NRS Horse Blanketing Guide
When the temperatures drop and winter starts to set in, horse owners are likely wondering, "Should I blanket my horse?" Sometimes horse blanketing guidelines can be confusing, but NRS is here to help! This guide will cover the basics of blanketing horses, from the different types of blankets available to the best time to put them on. Read the NRS horse blanketing guide to help your horse stay warm, dry and healthy.
Table of Contents
Types of Horse Blankets
There are two primary types of horse blankets: stable and turnout. They look similar, but each has a specific purpose, and they are not interchangeable.
- Stable blankets are woven coverings meant to be worn inside a barn or other shelter. They tend to be more fitted.
- Turnout blankets are made of tougher, waterproof materials and intended for outdoor use. They are also designed to allow free movement to accommodate the horse's higher activity level when turned out.
Horse sheets are another lightweight type of horse outerwear and are primarily intended to keep the animal clean or protect them from biting insects.
How To Choose a Blanket for Your Horse
Blankets come in various weights and deniers. The weight refers to the amount of polyfill within the blanket. The heavier the fill the warmer the blanket. Denier refers to the strength of the fabric of the outer shell of the blanket. The higher the denier the tougher the blanket.
- 0 - 100 grams of fill - Sheets or Light Weight Blankets
- 150 - 250 grams of fill - Medium Weight Blankets
- 300+ grams of fill - Heavy Weight Blankets
When To Blanket a Horse
Are you wondering, "When should I blanket my horse?" Here are some recommendations based on the horse's coat.
Horse Blanketing Guidelines
|Sheet/Lightweight||40-50 degrees||30-40 degrees|
|Medium weight||30 - 40 degrees||20-30 degrees|
|Heavyweight||20-30 degrees||10-20 degrees|
Other Considerations When Blanketing Horses
While horse blanketing guidelines based on outdoor temperatures are appropriate most of the time, there are circumstances when the typical blanketing guide for horses needs to be adjusted.
- Body type - Naturally thin horses have a harder time staying warm and are more likely to need a blanket.
- Access to shelter - Horses with no access to shelter will need additional protection during inclement weather, especially in winter.
- Age - Older horses cannot regulate their body temperature as well as younger horses.
- Coat- If the horse has a full winter coat, keeping the horse warm may require a lighter weight blanket. But if the horse is clipped or has a show coat, they are more likely to need a warmer blanket.
Horses moved from a warmer climate to a colder climate will need the extra help a blanket provides at higher temperatures than a horse acclimated to the cold.
SHOP Horse Blankets
Other Horse Blanketing Guidelines
Proper fit is essential when blanketing horses. If the size is too small, it will inhibit the horse's natural ability to stay warm. If it's too large, it will allow too much cold air underneath. It's important to remove the blanket regularly to ensure that the horse doesn't develop sores or rain rot.
The fit at the horse's withers is critical for comfort when blanketing horses. Make sure the blanket rests comfortably over the withers and shoulders so it doesn't rub when the horse moves or grazes or feeds.
If you need assistance with sizing or horse blanketing guidelines, contact us, and one of our customer service representatives will gladly help.
How To Put on a Horse Blanket
Now that you've answered the question, "should I blanket my horse?" let's discuss how to put on a horse blanket. Follow these horse blanketing guidelines so your horse will be properly protected and the blanket will stay in place.
- The blanket should always be put on from front to back when blanketing horses.
- Fold the back third of the blanket toward the middle and then the front third toward the middle.
- Lay the blanket on the middle of the horse's back.
- Unfold it and smooth it along the horse's body.
- Secure the blanket's buckles in this order:
- Leg straps
- Cross the rear leg straps to help keep the blanket centered on the horse's back as he moves.
You should be able to slide your hand between the blanket and your horse's withers. Avoid making the straps too tight to ensure that they don't bind the horse. Conversely, make sure they aren't too loose, so the horse doesn't get their foot stuck if they lie down.
When it's time to remove the blanket, take it off from back to front.