Horse blanket buying guide
This once-confusing shopping spree will now be a piece of cake for you! I have translated all of the crazy blanket jargon and lingo into a horse blanket buying guide. And, if all else fails, buy one of everything in all of your favorite colors.
Anti-sweat sheets and coolers.
- These sheets are designed to help get pull moisture from your horse. They can be scrim sheets, Irish knits, fleece coolers, or wool coolers.
- Scrim sheets are the thinnest, and most commonly used to protect horses and tack from dust and flies at shows, although many people use them at home, too. The are made of mesh and allow lots of air circulation.
A scrim sheet “in action”
Close-up of a scrim sheet. And also a wonderful tail braid.
- Irish knits are thick cotton sheets with a large weave, great for use in the summer after your horse has a bath. They work to soak moisture away from your horse, but if it is saturated, the knit may become saturated and not do much more.
- Irish knits are best for summertime, in the winter they would allow the moisture to stay against your horse.
An Irish knit’s weave. Airy! Not so good for winter.
- Coolers (wool and fleece) are excellent at wicking moisture from your horse, and therefore super in the winter, your horse stays warm under the cooler as he dries.
- Fleece coolers are inexpensive and can be washed in your washer. Wool coolers are the best for wicking moisture, but can’t be used in a washing machine. You need to hand wash a wool cooler.
- Quarter sheets are like bibs that your horse wears over his rump while you ride.
- This helps him stay warm as you groom, keeps the chill away as you do your warm-up walking, and helps him cool down after a ride. The beauty of a quarter sheet is the fit, designed to be used while you are in the saddle. Quarter sheets come in just about every fabric imaginable, including fleece and waterproof materials for rainy days.
- The weight of quarter sheets varies greatly. You may prefer a heavier weight or one that is lined, as they do better in wind and at speed.
This quarter sheet is a bit modified so your horse can wear it without you in the saddle, and not get shoulder rubs. The “arms” of the quarter sheet wrap around the rider to stay put when you are up there. Also good for keeping your thighs warm.
- Rain sheets are thin waterproof sheets that may or may not have a liner, and definitely, don’t have any fill.
- Some of the “fancier” models can cover your horse from ears to tail, some rain sheets are designed to cover your saddle but have holes for the stirrups to come through, some models of rain sheets are similar to a plain blanket.
- Stable blankets are NOT waterproof by any stretch of the imagination. The fabric is also typically soft, and therefore not suitable for outside wear, shenanigans, or horses that have a tendency to “do things” to their blankets.
- Stable blankets usually have fewer straps and buckles than a turnout sheet. A horse doing acrobatics in one of these will typically rearrange their stable blanket.
- Stable blankets come in all weights, from light sheets to heavy-weight styles.
Turn out blankets or sheets
- Turn outs are designed to be a little tougher, they have an outside shell and an inner liner, holding a lot or a little bit of comfy and warm fill.
- As they are designed for outdoor use, they are also snugly fitted, with loads of snaps and buckles for a perfect fit that is less likely to rearrange.
Matchy turnout blankets. Extra straps, reflective bums, and super tough exterior for outside life.
- It should be noted that any time your horse is outside and wearing a blanket, it should be waterproof JUST IN CASE.
- On those lines, it’s totally acceptable to have your horse dressed in a turnout while he’s inside but keep the stable blankets for inside use only.
Many fancy things to consider!
Factors to consider when horse blanket shopping
- DENIER is a technical fabric industry number, know that the higher the number (up to 2100), the more water and wind and weatherproof it is.
- The FILL is how many grams of fluffy warmth, from 100 to 400 g. Think 400g for an actual northern winter, think 100g (or less) for a south Florida winter.
- Of course, factor in your horse’s actual hair coat and climate, too. Learn more about these fascinating numbers here, in Blanketing 101.
- Consider layering blankets of lighter weights in climates with large temperature swings during the day. This is often easier than taking off a heavy and replacing ith with a medium or light and vice versa. Layering also saves you some dollars, as you will likely never need to buy a heavy-weight blanket.
Styles and options on horse blankets
- Some blankets have neckpieces for those particularly horrid days. Neckpieces can essentially turn your medium-weight blanket into a heavy-weight. It’s the difference between shorts and jeans, or long sleeves vs. short sleeves.
- Other blanket styles have belly bands to keep naked bellies warm. and help with stain repelling if your horse finds manure is a handy pillow.
- Some blankets have a higher cut up the neck, which may reduce mane rubbing. Any neck opening should not be able to slide behind the withers and get caught.
- Be sure to measure for a good fit. Gussets are placed differently between styles, and this allows for more, or less, shoulder movement. Also, consider the type of leg straps. Are they around the hind legs or under the tail? Sometimes, the urine stream hits the strap under the tail for mares. Leg straps are usually better in this case.
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Amigo Mio Fly sheet – I love this one, the extra long tail prevents bugs up the butt, and the neckpiece is great. It’s also super light, which means it tears easily.