A Guide to Blanketing HorsesFebruary 1, 2022
There is much to consider when selecting a blanket for your horse, including the horse’s age, body condition, and coat thickness, to name only a few aspects. Additionally, horses across the country experience a variety of climates, weather conditions, and stable environments. Luckily, just as our closets hold clothes tailored to the day and season, there are different types of horse blankets available, too, so you can select just what your horse needs when he needs it.
For horse owners to best determine what kind of blanket and heaviness their horse will need, let’s first look at a few horse blanketing basic terms, such as “sheets” versus “blankets” and “turnout” versus “stable.”
A horse sheet is lightweight and perfect for those mildly cold or windy days. They have no fill. A horse blanket, rather, offers fill, which is essentially a form of insulation sewn into the blanket to add warmth (think of your winter coat!). The higher the fill number on a blanket, the cozier the pony on those cold days.
Sheets and blankets come in two varieties: turnout and stable, for horses in either respective environment. Turnout sheets and turnout blankets feature waterproof material to keep pasture ponies dry. Without waterproof technology, a wet horse blanket could unintentionally make your horse colder. Stable sheets and stable blankets are ideal for stabled horses and therefore not made from waterproof material. They serve an important purpose by keeping stabled horses comfy, warm, and sleek.
Warmth & Durability
When you are selecting a horse blanket, you will notice a few number sets under the product descriptions, noting “denier” and “fill.” Denier denotes the durability of a horse blanket or sheet. It measures nylon fiber density on the outer material of horse blankets. Denier ranges from 70 to 2400D. The higher the denier, the more durable it is for those tough-on-blanket horses (you might have one or two in mind!). As we shared earlier, fill is the padding that adds an extra layer of warmth to your horse’s blanket. Both with denier and fill, the higher the number, the tougher or warmer the blanket’s material will be.
When measuring your horse, start from the center of his chest and measure around the widest part of the shoulder, along the barrel, and around the widest part of the hindquarter to the center of the tail. Keep your line horizontal to the ground. His blanket measurement will be the same as the number of inches measured. If the exact number of inches is not available to select from, size up to the nearest measurement.
Storing & Cleaning Blankets
Help extend the life of your horse’s blankets and sheets by properly storing them on a rack or in a blanket storage bag. This will also help protect them from opportunistic rodents who may look at a new blanket as a home or snack.
Remember, after your horse’s blankets have protected them from the rain, snow, and the muck of cold weather, it’s time for a good cleaning. You can either opt to clean blankets yourself, or you can send them to a blanket laundry service. Cleaning your horse’s blanket may be easier than you think! Just follow these steps.
- Pre-wash: Use a stiff brush to remove excess hair, mud, and dirt. Hose off the blanket, and hang to dry.
- Wash: Use a horse blanket detergent.
- Dry: Hang horse blankets to dry in a shady area to avoid color deterioration of the material.
Follow the blanket manufacturer’s cleaning instructions for best results.
By Aimee Robinson