Nowadays horses are highly domesticated; they have adapted themselves to live in an environment surrounded by humans. The owners provide them with extra care and protection from danger, hunger and weather. So whenever winter season arrives, equine owners pull out their winter horse blankets to protect their horses from cold and give them warmer environment.
Winter horse blankets are very useful to equine owners, although not all horses need this kind of protection. By nature the horses are adapted to survive different weather conditions. That is why there are rare cases wherein some horses might actually feel colder when blanketed. Especially, if the material used in making blankets are not that good.
That is very important when choosing winter horse blankets: When obtaining a winter horse blanket one must consider different factors like material, style and fit of the blanket, condition of the horse, cage and weather.
What You Need to Know About Winter Horse Blankets
There are two major types of winter horse blankets: the stable blanket and turnout rugs.
Stable blankets are designed to give maximum warmth and comfort. These are pretty thick and are used mostly when the horse is stable inside or outside, thus the name.
On the other hand, turnout rugs are more durable and are designed for maneuverability. These are best for horses that are active and more athletic.
Horse blankets can be made from different materials. Unlike older versions, modern horse blankets can be made from synthetic materials like nylon or natural fibers like wool or combination of both. Most blankets have different layers: outer shells, inner shells and the insulation in between. The inner layer is smooth and soft against horse’s skin and hair. This layer gives extra warmth and at the same time can keep the horse’s hair clean, soft and beautiful.
The insulating part, on the other hand keeps the warmth in while keeping cold temperature outside; this part must be light enough to prevent the horses’ coat from being flattened. The outer shell provides resistant and additional insulation, usually made of nylon fiber, making the blanket waterproof or water resistant.
Also, there are waterproof, water resistant and breathable horse blanket. Waterproof and water resistant are two totally different words when it comes to horse blankets, although it may sound as if that means the same thing.
- Water resistant horse blankets can resist water and prevent it from entering the blanket but the inner part can absorb moisture and sweat.
- On the other hand waterproof horse blankets can prevent outside water from coming in and at the same time the inside part is made not to absorb or hold moisture and sweat.
- Breathable blankets on the other hand, let the air circulate to avoid moisture build up between the horse skin and the blanket while keeping the cold out and the warmth in.
Choosing the Proper Winter Horse Blankets
Although the fiber and the type of the winter horse blanket are both very important, they could be quite worthless if the size of the blanket will not fit your horse properly. Tight fitting blankets can cause irritation and abrasion while loose fitting blankets can cause leg tangling and accidents and additionally it can’t serve its purpose of keeping your horse warm.
So before buying winter horse blankets cautiously get your horse’s measurements. With your measuring tape and a friend, measure your horse’s chest, hips, flank, shoulder and barrel. You may get odd measurements but the best solution is to get the next even size.
The next thing to do is to look for the nearest store where you can find the perfect winter horse blanket for your equine. You can find it in different niche stores online or within your community; other leading retailers also carries these products. Prices can go as low as $30 to as high as $250, depending on the manufacturer and materials.
But owner’s responsibilities don’t stop in buying the perfect blanket. Make sure that you monitor your horses when you put on their blankets. Since temperature might change once in a while so as your horses body temperature; so watch out for sweats and irritation for it may lead to bigger problems.
Also, if you have multiple horses, remember not to let them share blankets. And lastly, make it a habit to wash and clean those blankets, to protect your horses not just from cold but from other hazards.
Protect Your Horse with Horse Turnout Blanket
Knowing and understanding your horses is the best way to protect them. That means knowing their body chemistry and activities. If your horses spend most of their times outside, running or playing around even at extreme low temperatures or heavy rainfall, you might want to consider buying a horse turnout blanket. Turnout blankets are especially made to protect and warmth active horses while letting their skin breathe.
They are durable and specifically designed for maneuverability. They are made with rip-stop fabrics and usually have water proof outer layer. Most horse turnout blankets come with tail guard and neck guard to protect the tail and the neck of your equines from the wind and weather.
And since a horse turnout blanket is designed for maneuverability, it can withstand common wear and tear, and it will stay in place as your horse plays, runs and rolls. For that reason such a horse blanket has surcingle and straps to make sure it won’t slip, and its linings is made of materials durable enough to prevent it from ripping yet comfortable enough not to cause irritation and abrasion to the horse.
To protect the shoulder, manufacturers add up shoulder gussets to alleviate pressure while giving it enough room to move and avoid bald spots.
There are different manufacturers and retailers of turnout blankets and you can find them online or in specialty store near you. Popular brands are Rambo, WeatherBeeta and Rhino. Those brands provide high quality and world class designs although they command higher prices you will be getting your money’s worth.
Choosing the Best Horse Turnout Blanket
Horse turnout blankets can cost as low as $70 to as high as $400. The recommendation is not to base your buying decision on the price or brand of the horse blankets but rather on what your horses need and which blankets will protect them best.
Saying that you must remember to measure up your equines so, you will get the perfect fit for your horse. Take your measuring tape and a friend to help you. Start measuring from the chest all the way back to the tail. Make sure that you get the exact measurement of your horse for tight fitting blankets can cause irritation and abrasion while loose fitting blankets can slip out and cause tangling and accidents.
Finally, when you already bought turnout blanket for your horse, make sure that you clean and wash them often. And never share blankets to avoid skin diseases and contamination. Plus, always check your horses; blankets can cause your equines to sweat so watch out for your horses can get sick if you let their sweats dry out. Remember, responsible ownership doesn’t end on providing food and shelter but proper care, love and protection are also a must.
Horses are naturally born to run around and although domesticated, they still have the instinct to explore. So during the cold season active horses might need some extra protection like horse turnout blanket. Although there are different factors to consider before buying such a blanket, factors like horse breed, average time spend outside and weather conditions or to know if your horse really needs a horse blanket at all.
Horses are not created equal, there are breeds that can protect and keep themselves warm during cold season while there are other breeds that cannot adopt well in cold environment and needed extra protection. In the same manner, there are horses that are active all year round while there are those that semi-hibernate and stay stable during winter season. These characteristics help in determining whether your equines need extra warmth from turnout blankets or not.
Waterproof Horse Blanket
Equine owners are always finding ways to protect their horses from natural elements like cold, wind and rain while keeping them comfortable and at ease. One of the greatest inventions for equines is horse blankets. Although not all blankets are created equal, most of equine owners are in favor of waterproof horse blanket. Why use waterproof blankets?
The Facts about Waterproof Horse Blanket
Waterproof horse blankets are made of natural and/or synthetic fibers. These fibers are coated with “waterproofing” materials. These coating gives the fabric special properties that can repel water from outside while allowing the moisture and air from inside to pass through to avoid condensation or build up. Different manufacturers have developed different “waterproofing” materials. The materials being used are rubber, silicon, and wax, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and/or PU (polyurethane).
Equine owners use waterproof blankets to protect their horses from rain, wind and cold weather while keeping them dry and warm. Of course horses are mammals and therefore warm-blooded animals. As all mammals they sweat not only when they run around or play but also when they stationary. Naturally they sweat in warm and in cold weather.
That is why waterproof horse blankets are in demand. The main aim of waterproof horse blanket is to keep a horse protected from outside elements while directing sweat away from its body. This is to avoid the possibility of catching pneumonia and other complications.
There are different types of waterproof horse blankets:
- day sheet
Day sheets are made from lightweight materials and are use to protect your horse from mild weather. The price are various depending on the brand and are from $30 to as much as $200.
Turnouts are used for horse’s outdoor activities and are made of sturdy materials that are wear and tear resistant. They are pricier, too: cost could be between $60 to even $400.
Coolers, on the other hand are used after your horse has betrothed in physical activities like shows and competitions. They are made specifically to cool down the horse. This is also explanation for the name of those waterproof blankets. They cost from around $40 to as much as $250.
Stables waterproof blankets are used to protect horses in undercover areas from cold weather and wind. They can cost from $40 to $300.
The flysheets waterproof horse blankets are used to protect the horses from insects. If you want one for your equine friend, count with spending something between $40 and $250.
Basically the prices of waterproof horse blankets vary because of the brand or features. Quite often the prices of waterproof blankets depend on the dealer or store selling the products.
Horseware Products LTD. They created Rambo Originals. But there are different manufacturers trying to beat and surpass Horseware merchandise: WeatherBeeta, Kensington, Saxon and others.
Caring for Horse Blankets
When it comes to cleaning and caring for your horse blankets you must always pay attention and be keen. Make it a hobby to clean the blankets to avoid irritation, infection and allergies the blanket may cause on your horse. Rub away unwanted elements like mud, manure, stray hair, grime and dust. Shake it off few times before washing. Use warm water and mild detergent to avoid destroying the waterproof coating.
Well, just read washing instruction to know if your blankets are hand or machine washable. Air-dry your blankets. Do not ever machine dry for them as the dryer can ruin or shrink the fabric, especially synthetic one. Fold the blanket neatly and store in self-sealing plastic bags.
The ideal way is to have a spare blanket. It is always good to be ready when things get rough.
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