Choosing the proper blanket for your horse (Part 2)
Yesterday, I talked about some of the different options for blanketing your horse. Here are a few more that are suitable for the summer months:
Day Sheet or Summer Sheet
These blankets are designed for mild weather conditions and their main purpose is to keep the horse clean. Usually made of cotton or poly cotton blends, they are very comfortable for your horse and easy to wash. Summer sheets are mainly recommended for the show horse that needs to stay clean. Most family horses will not have need of a winter blanket and will appreciate being able to roll in the dirt and scratch their backs.
Flysheets are usually made of a mesh material and help protect your horse against insects and bites during the summer months. Lightweight and highly ventilated, they provide a barrier against bugs, yet are still very breathable and comfortable for your horse. Again, show horses most commonly use flysheets, however if you have a family horse that has trouble with bugs during the summer (usually black horses), you may want to invest in a flysheet.
Coolers are a must-have for the heavily worked horse. Hunters, Jumpers, Eventers, and any horse consistently being worked for a discipline should have a cooler. Coolers are another dual-purpose blanket and are used to keep your horse warm after warm-up, but while waiting to perform. It should also be used after heavy work to help him cool down. Typically made of fleece or wool, they are easy to wash and comfortable for your horse to wear.
When deciding if your horse needs a blanket, consider where he lives (an open area/primarily in a horse barn, the type of climate and his daily job. Some horses may not need a blanket at all, while others may need three or four different kinds. The best rule of thumb is that your horse should never be overly cold or overly hot. Keep these factors in mind to help you choose the right type of blanket for your horse.