The days are quickly getting shorter and unfortunately, that means they are also getting cooler. My least favorite time of year is right around the corner – winter, ugh… I hate the snow, the ice and the cold. It makes everything so difficult. The cold and winter even makes caring for my dear horse not so easy. From keeping his water fresh to keeping the stable warm, winter is a tough time of year.
The one thing I learned quickly was the importance of using a blanket for my horse when the temperatures drop and especially when the cold winds get going. Blankets are a simple way of protecting your horse from cold temperatures, rain, snow, and mud. There are also many types of blankets to choose from such as a turnout rug or blanket, stable blanket or sheet, show sheet, or a fly sheet. Each one serves a unique purpose, for example turnout blankets are sold in an assortment of weights and are waterproof so your horse is protected from the wind and rain while turned out.
There are first a few questions you should try and answer concerning protecting your horses from the cold with a blanket:
- Do you live in an area with cold, blustery and wet weather patterns?
- Are your horses accustomed to cold or warm temperatures?
- Do you have an older horse that doesn’t have as high of a metabolism to keep its body warm in colder weather?
- Is your horse routinely clipped or does he have a furry coat?
- Do you have a horse that loves to roll around in the mud more than anything else?
One of the first things you’ll discover about horse blankets is that finding the best blanket is all about fit, purpose, and quality. Blankets sizes normally correspond to the side measurements of the horse and are typically sized in inches. They start at 54 inches and go up to 84 inches, by increments of two. Weatherbeeta has a pretty good write up on how to measure your horse for a blanket. I also found this video on how to measure your horse for a blanket.
Pay attention to the quality of the fabric. This is sometimes referred to as the denier and it's a good indication the thread used. The quality of thread comes into play, as well. 1000 denier or higher is a good place to begin when shopping for turn out blankets. You can get away with lower denier stable blankets since they don't get the wear and tear of associated with turn out blankets.