When to Blanket Your Horse This Winter
With temperatures dropping and the brisk, winter weather right around the corner, horse owners know that sooner is better than later to prepare for the cold months ahead. Among the many preparations that have to take place, one of the most important is deciding when and how to blanket their horses this winter. A well-thought out plan can make the weather transition easier on you and your horses.
Horse blankets are designed to keep your horses warm in the cold, wind, rain and snow, and like human blankets, they come in several different types and styles. Turnout blankets are intended for outdoor turnout and are very durable in design; these blankets are generally waterproof, breathable, and can withstand the rigors of play. Turnouts are the ideal type of blanket for providing durable coverage in miserable weather.
Stable blankets are another common blanket and they are designed for stable use only. If you are live in a very cold climate and your horse spends a good amount of time stabled, then this blanket is a great choice. Stable blankets are lighter than turnout blankets, a little more flexible and less bulky. These blankets, however, are not waterproof and should not be used outdoors..
Blankets for horses are available in various weights or deniers, the amount of insulation or stuffing in the blankets themselves. The weight of the blanket should be taken into consideration when choosing a blanket. Higher weight or denier levels mean the blanket is more insulated and better able to protect your horse from the cold. For those horse owners living in colder environments, higher denier level blankets are a better option than lighter levels.
When is a blanket necessary? A healthy, acclimated horse with plenty of feed and a well maintained coat may not need a blanket at all as its healthy coat provides plenty of insulation. There are situations, however, when a blanket should be provided. Horses that have been clipped or have thinner coats should be blanketed as they lack this natural barrier. Another determining factor is a horse’s weight or health. Underweight horses or those with additional health concerns cannot produce enough natural insulation or body heat and require extra attention during these cold months. By blanketing these horses, you will help them save their energy as well as keep them warm.
When choosing a blanket for your horse, be sure to carefully analyze your particular situation, climate, and animal’s needs. Once you have fully analyzed your animal’s particular needs, be sure to invest in quality blankets and maintain them per manufacturer’s instructions to prolong their use.