When it comes to dressing for winter, coats, scarves, hat and gloves– we don’t hesitate to bundle up. Maybe we take it a step further and add multiple layers of clothing, or wear wool socks under heavy boots. For those in cold and windy climates, a face mask may be added to keep the face safe from blistering winds. But what about our horses?
As animals that have a naturally wild instinct and thick fur, we tend to forget that they get cold just as we do. We may throw a horse blanket on them and think that is all they need, but does one blanket protect them from the winter weather?
For this winter season, we explore the best horse blankets out there for winter, and what kind of blanket should be used based on your personal climate.
To know how warm a blanket is going to keep your horse, you want to look at the number of fill a blanket has. The fill can be made of either Polyfill or Fiberfill. The higher the weight number, the warmer the blanket is going to be. There are a few things you want to keep in mind before deciding on how heavy of a blanket you will get – does your horse have a thin or thick coat? Do you give him a mid-winter body clip? Is he going out in the field during the day and in at night, or is he staying outside completely? Think also about how harsh your winter typically is. Is it a drier winter, or do you have a lot of rain and/or harsh winds?
|No Fill||Protection from wind and rain|
|100 grams||Light Warmth|
|150 grams||Light/Medium Warmth|
|200 grams||Medium Warmth|
|250 grams||Medium/Heavy Warmth|
|300 grams||Heavy Warmth|
|400 grams||Extra Heavy Warmth|
|Temperature||Horse that has a natural coat||Horse that is body clipped|
|50-60 degrees||Sheet||Light Blanket (100g)|
|40-50 degrees||Light Blanket (100g)||Light/Medium (150-250g)|
|30-40 degrees||Light/Medium Blanket (150-250g)||Medium/Heavy (200-300g)|
|20-30 degrees||Medium/Heavy Blanket (200-300g)||Heavy (300-400g) or Medium (200-300g) with Blanket Liner|
|Below 20 degrees||Heavy Blanket (300-400g)||Heavy (300-400g) with a Blanket Liner|
When researching for blankets, I found that many people don’t review blankets after purchasing. While reviews were positive, there were only 1-2 per product. There are many websites where blankets can be purchased, even on Amazon. However, it was easiest to search for blankets on Dover Saddlery website, because you can select the price range you are looking at and how much fill you want. If you have a local saddlery in your area, I would recommend giving them a visit to see what they have in stock first. Supporting your local businesses, especially Saddlery’s that seem to be having a hard time going against big companies like Dover, is always a great idea.
With some web searching, these are the top blankets I found for under $200:
Sheet – WeatherBeeta Freestyle Blanket 1200D Standard Neck Lite – $149.97
This light blanket, with no fill, has a high denier (thickness of outer coating) to keep your horse protected from the wind and rain. A comfort mesh lining is underneath, with a Freestyle gusset, cupped shoulder dart, full wrap tail flap, convenient Quick Clip front closure, exclusive Wither Relief Pad and removable web/elastic leg straps.
Buy it here.
Light/Medium – Rhino® Originals Medium $105.45
Reviews listed the Rhino blankets as ones that last a very long time, so for under $200, this blanket is a steal! There is waterproof and breathable barrier technology, 200 grams of polyester fill and a coat-smoothing polyester lining. The blanket is also designed with the horse’s shape in mind. It has Front Leg Arches™ to fit the horse’s contours and prevent gathering around the legs.
Buy it here.
Medium/Heavy – Amigo® Bravo 12 Plus Medium Weight Turnout Blanket $119.95
This medium/heavy weight Amigo blanket has all the great features that horseware has to offer, such as the Front Leg Arches™ that wrap around for extra cover, along with the new V-front closure. The V-front closure prevents blanket tightness around the shoulders and allows your horse to graze without restraint, while angled clips allow for easy on/off. There is also the removable neck piece that has 180 gram fill for extra protection during colder days.
Buy it here.
Heavy – Amigo® Bravo 12 Plus Heavy Turnout Blanket $179.95
Similar to the mid-weight blanket above, the heavy Amigo Bravo, with a 400 gram fill, also contains the Front Leg Arches™ that wrap around for extra cover, along with the new V-front closure. The V-front closure prevents blanket tightness around the shoulders and allows your horse to graze without restraint, while angled clips allow for easy on/off. There is also the removable neck piece that has 150 gram fill for extra protection during colder days.
Buy it here.
Blanket Liner – Horseware Blanket Liner 100g – $64.95
A blanket liner is used as a way to add more warmth under a regular blanket. This is best for colder climates, and eliminates the need for two full blankets. This liner fits under any compatible blanket that has a liner system. Easy to take off and throw in the wash machine, the liner attaches by Velcro loops to the neck area of the outer blanket, and clips onto the back corners to prevent the liner from slipping.
Buy it here.
I personally favor Horseware blankets, whether they be Amigo or Rhino. Horseware also makes Rambo and Mio brands for an even greater selection. Reviews for any of these blankets attest to their durability, and the price tag is usually just right.
Plan to spend at least $100.00 for a good blanket that will hold up, and take into consideration a few things: size, material, waterproof, tear resistance, breathability, shoulder gussets, covered neck and insulation.
When you are looking for materials on the outside of the blanket, nylon is going to be the most durable, abrasion resistant and easy to clean. Most blankets are going to fit similar, in that they are made to fit chest to rump, but it is the extra advantages of each blanket, and horse dependent, on which blanket to choose.
At the end of the day, if nothing on this blanket guide works for you, ask around your barn and see what the general consensus is on a favorite blanket. Happy shopping!