As the temperatures drop and we begin the change into our winter wardrobes, one goal is on our mind: warmth. We have different vests and sweaters, and maybe a waterproof coat or two all designated to keep us warm and protected from the elements. Our winter wardrobes are sort of like a closet of their own. Just as we make these changes ourselves, it is important to focus on the closets of our horses. Similar to us, all horses are different and need a few different pieces in their closets to combat the elements.
Your horse’s winter wardrobe will depend on your intentions as a rider throughout the colder weather. What is your horse’s workload and exercise schedule during the winter months? Do they live outside or inside? Are they clipped or are they au natural? These are all factors to take into consideration when buying sheets and blankets for your horse. Most importantly, it is all about the best fit for your horse and not about the brand.
Let’s start with the basics. Each horse should have clothes for inside and outside- in the same way you or I do. Generally speaking, a horse’s indoor and outdoor winter wardrobe should consist of:
- A sheet
- A medium weight blanket
- A heavy weight blanket
Beval Gladstone Sheet (Top)
Beval Gladstone Stable Blanket (Bottom – Available in Medium & Heavy Weight)
A sheet would be the horse equivalent of a long sleeve shirt, a medium represents a sweater, and a heavy would translate into a sweatshirt or jacket. Their outdoor wardrobe should consist of the three same weights, but must be waterproof. If your horse lives outdoors, then we suggest only purchasing items that are waterproof and intended for turnout.
Beval Gladstone Turnout (Waterproof)
All items, regardless of whether they are indoors or outdoors, should be comfortable and provide a secure enough fit, so that there is no pressure on the withers or the horse’s shoulders. This is imperative in preventing blanket sores and discomfort. If your horse has sensitive withers, then perhaps consider a blanket with fleece or some padding on the withers. If their shoulder is large or they have a large stride, a shoulder gusset within the blanket will allow them the room and freedom of movement they need in their stall or in turnout. In terms of length, it is important that when secured on the chest, that the blanket covers the horse’s rump fully and lies easily at the dock of the tail.
With the winter wardrobe pieces best suited for your horse picked out, one must figure out which one is needed, and when. Generally speaking, here are some temperature guidelines for sheeting or blanketing as temperatures drop:
- 55- 45 degrees: Sheets
- 45- 35 degrees: Medium blankets
- 35 or below: Heavy blankets
Moving off this rule of thumb, you can adjust for your horse’s specific needs. If they are clipped, add a layer when temperatures drop rather than replacing said layer (i.e. put the medium weight blanket over the stable sheet). If your horse lives outside, it is customary to blanket them on the warmer side to protect from the elements. However, if your horse goes from inside to outside, it is important that they have a waterproof turnout blanket on to ensure the stable blankets do not get wet. Once inside, switching out wet blankets for dry blankets will not only make your horse happy, but also will prevent them from catching cold with all the additional moisture. In the same way you would never put a horse away wet after a workout, you would not put them away with a wet blanket.
So, how do you know if your horse is blanketed appropriately? When temperatures shift, stick your hand in-between the horse’s hair and their first layer. They should be warm enough that you are almost tempted to hop in and join them. Don’t feel the warmth? Add a layer. Are they too warm or maybe even a little sticky/sweaty? Remove a layer. Do you or your barn manager keep walking in to your horses stall to find blankets shredded or on the ground? That is your horse telling you he is too warm. It is about learning if your horse runs hot or cold and then adjusting to their personal preferences.
Remember, each horse is different and that is important to take into consideration when figuring out what blankets will best suit them. Beval has a wide variety of stable sheets & blankets as well as turnout sheets & blankets, so we are positive we can help with your needs. Still have some questions or want additional clarity on blankets? Feel free to reach out to us at 1 (800) 524-0136.
You can shop our favorite blankets brands on the site:
- Beval Gladstone
- 5/A Baker