As we approach chillier temperatures, it’s time to start bringing out the cold weather necessities which can include horse blankets. To blanket or not, what fabric is best, and what’s the difference in cuts are all questions that lead to hours of researching instead of riding. Horseware Ireland is here to answer your questions about the blanketing basics in this three-part blog series. We’ll cover the features and benefits of blankets, factors influencing blanket choice, and how to blanket to suit your horse’s needs.
The first part of the series breaks down the blanket. We’ll go through each part of the blanket so you understand all the terms and how they relate to selecting a blanket for your horse.
Types of Horse Blankets
There are several different types of blankets, such as fly sheets and coolers, but with winter approaching, we will be focusing on stable and turnout.
Typically, a stable blanket will be used whilst the horse is indoors, whilst a turnout is reserved for use in the paddock. However, thanks to advances in blanket technology, many horse owners choose to use a turnout blanket in the stall too. All of Horseware’s blankets are both waterproof and breathable so leaving a turnout blanket on will still keep them comfortable and can save you time. The warmth of your horse’s body will dry off a wet blanket by the morning – no more struggling trying to take off and hang up wet, muddy blankets!
If the temperatures are likely to be much cooler overnight though it may be best to switch to a heavier weight blanket for additional warmth. Also, remember to regularly remove the blanket, even if you use a turnout for both outside and indoor use, to check over your horse for any rubs or pressure points.
The main difference between a stable and turnout blanket is the outer fabric. On a turnout blanket, this will be a waterproof layer to protect your horse from the elements. Since your horse won’t be exposed to the rain in their stall, a stable blanket does not have this waterproof outer.
Turnout blankets can also have other features designed for outdoor use such as leg arches for freedom of movement and reflective details for visibility.
Horse blankets come in different weights which correspond to the amount of fiberfill they contain. Heavier blankets contain more fiberfill to keep your horse warmer.
Lite weight blankets start from no fill and go up to 100g. A lightweight turnout blanket is useful in warm but wet weather when you want to keep your horse dry. It will be quicker to groom your horse before a ride if they are not wet or covered in dirt from head to hoof! They are also useful for hardier, unclipped horses.
A stable blanket with no fill at all is often referred to as a stable sheet and helps to keep your horse clean.
Medium weight blankets typically have a fiberfill of 150g to 250g. They have a wide range of uses as this weight of blanket suits many horses and weather conditions.
Heavy weight blankets are the warmest and are over 300g. These blankets are ideally suited to winter weather or for horses that feel the cold such as those fully clipped or older.
Some blankets in Horseware’s range use Vari-layer® technology. This innovative design uses different layers of thermobonded fiberfill so you get more heat retention with less weight. For example, a medium weight blanket with Vari-layer® will have a 100g layer all over and 250g just across the horse’s back. That means it’s lighter for you to put the blanket onto your horse and for them to wear.
When looking for a new turnout blanket, you might notice different fabric types such as polyester, polypropylene, and ballistic nylon. These refer to the outer layer and indicate the strength of the fabric.
The type of fabric is usually accompanied by its denier, for example, the new Rambo Supreme has a 1680D ballistic nylon outer making it the strongest fabric on the market. This blanket is launching for AW21 and is available in late fall.
If you are comparing the same fabric, a higher denier shows it is stronger as this correlates to more yarns within each thread. Using our example of the Rambo Supreme, it has 1680 yarns within each thread.
Each fabric is different in strength though so you cannot directly compare them. For example, a blanket with 1000D ballistic nylon is stronger, lighter, and more durable than a blanket that is 1200D polyester.
How do I know which fabric and denier to choose?
Consider your horse and their environment when selecting a blanket. Are they known to destroy blankets, or are they turned out with other horses who may try to bite or tear it? If so, consider a blanket from the Rambo range as the high denier ballistic nylon is incredibly tough and is slippery to prevent horses from gripping on it with their teeth.
Similarly, if your horse is turned out 24/7 or for long periods of time in adverse weather conditions, you’ll want a blanket with a high waterproof and breathability rating. The Rhino and Rambo turnouts use Aquatrans technology. This means their fabric can withstand 10m of water in 24 hours, and allow 3000g of vapor to pass through 1m2 of fabric in 24 hours.
By selecting a horse blanket designed to withstand your horse’s environment, you won’t have that sinking feeling when you spot your horse trotting up the pasture with half their blanket ripped to shreds, or them standing miserably soaked through.
A polyester lining is frequently used on both stable and turnout blankets. This type of lining feels smooth to the touch and is breathable. Some of Horseware’s blankets also have an anti-bacterial and anti-static lining that helps to boost shine.
Horse Blanket Styles
Since our horses come in lots of different shapes and sizes, blankets do too. They can vary in terms of fastenings, cut, and whether a neck cover is included.
• Frames the horse’s neck and sits in front of the withers
• Classic straight front closure
• Best suited to narrow or fine-boned horses, as well as youngsters
• Sits beyond the withers to avoid pressure on the withers and shoulders
• Very versatile fit to suit lots of horses
• Great for well-built horses or those with broader chests
• High neck design to avoid pressure on the withers
• V-front fastening
• Perfect for narrower horses with high withers
• No seam between the neck cover and the blanket
• Avoids placing pressure on the horse’s withers
• Same fill from ears to tail
• Detachable neck cover is included
• Velcro loop system to attach the neck cover
• Neck cover can be easily removed to suit changing weather conditions
The different styles of blankets use one of these fittings:
Classic Straight Front Closure – easy to use and has two front fastenings backed with Velcro for extra security. Suits horses with a narrower build.
V-Front Closure – helps to eliminate pressure on the shoulders when moving or grazing. It uses stainless steel non-swivel trigger clip fastenings. These clips should be done up inwards so they face your horse’s chest.
Disc Front Closure – unique to Horseware, this lightweight closure is very light and safe. It is ergonomically shaped and helps to prevent catching.
Now that you understand each aspect of the blanket, you’ll know what to look for to find the perfect fit for your horse. Long, cold winters are sure to become a lot cozier with the right blanket! Check back for part two of Horseware Ireland’s blanket series where we’ll be exploring what factors influence the type of blanket your horse needs.