Choosing The Best Horse Blanket, A Guide For First Time Owners
Choosing the Best Horse Blanket
If you walk into your local tack store there's a good chance they have at least one wall dedicated, and often floor to ceiling, to a wide selection of horse blankets of various brands and types.
Unless you know what you're looking for shopping for a blanket for your horse can be a little tricky, and unless you're lucky enough to find one on sale horse blankets are expensive so you'll want to make the right decision the first time.
It's also good to have backups for each blanket, especially when temperatures drop during the winter and the rain comes.
No matter how good your waterproof turnout blanket is, if it gets very wet it may take some time to dry out and if your horse is body clipped the last thing you want to do is throw a damp blanket back on in cold weather.
Lightweight rain sheets are super useful as protection from wind and rain in more moderate temperatures but maybe not the best option if your horse goes out for a play in the snow!
In summer, we use fly sheets to protect them from bugs and have hot sun on their coats.
Stable blankets are a great way to keep your horse warm and dry inside the barn.
You could technically use these as turnout blankets but they are not waterproof so would not keep your horse dry in the rain.
Coolers are a valuable addition to your horse's wardrobe. They keep your clipped horse warm when you first hop on at the start of a ride and ensure your horse doesn't get cold during your cool out.
If you take your horse to shows, coolers are also nice to have when you hand walk as most of the time the material tends to allow them to move a bit more freely.
These often don't come with cross surcingles though so leaving one on them overnight or even for a period of time on their own can be risky and possibly dangerous as they tend to shift if your horse rolls.
Are Quality Horse Blankets Worth The Money?
In short yes. My own horse destroys his blankets so he only gets good used ones or a cheaper brand, but historically a good quality blanket can last for years.
There's a wide selection of top-quality horse blankets available nowadays and are often cheaper to purchase online.
If you stay ahead of the game you can often find great sales when it's off-season for a particular type of blanket, for instance, shopping for fly sheets and fly masks for your horse during the winter months or buying a heavyweight blanket during the summer.
Do Horses Like To Wear Blankets?
Personally, I think horse blankets are a necessary evil in the horse world. But if you have a working horse especially, regardless of discipline, you need to keep your horse comfortable and dry when it's wet, and cool when the temperature rises.
Fly sheets and fly masks in the summer are in my opinion an absolute necessity but provide little to no protection against the elements.
Most blankets other than coolers come with a neck cover or at least have an attachment for them and as an added bonus help keep your horse's coat smooth and relatively free from dirt.
Choosing The Right Size Horse Blanket
Horse blankets are much like people's clothing in the sense that they may vary a little between brands, my own stallion fits an 81in for his winter blanket but 78in for his fly sheet, but here's a general guide provided by Weatherbeeta.
Choosing The Correct Weight Horse Blanket
Choosing the blanket weight for your horse really comes down to two main factors, the temperature and if your horse is clipped or not.
Most barns used to have thermometers but nowadays most of us use the weather app on our phones.
When checking the temperature on these apps pay close attention to the 'feels like temperature' as this considers factors such as humidity and wind speed.
Neck covers are recommended a lot in this chart but from personal experience, it's really down to your individual horse, some get colder than others whereas some carry more heat in their bodies.