It all sounds so simple… when it gets cold out, give your horse a blanket. When it’s warm, take the blanket off. But how do we define “cold” and “warm” for a horse? Cold can mean 50° to a Floridian, while 50° is a balmy day in January to a Minnesotan. The same holds true for our horses. The truth is there are many factors to consider regarding blanketing your horse. Luckily for you, we’ve laid them all out and developed a guide to help you narrow down outfit options for your horse.
Explaining Blanket Terminology
Light-weight, heavy-weight, stable, turnout… We use lots of different descriptions to classify horse blankets. These are important to understand before you buy and will help you pick out the blanket(s) best suitable for your horse’s needs.
- Light-weight blanket or a sheet: 0-100 grams of fill or “insulation”
- Medium-weight blanket: 150-250 grams of fill
- Heavy-weight blanket: 300 or more grams of fill
- Turnout blanket: a waterproof blanket intended for horses spending time outside
- Stable blanket: a non-waterproof blanket that should only be used indoors
- Liner: an extra layer that some brands will sell to be attached to the underside of the blanket. These are a convenient way to add warmth without needing a different blanket. Think of it like a 2-for-1 situation.
Factors To Consider
Here’s where we get into the nitty-gritty. These factors will lead to your ultimate decision-making of blanketing your horse.
- First and foremost, your horse’s hair coat. Are they a show horse that stays sleek throughout the winter? Do you body clip them when they get fluffy? Or are they living their best winter vaca life and wearing a full-blown winter coat of their own?
- Next is their living situation. Are they living inside or outside? Is your barn climate controlled, or are they exposed to Mother Nature’s ultimate temperature decisions? Remember, a horse living outside should always wear a turnout blanket rather than a stable blanket. A non-waterproof blanket could become water-logged, and a wet blanket will put your horse at a heightened risk of cold or even sickness.
- Additionally, age can be a factor in how your horse handles the cold. Younger horses or foals and older or senior horses may have a more difficult time tolerating extreme temperatures. Consider adding a layer of warmth for your horse to help them through these life stages.
- Along with their age, we must consider their body condition. Your horse keeps itself warm by burning calories. This is why you may notice your horse drops weight in the colder months. It is especially important to give support to those “hard keepers”, not only so they stay warm, but also so they can store calories rather than burning extra in the colder weather.
- Finally, we have the temperature. As aforementioned, keep in mind that 20° may feel more extreme to a horse living in the south as opposed to the northern states. This is also affected by the factors above. A clipped horse will need more layers than an unclipped horse in the same weather conditions, and an older horse or a hard keeper may need an extra layer as well. But since you now have those factors to consider, use this chart as a general starting point for your decisions!
You can shop more blanket options and supplies HERE. Or, shop all our products at FarmVet.com 24/7. You can also call one of our friendly Sales Associates at 1-888-837-3626 or email your order to email@example.com.
Is your horse a hard keeper in the colder months? Learn some ways to help them HERE.