With Fall already upon us, it’s time to dust off your horse’s blankets and make sure you’re prepared for the cold. With the overwhelming amount of options on the market today, we wanted to give you a few basic rules to follow when deciding how and when to blanket your favorite equine.
Horses are used to living outdoors. They grow impressive coats when it’s cold out to help insulate against the chill. Much like a concerned mother, we tend to bundle our horses when we feel cold, forgetting the fact that they are much better adapted to chilly temps than we are.
To take the guess work out of blanketing, here are some basic guidelines.
Keep in mind that horses that are turned out have the ability to move around to increase their body temperature. As a result, stabled horses often need slightly more blanketing. In addition, horses with 24/7 access to hay or grass are better able to maintain their body warmth via digestion.
Un-clipped, Turned-out Horses:
Above 60° – Nothing!
50°-60° – Nothing! If raining, a no-fill turnout sheet is acceptable
30°-50° – Lightweight turnout sheet, or nothing
10°-30° – Mid weight turnout blanket, or nothing
0°-10° – Heavy weight turnout blanket
-10°-0° – Heavy weight turnout blanket with hood
Notes about un-clipped, turned out horses: Lighter blanketing will encourage the horse’s coat to grow longer and more densely. Many turned-out horses are perfectly fine without any blanketing all the way down to 10°F! Make sure that hay or grass is always available, and that your horse has a steady supply of clean, unfrozen drinking water; both of which are critical in keeping your horse warm and happy.
Clipped, Turned-out Horses:
Above 60° – Nothing, or light sheet if raining or windy
50°-60° – Lightweight turnout sheet
40°-50° – Mid weight turnout blanket
30°-40° – Mid weight turnout blanket with neck cover
10°-30° – Heavy weight turnout blanket with neck cover
0°-10° – Heavy weight turnout blanket with hood and possible additional layer
-10°-0° – Heavy weight turnout blanket hood and additional layer
Un-Clipped, Stabled Horses:
Above 60° – Nothing!
40°-60° – Nothing!
30°-40° – Lightweight stable blanket
20°-30° – Mid weight stable blanket
10°-20° – Mid weight or heavy weight stable blanket
0°-10° – Heavy weight stable blanket
-10°-0° – Heavy weight stable blanket, possibly with additional layer
Clipped, Stabled Horses:
Above 60° – Nothing, or light sheet
50°-60° – Lightweight blanket
40°-50° – Mid weight blanket
30°-40° – Mid weight blanket, possibly with additional layer
10°-30° – Heavy weight blanket, possibly with additional layer
0°-10° – Heavy weight stable blanket with hood
-10°-0° – Heavy weight stable blanket, possibly with additional layer, with hood
What exactly is “fill”?
With all this talk of lightweight or heavy weight, fill, grams, and layers, it can get a bit confusing. Here are the basics:
Fill: refers to the amount of “stuffing” used to keep the horse warm. Usually comprised of a fiber blend that is formulated for maximum heat retention. Measured in grams. More fill = A warmer horse.
Sheet/0g/No Fill – all of these mean the same thing, a sheet with no added padding. Generally these terms refer to a waterproof turnout sheet (essentially a rain jacket)
Lightweight – can either refer to a no-fill sheet, or any amount of fill up to 150g
Mid Weight – any amount of fill up to 250g
Heavy Weight – any amount of fill 300g or above (generally no more than 450g)
We hope this guide makes blanketing easy this season!
Check out our complete selection of blankets online at www.olsonstack.com or stop by the store and let our highly trained staff help you find the perfect item.