Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blankets and Blanketing Explained

In honor of the great winter weather we have been having and the current blanket 
sales going on I have decided to write about blankets and blanketing today.

Question 1: Do I need to blanket my horse? 

Answer: Unless your horse is body clipped he should be able to do fine without
a blanket.  Some breeds are less tolerant to cold such as the Arabian and
Thoroughbreds.  Some horses don’t put on a thick winter coat and might need a
little help. Mares as with woman have more body fat and are generally more
tolerant to the cold than geldings and stallions.  Young and older horses are at
greater risk and may require blanketing.  Every horse is unique.

Question 2: Do you blanket your horses, if so when? 

Answer: Yes I do blanket my horses’, they each have two blankets
(turnout sheet and midweight turnout).  When it is dry I blanket when it
will be in the 30s or lower for an extended period of time.  When it is
wet and above 50 degrees I do not blanket.  When it is wet and it below 50s I
blanket according to the horses’ needs.  My gelding Charlie always needs his
blanket before my mare Pie.  When it is raining and 40s or below I always 

Question 3: Can I blanket my horses wet? 

Answer: Yes, if the blanket is breathable and waterproof (can only be breathable
if you horse will stalled or otherwise removed from the rain).  DO NOT blanket
your horse in wet weather if your blanket is not waterproof, think about the last
time you got soaked to the bone and was not able to change clothes, your horse
can’t take off the blanket without your help.  Note: over time your waterproof
coating can wear away so it is important that you check blankets regularly,
and wash them using a product made for horse blankets to further preserve the

Question 4: Can I just leave my blanket on throughout the winter? 

Answer: No, especially in a climate like Texas where it can be 80s one day and
20s the next.  Most horses already put on a fair amount of winter coat, and
do not need a blanket 24/7.  You also need to check your blankets for fit,
waterproofing, and the horse’s skin for any problems on a regular basis. 
Covering any part of the body for an extended time can result in skin 
issues, and sunlight/air is a great preventative for most minor skin problems. If
you have ever worn a cast before, you can probably remember how it felt the
day you got it removed and how your skin looked in comparison.

Question 5: What is the difference between a turnout and a stable blanket? 

Answer: A turnout blanket is generally waterproof, more durable, and
made to be worn in the elements.  A stable blanket is not waterproof or as
durable as a turnout.

Question 6: What is 240D, 600D, 1200D? 

Answer: D= Denier or how durable a blanket will be (this also depends on
the horse who will be wearing it and the other horses around).

420D- Light Durability- recommended for spring/fall when grass is available
and horse does not test blanket.

600D- Standard Durability- Recommended for horses easy on blankets. 
Occasional or monitored turnout.

1200D Polyester or Ripstop Nylon- Superior Durability- Recommended
to withstand the demands of turnout.

1680D Ballistic Nylon/1800D Polyester- Exceptional Durability- Recommended
for horses that are hard on blankets or turned out with other horses who may bite
or pull a blanket.

Question 7: What weight blanket do I need? 

Answer: It depends on your horse’s coat, cold tolerance, and your average
winter temperatures.  Living in Texas my horses both have a midweight blanket
and a waterproof sheet, in extreme weather I can use the sheet to layer with for
more protection.
Warmth of Blanket
Short Coat/Clipped
Medium/Full Coat
Extra Heavyweight
Subzero - 15F

15F – 30F
Subzero – 15F
30F – 50F
15F – 30F
50F +
30F +

Question 8: What if I only want to buy one blanket? 

Answer: Buy a waterproof turnout blanket/sheet based on average temperatures
in your area.  Turnout blankets can always be worn in the barn but stable blankets
should never be worn in the pasture.  Buy 1200D or higher.

Question 9: How do I measure for a blanket? 

Answer: Most of the time you measure from the center of the chest to the center of
the tail.  Not all blankets are measured the same so do your research on the brand
that you are looking to buy as with clothes; one brand’s 6 is another brand’s 8. 
Your blanket should fit your horse properly and not be too big or too small
both of which are uncomfortable.  A blanket that is too big or very ill fitting can be
dangerous as the horse may get tangled up.

Now is a great time to buy blankets if you are in the market for one. 
My favorite places to find blankets are:


  1. Dear Pie -- Great synopsis! Can you please comment on how to blanket and unblanket safely?

  2. Thanks for the feedback :). I will make your suggestion one of next week's topics.