There are many pros and cons to getting a blanket for your horse, though if you are outgrazing this winter it is highly recommended to get one.
Two of the main pros from wearing a blanket includes: Protection from the harsher elements of the weather. This enables your horse to also gain more from it’s feed, as it is not it is not burning valuable energy to stay warm.
Another pro is that your horse stays clean, dry and is ready to ride at the drop of a hat. There are also some cons connected to wearing blankets. Horses should be able to naturally regulate their temperatures using their own coats, while not using a blanket relives farmers from having to change them, with fluctuating temperatures.
Types of Blankets:
There are a range of different types of blankets. See below the list of blankets and their respective uses:
Stable Sheet: These are Non Waterproof and are worn inside by horses and do not provide any warmth.
Turnout Sheet: These, on the other hand, are waterproof and are worn by horses outside, though they do not provide warmth.
Stable Blanket: These provide extra warmth for your horse whilst in the stables, and prevent it using all its energy from feed to maintain its temperature.
Turnout Blanket: Another used for warmth, this is used when the horse is out to pastures in colder weather conditions.
Different parts to blankets and the benefits:
Blankets can contain many different parts and extras. These include a tail flap, leg straps, surcingles, shoulder guessets, front closures (quick clip or buckle front), hoods and neck covers.
Tail Flaps give your horse wind and rain protection, whilst leg straps prevent the blanket from moving. Surcingles across the belly of the horse also keep the blanket in place, with guessets giving a bit more freedom for movement.
Hood and neck covers, again offer more coverage and protection for your horse. While front closures, offer more security for the blanket.
FInding the right fit for your horse:
The top of the front closure of the blanket should always line up with the point of the horse’s shoulder. You should always be able to put one hand between the blanket and the horse, as any less room will result in uncomfortable rubbing.
The ideal length for a horse blanket, is one which sees the entirety of the horses barrel covered, to just below his elbow.