Choosing a winter blanket for your horse made easier with a few basic tips…
Choosing a winter blanket can be difficult and frustrating, but with a few basic tips you can choose one with confidence. First off, where does you horse live? Is the horse in a paddock, box stall, or a stall with a run? Secondly, is the horse body clipped? Thirdly, how rough is your horse on its blankets or is there a neighbor horse that reaches over and bites your horse? Finally, is your horse an easy keeper or do you have to work at keeping the weight on? With these basic questions answered, we can get started.
What size do you need? To measure for a blanket, you need to start at the center of the chest to the center of the tail. Blankets run in inches so measure your horse accordingly.
How warm should the blanket be? If your horse is in an enclosed box stall at night, chances are you won’t need a heavy blanket. A 100 gram-140 gram fill is probably enough even if it gets down to thirties at night. If your horse is in an enclosed box stall and is not body clipped a sheet is sufficient. Neither needs to be waterproof.
If your horse lives in a stall with a run and uses the opportunity to go out unsheltered, a waterproof model is advised and the fill should be around 140 to 180 grams.
If your horse is in an exposed paddock with a minimal shelter, and is fully body clipped, a California weight or medium blanket is advisable. It is important that the blanket is waterproof and breathable. The fill of the blanket should be around 200 to 300 grams even when it gets down to freezing. If the horse is not body clipped in an exposed paddock, a light blanket with a fill around 140 grams is sufficient.
What is denier? Now we come down to the toughness of the blanket. The durability stems from the denier of the outside shell of the blanket. Denier is simply the type of thread the shell is made of. The higher the number of the denier, the heavier the thread, and the higher density of the weave. (i.e. 600 denier vs 1680 denier). If your horse is notoriously tough on its clothes, or has a neighbor that tends to reach over and bite play, a higher denier is advised.
Lastly, you need to know your horse. If you tend to have an easy keeper and he/she keeps weight on easily, you can err on the lighter side of the fill. For example, my horse just breathes and puts on weight, and is extremely tough on his clothes. He lives in a pipe corral with a small shelter, and it gets in the low thirties nightly for several hours. I chose a 1680 denier with 220 fill and he is fine. If your horse tends to loose weight easily, to is safer to go a bit higher with the fill. Older horses tend to also need a bit warmer blanket. You need to adjust accordingly to meet your particular horse’s needs.
By: Marisa Miculian