It’s wintertime again, so put on your coats and let’s pretend that we’re all not dreading the freezing cold again! The temperature is dropping, and the fuzzy coats are making an appearance. For new horse owners and veterans of equestrian alike, you’ll find yourself asking the following questions. Maybe several times this season!
When should I start blanketing my horse?
This is an excellent question, with a definitive answer of “it depends.” Much like people, all horses will feel the cold differently. You need to consider several factors when the temperature drops such as the horse’s living environment, shelter access, if they’re clipped, and weather conditions. The horse’s level of work, age, weight, and overall condition should also be taken into account.
What blanket weight should I use?
If you didn’t care for the last answer, you may not like this one either. It also depends. Largely for the same reasons. Your horse’s breed and condition may help you to select the correct weight. Horses with more natural insulation may not need the same level of protection from the cold as horses with a finer build and/or a thinner coat. Don’t be surprised if you see the thoroughbreds and the quarter horses of your stable wearing two very different blankets!
WeatherBeeta has an extensive range of blankets with different neck styles and levels of warmth, not to mention the ComFiTec Liner System. This feature can now be found in the Plus Dynamic II, Premier Free II and Ultra II ranges, enabling you to easily adjust and personalize the weight of the blanket you choose for your horse.
Let’s answer the question you might be afraid to ask. The “weight” of the blanket is a measurement of insulation from the cold. A lite blanket often has little or no fill, making this weight a popular choice on rainy days and the very beginning and end of blanketing season. Medium and Heavy weight blankets have proportionally more fill and will therefore provide increased levels of insulation from the cold and wind. For a better idea of all the blanket weights WeatherBeeta offers, here’s a handy guide to our turnout blanket weights:
WeatherBeeta Blanket Weights Conversion Guide
|Weight||Grams (g) Polyfil|
How do I choose the fit of the blanket and prevent rubs?
Measure Your Horse
A well fitted blanket should not rub your horse. If you are finding blanket rubs on your horse, consider both the size and cut of the blanket. Measure your horse by running a tape measure from the center of their chest, around the side of their body, to the rear of the horse where the blanket should stop. This measurement in inches is the WeatherBeeta blanket size you should look for (We certainly hope you’ll choose a WeatherBeeta, however it should be noted that other manufacturers may measure differently for their blankets).
Consider Cut and Style of the Blanket
Next you should consider the cut and style of the blanket. A horse with a broad chest and low withers may not be comfortable in the same blanket as a narrow horse with high withers. At WeatherBeeta we offer a range of different blankets style with features that will allow you to obtain the best fit for your horse’s shape. Styles that feature the Forward Position Freedom Gusset, found in blankets such as the ComFiTec Premier Free II, may be better suited to horses with wide shoulders. The Memory Foam Wither Relief Pad found in many WeatherBeeta turnout blankets is particularly beneficial to relieving pressure on horses with high withers.
Neck styles should not just be chosen on preference, but on how the style will fit and affect your horse. Standard neck, high neck, combo neck, or detach-a-neck – these styles all have something to offer in terms of warmth, fit, and convenience. More coverage means more protection from the elements, but the neck style can also affect how the blanket sits on your horse.
Shoulder guards can be used under blankets to help eliminate rubs but remember you might be treating the symptom and not the cause of the problem.
To Clip or Not to Clip?
What an excellent question! The decision to clip or not clip your horse will come down to the horse’s build and activity level during the winter. If you do decide to clip, you will need to factor the lost hair into your blanketing decisions. By removing any portion of the horse’s winter coat, you are removing their natural insulation against the cold, which will need to be replaced in the form of a blanket, and you may find yourself selecting a heavier blanket for your horse depending on how much of their coat has been removed for the season.
Should I change my horse’s blankets when they come in from turnout?
We generally recommend either changing your horse’s blankets or inspecting beneath the blanket when your horse comes in from turnout. Not only can the temperature between the stable and the paddock be different enough to warrant a blanket change – but this gives you an opportunity to ensure that nothing untoward has happened to your horse during turnout. Check for rubs and injuries that could be hidden beneath your horse’s blanket.
When you bring your horse in from the paddock on a cold or wet day an extra layer or a dry blanket may be necessary. Slip a stable blanket, such as the WeatherBeeta ComFiTec 210D Channel Quilt or even a WeatherBeeta ComFiTec Liner, available in a range of weights, under the turnout blanket to ensure your horse is warm and comfortable. A fleece cooler is another good option after bringing your horse in, especially if you intend to tack up and ride! The WeatherBeeta Therapy-Tec Fleece Cooler can stimulate circulation, helpful before a ride, and the Combo Neck Fleece Cooler rather resemble a cozy pair of pajamas.
Once you’ve determined which blankets you want to use for your horse and when, consider making a blanketing chart for your horse with temperatures and blanket weights. Should you ever need a barn mate to check in on your horse for you, they need only reference your custom blanketing chart to care for your horse’s blanketing needs in your absence!
Ready to find your perfect WeatherBeeta? Select your new blanket by browsing our guide: https://www.weatherbeeta.com/equus-wb