Best Horse Blankets in 2020 – Turnout & Stable

There are a couple of humorous comics that have made their rounds around the Internet a number of times. Two horses with long, shaggy fur look at another horse with three blankets and a hood. All three are standing in a paddock with mud on the ground, but no snow. One of the shaggy horses asks the blanketed beast, “Why are you all dressed up like that?” The other horse replies, “My mom was cold.”

There is another one with two horse owners leading their horses down the barn aisle. One horse has an au naturel winter coat with no horseshoes, and the woman leading him wears simple barn clothes. The other horse has a thick stable blanket layered over a fleece cooler with insulated stall boots, the owner wearing brand name English riding gear. Both riders have the same words filling their thought bubbles: “Poor horse.” While there is some truth to these jokes, blanketing is a concern for all horse owners who are not blessed to live in a climate where the temperatures are moderate all year round.

Does My Horse Need a Blanket?

The decision to blanket a horse is dependent on a number of factors. The horse’s age, weight, metabolism, workload and overall health status are the main things to be considered. The horse is naturally equipped, in general, to grow a waterproof double winter coat to keep himself warm throughout the winter. This is especially true if he has unlimited access to lots of hay, which increases body heat as it is digested, more so than grain or processed feeds. However, some horses have bodies that need a little extra support to keep warm. For example, horses who are very young, especially those who were born late in the summer, who had sicknesses early in life, or who seem to struggle with slow growth and weight gain may benefit from a blanket. Similarly, older horses who lose weight easily or struggle to maintain a healthy body weight (older horses are more likely to suffer from teeth problems that make it harder for them to chew hay, so don’t forget to be extra vigilant about checking your senior horse’s eating in the winter). Horses with metabolic or immune system disorders also may benefit from the extra heat from a blanket. Horses recovering from surgery, illness, starvation or some other trauma may also need the additional protection of a blanket. Finally, a horse in heavy work throughout the winter often sweats profusely, making him prone to catching a deep chill if he is not clipped. The clipped horse has extremely limited abilities to keep himself warm, and needs some sort of blanketing system to prevent hypothermia.

So, What Kind of Blanket Do I Need?

The first thing to assess is how much winter coat your horse has and how cold your winter will be. Then look at the blanket’s fill, measured in grams from 100 grams to over 300 grams.  If your horse will be living primarily in a stall, he may be able to do fine with a stable blanket with appropriate fill. If there is a chance he will go outside in the cold and wet, however, you may want to consider a turnout blanket for him. Turnout blankets have fill as well, but they also often have a liner and a ripstop, waterproof exterior. The strength of a turnout blanket’s outer material is measured in denier: the higher the denier number, the tougher the blanket. If your horse is active in the field, has a lot of things in his turnout area to rip a blanket on, or likes to roughhouse with his buddies, it is better to invest in a high denier blanket. If you live in an area prone to wind, freezing rain, or driving snow, it may be a good idea to invest in a tail guard or hood to go with the blanket as well.

While many see these blankets as a luxury, riding horses may benefit from quarter sheets, whether wool or waterproof, during warmup and cooldown if clipped. Any riding horse that is ridden in cold weather should have a fleece or wool cooler in order to help them dry off from sweat after riding.

B Vertigo Concord Wool and Acrylic Exercise Blanket

Horze B Vertigo Concord

HorZe-Weathertrek-Riding-Sheet

HorZe Weathertrek Riding Sheet

Best Horse Blankets - Stable and Turnout, Oh My!

Here we have a compilation of the three best stable blankets and the three best turnout blankets to get you started in your search for the best pajamas for your four-legged friend:

The 3 Best Turnout Blankets

CHAMPION

Rambo Wug Heavy Turnout

When it comes to brands, the top of the line is Rambo from Horseware Ireland. While the prices are steep these blankets, such as this heavyweight, waterproof model, are unrivaled in durability, breathability, and comfort

RUNNER-UP

Premier Trio Detach-A-Neck Medium Blanket

Another brand that is known for quality, a variety of weights, and more acceptable prices. They have a variety of customizable models, including Trio Medium Blanket with a detachable neck.

RUNNER-UP

Tough-1 600D Waterproof Poly Full Neck Turnout Blanket

Finally, the brand Tough-1 is known for the best prices, especially for this high-neck turnout blanket.

The 3 Best Stable Blankets

CHAMPION

Amigo Stable Vari-Layer Plus - Heavyweight

For the stabled horse, it depends on how much winter coat your horse has. If he has a full body clip and you are in a harsh winter climate, he may benefit from a heavy stable blanket with a hood.

RUNNER-UP

Horze Nevada Medium Weight Winter Stable Blanket

On the other hand, he may be all right with a lighter model, or even a fleece cooler.  Make a decision based on the factors mentioned in this article, and pay attention to how cold he seems to be when you go to see him.

RUNNER-UP

Your Title Goes Here

On the other hand, he may be all right with a lighter model, or even a fleece cooler.  Make a decision based on the factors mentioned in this article, and pay attention to how cold he seems to be when you go to see him.

Conclusion

Decisions about blanketing a horse should be done with the horse’s welfare in mind, not just the rider’s comfort. Based on the horse’s body condition and environment, there are a variety of blankets on the market to address his needs and keep him warm and comfortable through the winter months. It is the responsibility of the owner to make sure that all care decisions are made in the best interest of the horse, and not based on trends or how something looks.

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