A Good Fit
The blanket should cover from just above his withers down to just over his tail with not a lot of extra blanket hanging over his hind end. The blanket should be draped over your horse’s body and not pull at any one spot on your horse.
Blanketing Cheat SheetTemperatureUnclippedClippedAbove 50° Fno blanketno blanket or just a sheet40-50° Fno blanketsheet or lightweight30-40° Fno blanket, or only a lightweightmid- to heavyweight20-30° Fno blanket, or a light- to midweightheavyweight
Width – The best way to check the fit of the blanket is to watch your horse walk while wearing it. As your horse is moving forward, observe the shoulders. If the blanket fabric pulls tightly against the shoulder to the point of possibly impeding movement, then the blanket is too snug.
Common signs of your horse being too cold are:
An older horse in very good weight with no health issues probably does not need a blanket. Any older horse that is thin going into winter or has any health issues that may increase his caloric needs or decrease his ability to take in calories should be blanketed.
Make sure blankets are kept dry and do not put a blanket on a wet horse; wait until the horse is dry before blanketing. Or take a wet blanket off a horse to keep it from becoming chilled. Days that the temperature becomes warm remove the blanket so the horse does not sweat and become wet under the blanket.
Clipping the winter coat is not what nature intended, but it can be necessary for the health and comfort of some horses. As previously mentioned, it allows horses that stay in work to cool out faster. Also, you can maintain a healthier grooming practice with a clipped horse, and it can cut down on your grooming time.
How do I prevent blanket rubs?
Blankets tend to compress a coat’s layers, which compromises their insulating properties. Horses that do not live in extremely cold environments – meaning routinely colder than 10°F – will do well without a blanket, provided they are either stalled during the coldest temperatures or have access to a protective shelter.
In the absence of wind and moisture, horses tolerate temperatures at or slightly below 0° F. If horses have access to a shelter, they can tolerate temperatures as low as -40° F. But horses are most comfortable at temperatures between 18° and 59° F, depending on their hair coat.
“I use the same silicone spray product to waterproof blankets as I do on my patio cushions – Scotchgard™,” says Barron. “It’s cheap, you can pick it up just about anywhere, and it works. KIWI Camp Dry® is another good one.” Make sure your blanket is clean before applying a water repellent.
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Unlike the more fitted stable blanket, turnout blankets are designed to allow for the freedom of motion often necessary during turnout. They may come equipped with things like gussets, tail flaps, leg straps, and fleece withers, all of which improve the overall fit and functionality of this active use blanket.