The right stuff
You want the best for your horse, especially when it comes to comfort and health. However, how do you know what’s the best blanket for your horse?
4 things to keep in mind
While there are many blanket manufacturers and variations on the blanket, there are four key items to be aware of. This includes, understanding what denier is, the difference between turnouts and stable blankets, fill content, and fit.
- Turnouts are waterproof; stable blankets are not.
- Denier is important - the higher the number, the stronger the fabric.
- The more fill, the warmer the blanket
- Fit is important. That’s why it’s paramount to measure properly.
1. Turnouts versus stable blankets
Which blanket is right for my horse?
Turnout blankets (or turnout rugs) are designed for horses that spend a lot of time outdoors.
These blankets are fitted with straps for the belly, chest, and legs; whereas on stable blankets, straps are optional (though highly recommended for safety). When you want a blanket for your horse that is waterproof, turnout blankets are the choice for you, as they are meant for the outdoors.
Turnout blankets are made of fabric that’s durable, waterproof, and lined with quilting. It's important to select a turnout blanket that breathes; luckily, most do. It’s important that perspiration is able to evaporate so your horse doesn’t get cold.
Turnout blankets are designed to keep your horse:
Check out The Wire Horse’s wide variety of turnout blanlets HERE.
Stable blankets (also called horse blankets or night blankets) are designed specifically for use inside the barn.
Stable blankets are typically thick and warm.
Typically stable blankets are made from a much lighter fabric than turnout blankets. This is because stable blankets aren’t designed for the wear and tear that a turnout blanket requires.
Some stable blankets are made from a water-resistant material; most are not. Stable blankets come with and without leg straps designed to prevent shifting.
Check out The Wire Horse’s wide variety of stable blankets HERE.
Denier (D) is a unit of measurement that refers to nylon fiber density.
Fabrics with a higher denier are typically less prone to ripping and snagging. Fabrics with a low denier count are typically sheer, soft, and silky.
1200D is considered a high denier, indicating a horse blanket is more durable and water resistant.Note: waterproof blankets have an additional coating.
Fill is measured in grams or ounces. Stable blankets can be lightweight, medium, or heavyweight.
- Lightweight sheet – 0g (no fill)
- Medium blanket – 150-225g of fill
- Heavyweight blanket – 250-370g of fill
- Stable blankets for harsh conditions can have up to 400g of fill.
Note: A heavier blanket doesn’t always equate to a warmer blanket.
Fill power measures the space down creates when allowed to reach its maximum loft, measured in in3/oz. The higher the fill power, the lighter, fluffier, and more insulated. Down fills range from 550- 800+. 650-750 is high quality; 800+ is the best.
Don’t overdo it!
Be sure not to select a stable blanket that will make your horse too warm. If your horse becomes overheated it will sweat. This will cause your horse to become chilled, increasing the risk of pneumonia or other respiratory infections.
Today’s blankets are much warmer than traditional wool and cotton blankets. Synthetics are warm, water repellent, windproof, less bulky, won’t chafe against your horse’s skin, and won’t flatten your horse’s coat.
4. Fit: How to measure properly:
A horse blanket must fit correctly. A horse blanket that doesn’t fit rubs your horse, which can hurt. A horse blanket that is too tight irritates skin and could cause your horse to develop abrasions and sores. A blanket too large can slip off. The horse could then get its legs tangled in the blanket’s straps and possibly be injured.
Blanket sizes vary by manufacturer, but here is a guide that explains the proper way to measure a horse and will get you in the ballpark. From there, you can fine tune to give your horse the perfect fit.
Horse blankets come in 3-inch intervals, such as 4'3", 4'6", and 4'9.”Aim for a perfect fit, but know that most horses won’t fit exactly into one size. In this case, go with the bigger size.If your horse has a wide chest or thick neck, look for blankets cut deeper in the neck area or with wide gussets in the shoulder.
You want to measure from the center of the breast, along the side of the horse, until you reach the tail. Make sure to measure over widest part of the shoulder and hip, angling your measuring tool up toward the tail.
Once you have your horse blanket, put it on in the front first, then slide it back into position. This ensures you don’t pull your horse’s coat the wrong way. Now your horse is ready for winter!
Just as we have brands of jeans that fit us better regardless of correct size, turnout rugs and horse blankets come in different cuts. Most manufacturers have sizing charts.
For a horse with a body that is difficult to fit, consider having a blanket altered.
Have questions about stable blankets or turnouts? The Wire Horse is here to help! Call us, contact us, or stop in to talk to our knowledgeable staff about your horse’s living environment and the appropriate blanket for their living conditions.