Blanketing Guide: Taking the Guesswork Out of Blanketing Your Horse

As Autumn approaches, the question of whether and when to start blanketing your horse arises. There are no hard and fast rules about whether to blanket or not. In general it is the horse owner’s personal preference and the comfort of your horse. Horses have survived for centuries weathering the elements without human intervention.

Ama winterHuman intervention is the key point here. We have intervened into the natural state of the horse’s way of being. We have taken the care of the horse into our lives and in doing that become their guardians on a daily basis. By taking responsibility for their shelter, feeding, hoof care, and general well-being, we take responsibility for their warmth and cooling.

Whether you choose to blanket or not, there are several factors to take into consideration. These include: the age and coat of the horse, living and training conditions, and general use of the horse. The current temperature and weather conditions will guide you as to the perfect time to blanket or not.

Recommended times to blanket your horse:

  • Elderly or ill horses fair better in colder temperatures with blanketing.
  • Clipped horses require blanketing in colder temperatures.
  • When your horse is cold.

Recommended times when it’s ok to not blanket your horse:

  • Healthy horses with a full or medium coat.
  • Horses acclimated to the temperature zone.
  • When your horse is comfortable without blanketing.

When you choose to blanket or when your horse is feeling the chill, follow these general guidelines to keep your horse warm and comfortable:

 

Blanket Weight to Maintain Current Coat
Full or Medium Coat Short Coat or Clipped Blanket Weight
30ºF to 50ºF 50ºF Sheet
15ºF to 30ºF 30ºF to 50ºF Midweight Blanket
Subzero to 15ºF 15ºF to 30ºF Heavyweight Blanket
Subzero to 15ºF Extra Heavyweight Blanket
Blanket Weight to Improve or Shed Out Coat
(In general, blanket 5?F to 10?F sooner based on specific horse needs)
Full or Medium Coat Short Coat or Clipped Blanket Weight
45ºF 60ºF Sheet
30ºF to 45ºF 40ºF to 60ºF Midweight Blanket
15ºF to 30ºF 20ºF to 40ºF Heavyweight Blanket
Subzero to 15ºF Subzero to 20ºF Extra Heavyweight Blanket

Overall, blanketing is NOT a set it and forget it decision. Be aware of the daily temperatures. In Autumn and Spring, temperatures can fluctuate regularly. Daytime and nighttime temperatures often require a different blanket weight for your horse to maintain a consistent level of warmth. It does not take long for an over-blanketed horse to overheat. Be prepared to switch blankets or pull them entirely for the comfort of your horse.

 

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