Nowadays, horse blankets come in all varieties of sizes, shapes, and colors. From
stylish, to well……at least it covers your horse.
How do you choose a good horse blanket? Believe it or not, horses have a natural
mechanism to keep themselves warm. As winter approaches, they begin to shed their
summer coat, and start growing their fuzzy winter coat. Their skin begins to produce
more body oils helping to create a natural protection to moisture and cold. Much
like many hairy creatures, when they get cold, the hairs stand up, crosses, and
traps air next to the skin. The air gets heated by the body heat or stored heat
from the sun, and then creates a little barrier of protection from the cold. When
we blanket our horse, we remove that protection by flattening the hair. So if you
put a thin blanket with no added warmth, your horse could actually be colder than
without it. Buying a good quality rug, for the right conditions is very important.
So why do we even need to use horse blankets? In the “wild” don’t they survive
just fine with that winter coat? Well, the answer is yes. In the wild, horses have
more freedom. When the weather goes south, they can usually find shelter to fit
So what about our modern day horses in captivity? There are several factors to
consider. First of all, every horse should always have access to shelter. We should
never use a blanket or rug to substitute shade and shelter. That being said, usually
just having shelter is enough for younger, heartier horses. But nowadays horses
are living much longer than they used too, thanks to the supplements, feed, veterinary
care available today, and of course the adoring love of their owners. As our horses
get older, they may need a little help to stay warm with a blanket or rug. Aside
from older horses, there are also some breeds that have more sensitive skin than
others, and could benefit from a little protection from the elements.
Blanketing a horse though, isn’t as simple as put it on and forget. When buying
a horse blanket, fit is very important. A badly fitting rug can affect its effectiveness
to keep your horse warm/dry. If the rug is too small it can create problems with
rubbing, and restriction of movement. If it’s too big, it can slip and twist and
cause injury or other problems. As was mentioned in the beginning of the article,
if the blanket is too thin, the horse could be colder, but also, if the blanket
is to thick, it can cause the horse to sweat and become chilled.
In the end, every horse is different, but horse blankets and rugs can be
a great aid to keeping your horse happy and healthy. If you need help finding the
right blanket for your horse, give us a call, or come visit us in the store and
we’ll be happy to help you.