on the unclipped horses as well if it’s anticipated to be below 55 degrees and raining for the most of the night, and the horses are left outdoors without access to shelter during that time. Keep in mind that wetness might make it feel colder, which can affect the “feels like” temperature calculation.
- In the event of freezing rain or sleet, it may be necessary to bring your horse indoors to keep him warm. It is difficult for horses to stay warm in this sort of weather, not only because it is extremely cold, but also because it might flatten or saturate their coats. You should evaluate the “feels like” temperature while deciding whether or not to turn him out. You should also provide him with some form of protection, such as a shed, grove of trees, or a blanket.
Too Hot or Too Cold?
As Max points out, “Just because you’re chilly does not imply that your horse is cold.” Okay, but how can you determine whether your horse is suffering from a cold? In this case, it indicates that he feels cold and is attempting to warm himself. Additionally, a shivering horse burns more calories, increasing the likelihood of weight loss. Another method of determining whether or not your horse is chilly is to gently touch his nose and ears with your bare hand. If they are chilly to the touch, it is likely that the rest of him is as well.
It is possible for your horse to become overheated when beneath his blanket, or he may become chilly if wet hair holds the moisture against his body for an extended period of time.
Simply lay your naked hand on his shoulder inside the blanket and close your eyes.
Remove his blanket or replace it with one that is of a lower weight—but only after he has had enough time to dry thoroughly.
It is preferable for him to be a bit cold for a short period of time than to be overly hot for an extended period of time. Turn him out in the clothing that he will be wearing for the bulk of the time.
Type of Horse
When it comes to blanketing considerations, the breed and kind of horse may play a role because certain horses are naturally hot or chilly. For example, Thoroughbreds tend to carry less body weight and grow less coat than heavier breeds, which means they are more susceptible to becoming chilly than larger breeds. There are, of course, exceptions to any rule. According to Max, it all comes down to the old adage of ‘know your horse.’ “I’ve tended after warmbloods who became cold and the other way around.
He usually had one less rug on his feet than the rest of the group.
“If I have a horse who runs chilly, I’ll put a therapeutic sheet underneath him because it leverages the horse’s own body heat to raise the heat in his muscles.” Photo courtesy of Amy K.
“Hay adds gasoline to the fire,” Max explains. A horse’s digestive system produces heat as it breaks down feed, which helps to keep him warm. Maintain a plentiful supply of high-quality hay throughout the winter, whether your horse is wearing a blanket or not, especially when grass is sparse or there is frost or snow on the ground.
Age and Health
Horses’ ability to keep themselves warm might be affected by their age. Older horses have a slower rate of digestion and may have a more difficult time maintaining their weight. Additionally, some horses may have less muscle and have a thinner winter coat, but this varies from horse to horse. “It can be more difficult for them to keep warm or to warm back up again as they become older,” Max explains. When it comes to health difficulties or “difficult keepers,” a horse that has a hard time retaining weight in winter may require assistance in getting warm by being indoors at night or during bad weather and donning a blanket to keep warm.
A horse that is 18 years old may be more susceptible to becoming chilly than a horse who is 25 years old.
Throughout the winter, keep an eye on any older horses to see if they are losing weight, changing in bodily condition, or showing indications of being cold.
A Good Fit
An ill-fitting blanket is not only unpleasant, but it also has a negative impact on the blanket’s ability to keep a horse comfortable. A blanket that is overly large might slip backward and slide sideways, exposing significant areas of the body and putting the wearer at risk of entanglement in the blanket. It is possible that a blanket that is too tiny would restrict his movement, create rubs, or even induce hair loss, and will not keep him very warm. “It’s nice to be able to draw a blanket forward just a little bit so that the horse may put his head down without suffocating himself.” Although it should cover the full hindquarters and top of the tail bone, Max recommends that it cover the complete hindquarters.
Follow the instructions for measuring each blanket.
It’s important to experiment with several sizes and brands until you discover one that works well for your horse.
It is also possible to prevent rubbing by wearing ashoulder guard (a lightweight, elastic, fitting garment). In its original form, this essay appeared in the October 2018 issue of Practical Horseman magazine.
When to Blanket a Horse: Ask the Expert
I’m a little perplexed about whether or not to cover my horse throughout the winter. In my childhood, horses were kept outdoors and unblanked throughout the winter months, which I found to be rather pleasant. The horses were provided with shelter. As of now, I’m boarding my horse, and everyone else at the stable covers their horses and thinks I’m insane for not doing so as well. While outside, the horse does have access to some form of shelter. Could you possibly provide me with some recommendations for blanketing over the winter?
When it comes to reducing the impacts of cold or inclement weather on a horse, blanketing is important in the following situations:
- When there is no cover available during turnout times and the temperatures drop below 5°F or the wind chill drops below 5°F, it is a dangerous situation. While snow is unlikely to cause problems, it is possible that the horse will become wet (this is more often with rain, freezing rain, and/or freezing rain during cold temperatures). The horse’s winter coat has been cut, and it is looking good. The horse is either really young or extremely elderly
- It is possible that the horse has not yet been adapted to the cold (for example, if it has recently been transported from a southern area)
- When a horse’s body condition score is 3 or less, it indicates that the horse is in good condition.
Because the days are getting shorter, a horse’s natural winter coat will continue to develop until December 22 (Winter Solstice). As the days become longer, horses begin to shed their winter coats and begin to grow their summer coats in their place. Blanketing a horse before December 22 will result in a reduction in the animal’s natural winter coat. Marcia Hathaway, PhD, is a professor at the University of Minnesota. This article, as well as others on horse nutrition, may be found at
Horse Blanketing 101 – Schneider’s Learning Center
Finding the right blanket for your horse may be a difficult task. There are a plethora of brands, styles, weights, and materials to choose from. How can you determine which denier is the most effective? Is it possible to determine which technique will work best for your horse without massaging their shoulders or withers? Over the course of more than seven decades, Schneiders Saddlery has outfitted horses and riders with their knowledge and high-quality products. With a large assortment of blankets, choosing the correct clothing for your horse is a snap!
When to Blanket Your Horse
The blanketing of your horse is a personal choice for each horse owner, as each horse is unique in his or her needs. Other horses may not require a blanket, and some owners want to allow their horses to be as natural as possible in their care. Horse blankets, on the other hand, are extremely useful for horses who compete year-round and need to maintain show-ring ready coats, horses who are body clipped, and horses who are kept in barns that do not provide adequate shelter from the weather during turnout.
- All blankets are available in a range of weights, which refer to the quantity of fill material that has been utilized as insulation.
- Perhaps you have a lightweight blanket with little substance for the summer and a larger comforter for the winter with a lot of fluff filling inside for the winter.
- A medium weight, sometimes known as a mid-weight, blanket contains between 200 and 300 grams of fill, whereas a heavy weight blanket has more than 380 grams of fill.
- This will keep your horse dry and toasty at the same time.
- When the temperature ranges between 35°F and 50°F for a clipped horse, or 30°F and 45°F for a full coat, a mid-weight (about 200–300 grams) is a decent choice for bedding.
For assistance in determining the appropriate blanket weight for your horse, use the handy chart below.
Stable Blankets vs. Turnout Blankets
We have divided our blankets into two main categories: stable blankets and turnout blankets, as you may have noticed. A stable blanket is exactly what it sounds like: a blanket that is intended for use in the barn and in your horse’s stall. Stable blankets do not provide waterproof protection in the outer layer and are not intended to be worn outside in any weather. Because they lack the additional benefits of a turnout blanket but still keep your horse warm and clean, stable blankets can help your horse retain a show-ring ready coat during the winter months.
- Also included will be a more robust cloth, which will be able to withstand rough terrain when your horse rolls as well as the occasional grab from a playmate’s teeth when necessary.
- They also have a longer drop, or length, on the sides of the horse’s blanket, as well as reflective fabric features to help make your horse more visible in the dark if they are turned out during the day or evening.
- Any perspiration or moisture produced beneath the blanket should be released through the blanket into the surrounding air as the horse maintains his body temperature.
- See what you can find out about the cutting-edge technical textiles that Schneiders uses in its blankets to deliver improved moisture wicking and odor control.
How to Measure a Horse for a Blanket
The most precise and straightforward method of determining the blanket size of your horse is to take a measurement along the side of their body, from chest to tail. To begin, position the horse squarely on a level surface. From the middle of the breast all the way back to the extreme border of the tail, take your measurements. Don’t forget to take measurements around the broadest area of their shoulder and hindquarters. Your horse’s height is determined by the number of inches measured in this manner.
How to Choose the Right Blanket to Fit Your Horse
Blankets are available in a variety of sizes and forms, much like horses. In addition, a well-fitting blanket will keep your horse warm, dry, comfortable, and free of rubs and scratches. The nicest thing about a blanket that fits properly is that it stays in place and in good form since your horse prefers to wear it rather than aggressively attempting to remove it from his or her body. With five different blanket fits, Schneiders is able to accommodate the widest possible variety of horses of all types and sizes – from Miniature horses and ponies to Large horses and draft horses.
- In order to minimize friction, there is no seam at the withers.
- The Contour collar Euro Fit blankets have a similar design to the Euro line, in that they totally embrace the shoulders and withers, but they do not have the additional features of the Euro line, such as combination neck coverings or a high neck design.
- As with our other Euro Fit blankets, the VTEK® has a comparable neck opening and wither area that is elevated and contoured to relieve strain.
- It is especially beneficial for horses with a prominent wither since it eliminates pressure points and friction on the withers.
- These blankets have a big neck opening and a sloping neck line, which allows them to cover the shoulders and withers all the way up to the beginning of the mane while leaving the mane exposed.
- The Cutback style is intended for Friesians, Saddlebreds, Tennessee Walkers, and certain Arabians, among other breeds.
With a large neck opening and a sloped neck line, the cut back area along the withers is ideal for horses with an upright head carriage.
Which Level of Durability Do I Need?
The amount of blanket durability you require is determined by the type of the horse and the environment in which the blanket will be utilized. It is the “denier” of a blanket that indicates its durability, which is measured by how much wear and tear it can withstand from your own horse, turnout mates, or simply general use on the outside of the blanket’s outer layer. Denier is an excellent indicator of how durable a blanket will be, as the greater the denier of a blanket is, in general, the more durable the fabric will be.
- ARMORFlex® Warrior waterproofing is 15 times greater than competitive brands, and it comes with a lifetime warranty, so you can be confident in complete protection.
- In the case of horses that are turned out in a herd but still play regularly, our ARMORFlex® Challenger range is sturdy enough to meet your requirements.
- Our StormShield® Contour collar Extreme line, which is protected by a 2-year guarantee, will likewise perform admirably in this circumstance; alternatively, our Dura-Tech® Viking Extreme line will perform admirably but will not be covered by a 2-year warranty.
- These blankets come with a one-year warranty and are built to last a long time with proper care.
- Because these blankets are used when the horse is alone in their stall, the durability of Stable Blankets is solely dependent on the personality of the horse in question.
- A more robust outer layer is used in the construction of our range of Stable Blankets, and it is guaranteed by our lifetime warranty.
- Neck Cover: A removable neck cover can provide additional protection from the elements during outdoor activities. A total of four carabiner clips are used to connect our turnout neck coverings. Front Closure: Closed Front blankets are designed to be slipped over the horse’s head
- Open Front blankets are more adaptable and are available in two styles: halter and halterless. Alternatively, Double Buckle has two basic buckles, and Double Snap has buckled adjustments with quick on-off snaps. D-Rings: The D-rings around the neck of our blankets are designed to be used in conjunction with the blanket’s matching neck cover. In order to avoid friction, the shoulder gusset should allow for greater flexibility of movement for the shoulder. Make your blanket’s neck opening adjustable to accommodate any width horse with the Adjusta-Fit® system. While our blankets’ drops are rated according to the size blanket, our blanket may be worn over a variety of drop lengths to meet your horse’s form. Wrapping the blanket over your belly provides additional warmth and coverage, while our Surcingle fastening holds the blanket in place more securely. Tail Cover: The tail covers on our turnout blankets provide additional protection from the wind and rain at the back of the blanket and are either stitched on or removable.
How to Safely put on and take off a Horse Blanket
If your horse escapes or spooks while you are dressing him, a half-fastened blanket is less likely to cause harm if the front of the blanket is fastened. This is because horses generally bolt forward, and the front closure will prevent the blanket from flapping up and gathering in front of the horse’s hind legs, further scaring the horse by acting as a bucking strap, resulting in further injury. To ensure the safety of your horse blanket, it is always best to tighten all of the fasteners from front to back.
- Blankets are offered in two different front designs: closed front and open front.
- When clothing a horse with a closed front blanket, the neck-hole must be slid over the horse’s head, making them ideal for calm horses who are not too tall.
- Blankets with an open front include a series of buckles or clips at the chest that may be opened to allow dressing.
- Depending on the model, Schneiders blankets may be ordered with either bellyband closures for added warmth or surcingle straps to prevent the blanket from twisting when the horse rolls or plays in turnout.
- Leg straps are also included in most blankets to prevent the blanket from blowing around on windy days and to assist in keeping the blanket in place while the horse is playing or rolling around in it.
Leg straps should be hooked around each leg but linked via each other between the rear legs, and they should be adjusted so that they are not dangling in such a way that the horse may catch a leg in the strap and become entangled.
How to wash or repair your Horse Blankets
Properly care for your blankets can assist in extending the life of the blanket, keeping your horse clean and comfortable, and allowing your waterproof blankets to continue to protect your horse from the elements. The fact that turnout blankets are coated with waterproofing, which may be peeled from the fabric if the blankets are cleaned wrongly, makes it critical that you follow the care recommendations that came with your blanket. When it comes to washing blankets, there are numerous options.
Specifically intended to be effective on even the hardest soil without leaving any residue that might irritate your horse’s delicate skin, the high strength solution is effective on even the heaviest soil.
It does so without affecting the protective waterproof coating on the blankets’ surface.
Alternatively, we provide a blanket cleaning service, in which soiled blankets may be dropped off at our shop in Chagrin Falls, OH and then picked up once they have been thoroughly cleaned.
If you reside somewhere other than Northeast Ohio, look for a blanket cleaning service in your region to save money.