Here are some general guidelines:
- Body Clipped Horses: Start blanketing when the temperature gets below 60°F, or anytime it is rainy or windy.
- Moderate Hair Coat Horses: Start blanketing when the temperature goes below 40°F.
- Heavy Hair Coat Horses: Start blanketing when the temperatures go below 30°F.
What to consider when blanketing your horse?
- Blanketing requires diligence in watching the weather and in committing to changing blankets to be sure your horse is comfortable in what he’s wearing, every day. Using a bit of common sense will go a long way to keeping your horse healthy and happy. If he’s shivering, add some weather protection.
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.
When to blanket horse temperature Celsius?
Equines having trouble maintaining weight can benefit from a blanket to ensure they are not using up precious calories staying warm once the temperatures drop below 5 degrees Celsius.
Should I blanket my horse at 50 degrees?
Coat Clipping In these instances, you definitely need to blanket your horse when the temperature begins to drop in the fall. Use 50 degrees as your benchmark to begin blanketing. You can start with a lightweight blanket with less “fill” and then increase the weight as the temperatures continue to drop below 35 degrees.
Does a horse need a blanket at 30 degrees?
Generally, horses that are body clipped in the winter will need a light blanket when the temperature drops below 50 degrees, a medium blanket below 40 degrees, and a heavy blanket below 30 degrees.
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?
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
How do I know if my horse is cold?
Common signs of your horse being too cold are:
- Shivering. Horses, like people, shiver when they’re cold.
- A tucked tail can also indicate that a horse is trying to warm up. To confirm, spot-check her body temperature.
- Direct touch is a good way to tell how cold a horse is.
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.
What happens if a horse gets too cold?
They may really crave their stalls. They may shiver. However, shivering is also just a perfectly normal way to warm up, so a warm horse may shiver for a short while when he is cold and be happy. The cold horse will be seen shivering much more frequently or when all the other horses are not.
Should I blanket my horse tonight?
A: It’s best to blanket your horse only after he has cooled down and his hair is dried. Unless the blanket is permeable, it will trap the moisture closer to his skin, slowing the drying period and lengthening the time it takes for a hot horse to return to normal body temperature.
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.
Do rain sheets keep horses warm?
The purpose of the rain sheet is to keep the horse dry in wet weather. While it will block the wind, it will also mat down the hair, preventing the piloerection of the coat that keeps a horse naturally warm, without having any insulating properties of its own. Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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.
Weather Or Not: A No-Nonsense Guide to Blanketing
This time of year has unfortunately returned. The days are becoming shorter, the air is getting colder, and our concern for our equine companions is becoming more intense. Are they able to keep themselves warm on their own? Alternatively, do they require blankets? And what kind of blankets are we talking about? The problem is that, according to a recent research, as many as 50% of equestrians are uninformed about their horse’s physiological reactions to external temperatures, which may be extremely dangerous to the animal’s well-being.
To provide an example, I’ve taken off thick blankets from clients’ horses on hot January days at our stable only to discover a sweating horse underneath them.
The clients never requested that the barn employees take care of their blanketing. Presented below is a no-nonsense approach to blanketing (or not blanketing) your horse, which has been built over years of research and consultation, as well as observation and trial and error.
1. Take responsibility
Horse owners now have an additional layer of responsibility in that they must monitor the weather and be able to make blanketing modifications, or have them done for them by others. Of course, not all horses and not all situations are equivalent in their abilities. According to the vast majority of veterinarians, the vast majority of healthy, non-clipped horses with access to a shelter are unlikely to require any blanketing at all.
2. If you decide to blanket, learn to do it correctly.
Secondly, assuming that you have made the decision to blanket (or “rug”) your horse, devote some time to learning more about the proper way to do it. You may find a plethora of reputable materials on the internet that illustrate how to select the proper size rug, what sorts of rugs to use in different weather situations, and so on. Every second you spend ensuring that your horse has a comfortable blanketing experience will be greatly appreciated by him.
3. Proper fitting tips
Because the withers are very sensitive, it is important to ensure that the blanket rests slightly in front of them rather than applying downward strain on the bony wither region. For me, it’s best to place my hand beneath the blanket and gently move my hand along it from the blanket’s chest buckled to the horse’s withers, keeping an eye out for any areas of excessive pressure; if the blanket is pinching my hand, there is absolutely no way that blanket is going to be comfortable for the horse.
- Improperly The fitted blanket was placed too far back on the withers of the horse.
- Our horse’s hind legs are crisscrossed in so many various ways that it seems like there are a million possible ways to tie those ominous straps.
- Leg straps should be fastened in a secure manner.
- When tying the straps, just loop one through the other.
- The legs of your horse are also protected from the cold (and perhaps annoying) metal.
- Drooping straps are hazardous because they may cause the horse to trip or fail to hold the blanket in a stable position.
As a general rule, blanket straps should be adjusted so that you can fit your hand between the strap and your horse. Remember: education, preparation, and common sense are the most important factors in effectively blanketing (or not blanketing) your horse over the next winter.
*All content is for informational purposes only. Contact your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about the health of your animals.
a little about the author Heather Malcolm discovered her interest in equine nutrition, behavior, and wellbeing while growing up on her family’s horse farm in northern California. She obtained employment in the companion animal sector upon graduation with a degree in Animal Science. In her spare time, she likes reading about the newest equestrian studies and taking a sleep with her beloved dog.
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?
A horse travelling north will, without a doubt, have a more harder transition than a horse moving south will have. “Horses who do not have winter coats should be covered and hooded, and they should be regularly monitored for shivering, weight loss, and other signs of illness,” advises Waite in the case of a mid-winter transfer north. In particular, “These horses will be extremely vulnerable to cold and will require suitable shelter, particularly during their first year.” A blanket with a greater insulation value is recommended for travelers who will be traveling to colder climates, according to Coleman.
” “You might need to lower the insulation value or remove the blanket entirely,” or perhaps body clip him if he’s getting too hot to handle.
“Give them a year, and they’ll figure it out if we adjust their hair coat development.” They have a natural aptitude for hair growth on a biological level.”
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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When to Blanket a Horse
The long winter hair coat acts as insulation, minimizing the loss of body heat, and serves as the body’s first line of defense against the elements of the winter season. Whenever the horse becomes wet and/or muddy, the insulating properties of the blanket are compromised. As a result, in cold, wet weather, give a dry, sheltered space. What factors should you consider when deciding whether or not to blanket your horse?
Blanketing a horse is necessary to reduce the effects of cold and inclement weather when
- While turnout times are in effect, there is no cover available if the temperature drops below 5 degrees F or the wind chill drops below 5 degrees F. If the horse gets wet (which is less likely to happen in snow, but more likely to happen in rain, ice, and/or freezing rain), the rider may have to stop and dry the animal. The horse’s winter coat has been cut in preparation for exhibiting. 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 lower, it is considered to be in poor health.
It is critical that the blanket be the suitable size for the horse. Make certain that you have the correct size for the horse.
- Horses might acquire rub scars or sores if the straps holding the blanket on them are not correctly adjusted. If the horse is covered continually, the blanket should be removed on a regular basis to be examined for damage and repositioned if the animal has twisted. Make certain that blankets are maintained dry, and avoid blanketing a wet horse
- Instead, wait until the horse is completely dry before blanketing. Alternatively, remove a damp blanket from a horse to prevent it from being chilly. When the temperature rises above freezing, remove the blanket to prevent the horse from sweating and becoming damp below the blanket. Allowing the blanket to air out and the horse’s hair coat to dry is recommended.
Air is trapped by the horse hair coat, which works as insulation; however, if the hair is damp or muddy, air is removed, diminishing the coat’s insulating effectiveness and increasing heat loss. Cold stress can be caused by as little as 0.1 inch of rain, which causes the hair to become frizzy and reduces its insulating properties. It is critical to keep the horse dry and protected from the elements. Woolly horses with a thicker hair coat can retain more heat, making it necessary to refrain from blanketing them at times.
When to Blanket a Horse? Temperature Guide
For many riders, horse blanketing is a deeply personal issue. When to cover a horse, or whether to blanket a horse at all, is highly dependent on your individual horse and its requirements. As a result, we’ve put together this useful overview of horse blanketing, which includes a chart illustrating when to blanket a horse’s temperature, to assist you in understanding the when, how, and whys of blanketing your horse.
When to Blanket A Horse: Proper Blanketing Tips
Simply put, you should cover a horse if it is chilly and appears to be in discomfort. The fact that your horse is shivering indicates that their core body temperature is lowering and that they want quick treatment in order to keep warm. It is critical that you handle shivering as soon as possible because if a horse’s core temperature drops for an extended period of time, they become susceptible to sickness.
When to Blanket A Horse:Factors That Can Lower Your Horse’s Internal Temperature
As the weather becomes colder, it becomes more difficult for your horse to maintain their body temperature to a reasonable level. Because of this, you should begin blanketing your horse as soon as the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. To ease your horse’s transition to wearing a blanket, Equus Magazine recommends using a quarter sheet beneath your saddle when riding him. This will help his back muscles to gradually acclimatize to the blanket as he moves.
Because it is allowed to grow out naturally over the winter months, a horse’s coat develops an additional layer of hair that helps to regulate the horse’s body temperature. Horses competing in the winter do not always have the luxury of allowing their growth to continue, and their bodies must be trimmed to compete. Furthermore, if your horse’s coat has been clipped, you may need to begin blanketing them early and use heavier weighted blankets than you would for a horse with a natural coat.|
Horses who are not in peak condition will often require blanketing as soon as the first signs of cold weather appear. Because they have less muscular mass and fat than humans, they are more susceptible to illness when the weather turns chilly. Because of this, it is critical to keep an eye on horses that are having difficulty consuming big quantities of food, whether due to medical reasons or otherwise, since they will not gain enough weight for winter and will need to be covered earlier than usual.
Check to see whether horses become cold during the winter months.
When to Blanket A Horse:How to Blanket a Horse in Winter
As we’ve just mentioned, getting your horse’s temperature back to normal is dependent on a variety of factors. In this ‘when to blanket a horse temperature guide’ from Stateline Tack, you will learn that whether or not your horse is clipped has a significant impact on the type of blanket you employ.
Horse Blanketing Guide
As a result, when following this instruction, you should keep in mind the various elements that may have an impact on your horse’s usual temperature and keep an eye on them to determine if an increase or decrease in blanket weight is required.
|Temperature||Horse with natural coat||Horse that is body clipped|
|50°– 60°||Sheet – No Fill||Light Blanket (100 g)|
|40° – 50°||Light Blanket (100g)||Light/Medium Blanket (150g – 250g)|
|30° – 40°||Light/Medium Blanket (150g – 250g)||Medium/Heavy Blanket (200g – 300g)|
|20° – 30°||Medium/Heavy Blanket (200g – 300g)||Heavy (300g – 400 g) or Medium Blanket|
|Below 20°||Heavy (300g – 400g)||Heavy (300g – 400g) with Blanket Liner|
Blanket A Horse: Different Types of Horse Blankets
There are many different varieties of horse blankets, but don’t worry, there are clear guidelines on which sort of blanket to use and when to use it. According to thePractical Horseman, while limiting down your options, you should consider the following two questions:
- In inclement weather, is your horse left out to graze. Is your horse’s coat cut or let to grow throughout the winter months?
Once you’ve determined the answers to these questions, you may proceed to review the alternatives listed below to determine which type of blanket is the best suit for your needs.
Turn Out Blankets For Horses
Turnouts are distinguished by the fact that they are not only waterproof, allowing them to be worn outside, but they are also available in a variety of weights. There are now two varieties of turnouts to utilize while blanketing a horse, and they are as follows:A turnout sheet has no filling;A turnout sheet has filling A turnout blanket includes a filling that is available in a variety of weights, which will assist in bringing your horse’s temperature back to normal. Despite the fact that they may be used as a sturdy blanket, the waterproofing function is an additional expense that you should consider even if you do not intend to use it.
Stable blankets can also assist to keep your horse’s temperature at a regular level, but unlike turnouts, they are not waterproof and should only be worn indoors. They are available in a range of weights, and horse owners are expected to select the appropriate weight depending on the temperature table shown above. Stable blankets are also available in a variety of designs and patterns, allowing you to customize the look of what your horse is wearing!
Rain and Fly Sheets
When shopping for horse coverings, you may come across alternatives such as rain and fly sheets, which are not really blankets but are nevertheless regarded such. When it’s light rain, fog, or sleet, rain sheets will keep your horse dry, and fly sheets will cover your horse’s neck, tail, and face, as well as protect him from insect bites during the humid seasons. Because none of these alternatives is intended to keep your horse warm, if you want to be able to regulate the temperature of your horse throughout the winter months, you should invest in either turnouts or stable blankets for your horse instead.
When Should the Blanket Come Off?
When your horse is chilly, you should begin blanketing him immediately; when he is warm, you should cease blanketing him immediately. Increasing the amount of light-weight blankets you use on your horse as the temperature increases; but, if the temperature reaches 50° or above, you can cease blanketing your horse entirely.
It’s crucial to remember that if a blanket becomes wet at any point, it should be removed as soon as possible to avoid your horse becoming chilly or developing rain rot.
Keep Your Horse Happy!
You are the one who knows your horse the best and can tell whether they are comfortable and content. As a result, keep your horse warm and healthy by following the blanketing temperature guidance and advice listed above, which will help you choose when to blanket your horse and when not to.
Winter Blanketing Guide: Yes, No, and if So, How Much?
Every autumn, when the temperature decreases and the amount of sunshine diminishes, you must make a decision regarding horse care. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-time horse owner or a seasoned veteran, whether your horses live outside or are tucked up every night in a warm stable, you must make the decision whether or not to blanket them. And, if you want to blanket, the question of which blanket(s) to use and when to replace them comes into play. It’s never enough to simply toss a single sort of blanket on your horse and assume the animal is ready to go on its journey.
Let’s start with the most basic question: do horses need blankets at all?
The short answer is most likely not. However, it is dependent. We did say it would be complicated, didn’t we? Let’s start with what nature accomplishes on its own, without the influence of humans. Horses are well-equipped to deal with the cold and the heat on their own, and they have the ability to thermoregulate, which means that they can maintain their body temperature within normal ranges at extreme temperatures. Equine sweating will cause them to seek cover or a breeze when it is hot. The cold makes horses grow a winter coat, which they use to snuggle together for warmth and seek cover from the elements (cold, wind, rain, snow).
- If your horse is also well-sheltered, you may be able to avoid blanketing.
- The longer hairs physically “puff up” to trap air near to the skin’s surface and act as an insulating layer.
- There is no question that if you clip your horse, it must be covered – there is no other option.
- The clipped horse isn’t the only one that need extra assistance; an older or younger horse, as well as those suffering from metabolic conditions that impair hair development, and animals who have lately been brought from warmer locations will all benefit from blankets.
Now that you’ve decided to blanket your horse, there are other factors you need to do understand, such as fill and denier. Say what?
The amount of stuffing in a blanket is measured in grams by the manufacturer, and the term “fill” refers to that amount. A standard rain sheet contains no fill, or 0g, in its construction. Medium-weight blankets weigh between 150 and 225 grams, heavyweight blankets weigh between 250 and 370 grams, and anything heavier than that is termed an ultra- or mega-heavyweight. In the case of nylon fabrics, denier refers to the strength or density of the nylon fabric, which indicates how durable and water resistant the fabric is.
- The greater this number is, however, the denser and more durable the blanket.
- It is possible to get a chart on credible sources that shows the temperature ranges for which the fill/denier of blanket should be utilized.
- Our favorite tool is the extensive blanket tool from Equine Guelph.
- There is also a section on the sort of blanket and its fit.
Other helpful hints include taking your horse’s personality into consideration when purchasing blankets – and we don’t mean whether he prefers polka dots or stripes, but whether he will shred his blanket and thereby rack up bills for replacements and repairs, or whether he will calmly graze and hopefully leave it in one piece.
- Is he going to be outside and able to get some exercise, or will there be no shelter?
- There is also the fundamental guideline or “best practice” of never turning out your horse with a wet coat, since it will become cold to the bone and sick as a result of the exposure.
- After every ride, let your horse to cool down and dry off.
- Always keep in mind that over-blanketing can be hazardous and is considered a welfare concern since it can lead to overheating and heat stress.
- Blanketing your horse is a major duty that should not be taken lightly.
- The bottom line is that you must do your homework and examine your own situation as well as the demands of your horse in order to make the best selection possible about blankets for horses.
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What Blanketing Does Your Horse Need?
Using Ox Ridge barn manager Sue Louther’s simple blanketing approach, you can eliminate the guesswork from blanketing. If your horse has been body clipped, please follow the instructions below. (All temperatures are in degrees Fahrenheit.) You should deduct 10 degrees from the recommended temperature if he is wearing his entire coat (for example, you would put on a turnout sheet at 50 degrees, not 60 degrees). And, whether he’s clipped or not, clothe him as though the temperature were 10 degrees warmer on days when the sun is shining and the wind is quiet.
Dragoo/AIMMEDIA 60-65:Executive summary 50-60: Spread a lightweight liner over a sheet of 50-60 In the range of 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit: midweight insulated turnout rug or turnout sheet over a sturdy blanket.
From 20 to 30 degrees Celsius: heavy rug over fleece liner, or medium rug over quilted liner or stable blanket For temperatures below 20 degrees: heavy rug over quilted liner or stable blanket, or midweight rug over quilted liner or stable blanket and fleece.
Is he chilly? Too warm? Here’s how to tell.
It’s not hot enough: Shivering, his ears are chilly to the touch, his exposed hair coat is standing on end, his body is rigid (for example, he stands stiffly on the crossties without cocking his knee), and his tail is clamped. Restlessness and sweating beneath his sheets are a result of being too warm. Put your naked hand between the deepest layer of his coat and his skin – and feel all the way down to his rib cage – to see whether it’s there. It is common for his shoulder area near the binding, which is where dirt and dander build the most quickly, to feel warm and sticky, even when the rest of his body is not.
In addition, this is an excellent opportunity to check for rubs and sores that can occur even with the best-fitting blanket, particularly if dirt or shavings become trapped below.
Instead, untie the straps and fasteners (always from the back to the front), raise up the rear section of the blanket(s) and fold forward to the withers, then lift entirely off his back and place him down again in the proper position, repeating the process.
More information on blanket design aspects that might assist your horse’s blanket match his specific conformation can be found in the November 2003 edition of Horse & Rider magazine.
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. courtesy of Frank Sorge/Arnd.nL
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
Photograph courtesy of Frank Sorge / Arnd.nL
- 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.
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.
It was not uncommon for him to remove his clothing in the middle of the night if he became overheated. “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. Dragoo
“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.
In its original form, this essay appeared in the October 2018 issue of Practical Horseman magazine.