Choosing the proper blanket for your horse
For the new horse owner, deciding whether you need a blanket for you horse and choosing the proper kind can be a confusing task. Many different types of horse blankets are available to horse owners, but some may not be needed in every situation. When deciding if a horse blanket is right for your horse, the most important things to consider are the horses living situation and daily tasks.
If your horse is a lovable backyard trail horse, with a loafing shed and a full coat in the winter, you may not need a blanket at all. Typically, horses in these situations will do fine with their own coat for protection against the elements. The only exception would be if you live in a climate with extreme temperatures. In these cases, your horse may have a need for a winter blanket.
Winter blankets are the thickest, warmest horse blanket made and are comparable to a winter coat for a person. In extremely cold conditions, any type of horse may need a winter blanket, whether stalled or in the pasture with a shelter. The easiest way to tell if your horse needs a winter blanket is to observe him in cold temperatures. Is he shivering at all? If so, he needs a winter blanket immediately.
If you do blanket him, make sure to remove the blanket when the temperature warms up. It is harmful to your horse for him to be too cold, but being overly hot is also dangerous. To check, periodically run your hand underneath your horse’s winter blanket. If your horse is sweating, it’s time for a lighter blanket or none at all.
If you own a show horse who’s body shaved regularly, completely different rules apply and you will most likely need some type of blanket. Shaving a horse’s normal coat leaves him defenseless against many outside elements and the right blanket can help you compensate for this.
A turnout blanket will most likely be needed if you own a show horse that is regularly clipped. Turnout blankets are made of heavy-duty material and can be worn in cold or warm temperatures. Turnout blankets are dual purpose, offering protection from cold in low temperatures and sunburn in the summer. Use the same principle as with winter blankets – don’t leave a turnout blanket on your horse if he is sweating.
In addition to the above types, there several blankets that can be used for your horses. We’ll talk more about these tomorrow.