If you live in a location where you need a coat to go outside comfortably in the winter, you may want to consider a blanket for your horse. Many factors come into play when deciding if your horse needs a blanket, including their breed, coat length, and coat thickness. Here’s what you need to know about horse blankets and how to measure your horse for one.
Do You Need a Horse Blanket?
A horse blanket is designed to keep your horse warm and comfortable during colder weather months. It’s not a requirement for horse ownership, and many people will debate if it’s necessary at all. But generally speaking, a clipped horse benefits from a lightweight blanket when the temperature dips below 50℉, while an unclipped horse will feel comfortable until around freezing.
Check out When Does My Horse Need a Blanket? for a full explanation.
If you find your horse shivers in the colder months, a horse blanket is a good idea. Some horses shiver subtly, so you may want to check their extremities to see if they are cold. Cold ears or a cold muzzle are also signs that your horse may be chilly and may like an added layer.
Types of Horse Blankets
Horse blankets vary by weight. You can find lightweight, medium-weight, and heavy-weight blankets for your horse. Weights vary by the fill per square inch that they include for warmth. Sheets are also available, which have no lining for warmth but can protect your horse from the elements. There are two kinds of horse blankets:
- Stable Blankets — Fitted stable blankets cover your horse while inside the stable, stall, or barn. A variety of weights provide comfort at different temperatures. Stable blankets are designed for indoor use, so they are generally not waterproof.
- Turnout Blankets — Turnout blankets are durable, waterproof blankets (and sheets) that offer protection from the elements. They also come in various weights and are less fitted than stable blankets, providing more freedom of motion.
Why is Horse Blanket Fit Important?
Just like with all horse gear, the fit is vital for comfort and safety. If the blanket is too tight, your hose may be uncomfortable, and buckles may rub and chafe. If it’s too loose, you risk the blanket slipping, which could cause discomfort or an injury.
Steps to Measure Your Horse for a Blanket
Every horse is shaped a little differently, so it’s essential to measure them to ensure you purchase a right-sized blanket that will fit them well. Here are the steps to take to choose the right blanket for your horse:
- Consider where you want the blanket to end at the rear of your horse. Would you prefer the blanket or sheet stop just short of the tail, or do you want it to be long enough to cover the top of the horse’s tail in a “tent?” There are various alternatives for style, depending on your answer to this question.
- Stand your horse on hard, level ground, making sure they are standing squarely.
- Start measuring from the center of your horse’s chest, where the base of the neck meets the chest. Then, follow across the point of the shoulder and along the horse’s side to the center of the tail (or where you want the blanket to end).
You’ll want to use a soft measuring tape for this process, though you can also use a piece of string. If you do use string, cut it to the length needed, then compare it to a measuring tape to determine the right length. When you’re measuring, make sure to pull the tape or string tightly. It’s also a good idea to measure twice, just to make sure you get the right fit.
It’s helpful to get assistance from a second person if you can. However, you can do it on your own by taking two measurements: start at the chest and go as far down your horse’s side as you can. Mark the stopping point with your thumb and note the measurement. Then measure from that point to where you want the blanket to end and add the two measurements together to determine the total length.
Selecting Your Size
The inches measurement you determined equates to the blanket size for your horse. Stock blankets come in sizes of 3” increments, so if your horse measurement is a number that differs from a standard size, simply round up to the closest number.
To measure the size of the blanket or sheet, manufacturers lay it flat with all fastenings undone. Then, they use a soft fabric tape and measure from the front to the back in a process similar to how you measured your horse.
How to Use a Horse Blanket
To place the blanket or sheet on your horse, start at the front and move to the back. Fasten the closures at the front on the chest, then the surcingles, and last the leg or tail straps. This process helps to ensure you don’t miss any straps, and if your horse moves suddenly, there won’t be any issues. When you remove the blanket, follow these instructions in reverse, starting at the rear and moving towards the front of your horse.
Recommended Horse Blankets
Here are some of our favorite horse blanket brands that offer blankets and sheets made of quality materials for your horse.
These brands offer a wide range of options for your horse, including a variety of blanket fills as well as blanket shape. You’ll see extended neck and tail coverage to provide alternatives based on where you want the blanket to end on your horse.
Choosing the Right Horse Blanket
If you live in a climate where your horse would benefit from a blanket or sheet, it’s essential you know how to measure your horse to find the right size. Then, choose from the options available for coverage and fill to select the right one for your horse.
Explore our collection of horse blankets and sheets, which are tested by staff for performance. If you have questions about any of our products, give us a call at 864-457-3557. We’re happy to help!
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