I want you to consider this a beginners introduction to horse blankets.
Horse Blankets are generally used during the winter, spring and fall.
It was winter back when I first started riding horses. When I would go to the barn for my lesson the horses had blankets on.
I thought that was odd because a blanket could certainly not keep the horses warm? In fact some horses had two or three blankets on.
Well, I’ve learned quite a bit about horse blankets since then. One question that I get asked often is “with all that hair what do they need horse blankets for?”
That’s a fair question, and I’ll attempt to answer it the simplest way I can.
Horses are more than capable of going all season long, and in all kinds of weather, without blankets. As long as they have some shelter to get in out of the nasty weather they are fine.
If you think of a horse in the wild, you will realize that they are able to regulate their body temperature comfortably. We have taken them out of their natural environment.
Since our horses don’t always have a choice of where to go for shelter we should make sure to provide them with a nice turnout blanket. This Shires Stormbreaker 2100D Medium Weight turnout blanket is waterproof and breathable as well as VERY durable.
We ask our horses to perform for us in many ways, including riding. When they go through their paces they can work up a sweat.
You never want to put a horse away when they are warm, sweaty or hot. If this happens they can become very ill.
Another reason we use horse blankets is to try to “trick” our horses into not growing their hair long.
If your horse is body clipped, or has a short, fine coat you will want to purchase a heavier weight blanket to keep them warm.
The Rambo Original Turnout Blanket is an extremely well made classic. It can do double duty as both a turnout and a stable blanket.
It is also very warm, with 370 gms. of fiberfill. The company is so confident that these horse blankets will hold up that they are willing to guarantee them for three years!
They grow hair not only because of temperature change, but also because of daylight changes. When the days start getting longer the temperatures start to rise.
In 1980 a study was held at Texas A&M by Householder and Hodge on the theory of Extended Day Regimen (ED). They proved that changes in hair growth occurred, on younger horses, by changing the length of time they were subjected to light.
They had a number of horses placed under ED lights while others were left with natural light. After the study, the horses on natural light had roughly 3X longer hair than the horses under artificial ED light.
If your horse’s hair is long he will get sweaty when worked and take a long time to cool down. You must make sure they are not hot, or even slightly warm, before you put them away.
It’s very important that you remain aware of this. Just like any athlete, to cool your horse down you need to walk him.
It is a very good idea to own a horse cooler. Coolers help wick away moisture (sweat) and keep your horse from being chilled while cooling down.
The Horseware Amigo Mio Fleece Cooler is a reasonably priced and nice looking cooler for everyday use.
You can spend well over 30 minutes walking your horse to cool them off properly. Don’t cut any corners here. Walk and walk and walk. You may even need to towel dry damp hair.
Don’t worry about over walking, it is far better to walk too much than too little.
I hope I have been able to shed a little light on why we use horse blankets!