Where do I start with blankets? How do I pick one for my horse?
Your horse's need for blankets is determined by the weather (temperature and precipitation), your horse’s coat, and his living conditions (in or out, or both). You should also factor in your horse's comfort level - is he a hard keeper that needs help staying warm? For more on hard keepers... read this.
Some basic blanketing guidelines:
- If your horse is outside and needs a blanket it better be waterproof. (Maybe you can tell I don’t always trust the weather forecast?)
- Temps in the 50’s may warrant a thin sheet if your horse is not clipped, and a lighter weight blanket if he is clipped. This will depend on a few things also, the sun vs. clouds, shelter vs. none, etc.
Your horse's blanket should be waterproof if he goes outside wearing it. Look for beading water and check the lining after a rain!
- Your horse probably will need something totally different than his horsey friends. (of course, right?)
- Layering blankets is better than using one truly heavy beast of a blanket.
- Make sure your gussets up front allow for TONS of shoulder room. This will vary with blanket manufacturer and your horse’s conformation. (Think about trying to snuggle up to sleep and then getting up without much upper body freedom.) You can learn more about blanket fit here.
- I really like the blankets that go up the neck. They apply less pressure to the withers and won’t rub the mane as much.
- If you live in an area with a truly brutal winter, consider a belly cover, neck cover, and I have even seen face and ear covers.
- Learn about denier and filling. (just kidding - I’ll explain it below!)
Lovely. Just lovely.
When shopping for a blanket - consider the denier and the filling.
Denier is the unit of measure for textiles that describes how strong a fabric is. Blankets usually range from 200 to 2100. The higher the denier, the more wind proof, water proof, and stronger the outer layer of fabric is.
Filling describes just that - the fluffy insulation inside the blanket. Measured in grams, blankets are either unfilled (like a sheet or rain sheet that has a lining but not filled) or filled between 100 and 400 grams. Your local climate and horse’s coat will determine the fill needed.
And how on earth do you measure the size of blanket that you need?? Well, grab a friend and your horse, along with a measuring tape. Measure from the center of the chest to the center of the tail, going around the “fattest” parts of the barrel and the shoulders. Round up to the nearest even number, and that’s your blanket size. Know that manufacturers will vary a bit. Also- if you are buying a medium weight, and suspect you will need to layer, go a bit higher in size so your pony can breath. He will thank you!
If you live in an area that has a lot of hunters, opt for a bright color blanket. You know, one that doesn't look like a deer.