When to Blanket Your Horse

When temperatures drop and winter weather looms, sooner is better than later to prepare for the cold, wet months ahead. Among the many preparations that have to take place, one of the most important is deciding when and how to blanket your horse this winter. A well-planned strategy can make the cold-weather transition easier on you and your horses. If you are already thinking about and wondering, "When should I blanket my horse?" and "What weight of blanket does my horse need?", here are some things to consider and guide you.

Winter horse blankets are designed to keep your horses warm in the cold, wind, rain and snow, and they come in many different types and styles. Horse turnout blankets are intended for outdoor use and are durable, waterproof, breathable, and can withstand the rigors of play. See our list of Top Horse Turnout Blankets from Saxon, Tough 1, Mio, and WeatherBeeta.

Stable blankets are another common type of horse blanket and they are designed for indoor stable use only. If you 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 only water-resistant, 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, which is determined by the grams of fill in the blanket. Lightweight horse turnout blankets have up to 150g, medium-weight horse turnout blankets have up to 250g, and heavyweight horse blankets have anywhere from 300 to 400g of fill. The weight of the blanket should be taken into consideration when choosing a blanket based on your local climate, horse’s constitution, and whether or not your horse’s coat is clipped.

When does your horse need a blanket?

A healthy, acclimated horse with the correct amount of feed and a well-maintained, thick winter coat may not need a blanket at all as a thick coat can provide plenty of insulation. These horses can still benefit from turnout sheets to keep them dry on top of their natural coat. Horses that have been clipped or have thinner coats should be blanketed as they lack this natural barrier. Another determining factor is the horse’s weight or health. Underweight horses, senior horses, or those with additional health concerns cannot produce enough natural insulation or body heat and require blanketing during these cold months. Additionally, if you work your horse throughout the colder months and would like him not to grow a thick winter coat, consider preemptively blanketing as the temperatures decrease to keep him from growing in an extra winter coat.

As a general rule of thumb for those without thick coats, when temperatures dip below 50°F and your horse is not clipped, a lightweight blanket with about 100g of fill is appropriate. Below 40°F, a lightweight to medium-weight blanket with 150-250g of fill will keep your horse warm. Temperatures between 20° and 30°F will need a medium-weight to heavyweight horse blanket and below 20°F will require a heavyweight turnout blanket or extra heavy blanket with 300-400g of polyfill. For horses that have been full-body clipped, you will need to blanket more heavily. Between 50°-60°F, a clipped horse will need a lightweight turnout blanket with 100g of fill. From 40°-50°F, a lightweight to medium-weight horse blanket with 150-250g of fill is necessary and 30°-40°F a mediumweight to a heavyweight turnout blanket. When temperatures dip down to 20°-30°F, make sure your horse is warm enough with 300-400g polyfill of a heavyweight or uses a medium weight turnout blanket with a liner. Below 20°F, your clipped horse will need a heavyweight turnout blanket with a liner to stay warm.

If you are still looking for information on and suggestions for more great winter horse blankets, including how to measure a horse for a blanket, check out our helpful Blanket Finder, Understanding Horse Blankets, and our guide on When to Blanket Your Horse.

Temperature Horse with Natural Coat Horse that is Body Clipped
50° - 60° Sheet - No fill Light Blanket (100g)
40° - 50° Light Blanket (100g) Light/Medium Blanket (150g-250g)
30° - 40° Light/Medium Blanket (150g-250g) Medium/Heavy Blanket (200g-300g)
20° - 30° Medium/Heavy Blanket (200g-300g) Heavy (300-400g) or Medium (200-300g) with Blanket Liner
Below 20° Extra Heavy (300g-400g) Heavy (300-400g) with Blanket Liner

When choosing a blanket for your horse, be sure to carefully analyze your particular situation, climate, and horse’s needs. Every horse is slightly different and you will want to check to ensure that he is warm enough and not overheating. Be sure to invest in quality blankets and maintain them per manufacturer’s instructions to prolong their use. For more guidance, check out our Horse Blanket Finder.

If you’re still looking for information on and suggestions for more great winter horse blankets, how to measure a horse for a blanket, browse our list of Top Horse Turnout Blankets, read up on Understanding and Choosing the Right Winter Horse Blanket, and also check out our guide on When to Blanket Your Horse.

  • Published:
  • Updated: 6/15/2020: 7:54:30 PM ET