Classic Equine Connection

Basic Blanketing

Posted by Classic Equine Equipment Blog on Nov 4, 2020 2:00:00 PM

Depending on the part of the country in which you live – you may be starting to consider the blanketing process for your horse - especially at night. Horses can actually do quite well without a blanket in even the most harsh winter storms. Their coat fluffs up like a down blanket and can provide extra warmth and insulation. But before you decide if its time to break out the blanket, here are some things you’ll want to consider:

Horse Blog - Classic Equine Does he have access to shelter in rainy and windy weather?

If your horse gets wet and/or it gets windy, that wet coat isn’t going to fluff up for warmth and your horse can become chilled. However, with a shelter (3 sided works best) where he can get in out of the worst of the rain and wind, he can still manage quite nicely all winter without a blanket.

The age of your horse

As your horse gets older, his ability to keep warm can diminish. Many older horses have trouble keeping weight on, giving them that extra layer of fat for the winter. Many horses keep warm during the winter by the very act of eating and digesting hay. But if your older horse has dental problems that compromise this, he may not have that avenue to help keep warm. Finally, horses can keep warm just by moving around. But older horses often become arthritic or can develop navicular problems and their desire to walk around decreases, causing them to become more chilled. Most older horses appreciate a blanket during colder times.

Whether your horse has been clipped

Depending on how “clipped” your horse is, he may need a blanket.   A belly and neck clip may not require any extra blanketing, but the trace and other clips leave a lot of the horse’s shorn body exposed to the elements. Blanketing is a must.

If you decide to blanket, there are literally hundreds of choices out there – stable sheets, turnout blankets, coolers and more. Most horse owners have an extensive “wardrobe” for their horses – something for every occasion. But you can easily get by with just three essentials:

-A fleece cooler or Irish knit anti-sweat sheet.   There are other materials available, but I’ve found these to work the best. If you prefer something different, look for one that wicks away moisture from your horse and insulates against chill. These are the blankets you use after exercising your horse in the winter. He may still be a little damp and these blankets help continue to dry him off while keeping him warm.

-A light weight turnout sheet. Skip the stable blankets and wool sheets. Even if your horse isn’t turned out during the winter now, someday you may be in a place where he is. Turnout sheets are waterproof so he can go out in less than perfect conditions and still stay dry and warm. Look for ones that are “breathable.” Your horse may go out in the a.m. in a cool drizzle, but if it suddenly turns sunny, you don’t want him to start sweating in his cover-up. Breathable fabrics allow moisture to escape to avoid this.

-A medium to heavy weight turnout blanket.Horse Blog - Classic equine The weight of this depends on your winters. Again, this should be a waterproof, but breathable fabric.

With these three blanketing essentials, you can mix and layer to meet the weather needs of your horse.

-Just a cool fall evening? Use the fleece cooler.

-A raining late spring day? The turnout sheet.

-A cold winter rainy day? The turnout sheet WITH the fleece cooler underneath for extra warmth. The waterproof sheet keeps the cooler dry.

-Cool days and cold nights? Put the turnout sheet on during the day, add the blanket as another layer at night.

-Cold days and cold nights? Use the cooler, layer the turnout sheet on top, then add the blanket at night.

Layering has been proven to provide more warmth than just one heavy cover because it traps warm air between the layers for added “toastiness.” The waterproofing of the sheet and blanket will also aid in insulation against the cold.

If you decide to blanket this winter, your horse will appreciate this winter wardrobe

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