Today there are so many options when choosing a horse blanket.Where you live and the climate have a huge influence on what is the right choice of horse blankets.
When I use the term horse blanket, I should be saying horse covering as a horse blanket is only one item in a whole array of coverings for your horse. There are turnout rugs, stable rugs, all purpose and cooler rugs and fly rugs to name a few. So where do you start and which one is the right one for you and your horse?
Most people wouldn’t associate horses with having an extensive wardrobe. However, if you live somewhere more seasonal such as the Northern Hemisphere, your horse will need an array of coverings or rugs to suit the seasons.
Here are some of your options:
Turnout rugs range in light, medium and heavyweight options. With modern technological advances, there are now turnout rugs that protect your horse in temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit whilst ensuring that your horse remains sweat free with added benefit of antibacterial linings. For those of you in areas that experience snow, you can have your horse in a sun reflective turnout rug which extends the temperature range again.
Whilst stable blankets do not require a heavy duty material to combat the outdoor elements, they will provide comfort and warmth to your horse during the winter months. Your horse will appreciate nothing more than returning from the outdoors, a good grooming and then a comfy, stable blanket. They come in several materials and have a multitude of fastenings to suit your needs.
The Cooler rug is an ideal option for travelling and during competition. Also used as a light stable rug or as a sweat rug after training. The single layer material allows your horse’s skin to breathe whilst still protecting them from dust and dirt. This type of rug is also the perfect rug to use in fall or spring.
Fly rugs or sheets are a lightweight rug made from a mesh fabric that protects your horse from the reflective rays of the sun and flies. If you live in an area that has more than your average rate of insects your might want to consider a full block out rug as opposed to a fly rug.
Do your measurements measure up?
Next step is how to correctly measure your horse for its seasonal rug. Too small a blanket and it will rub and restrict movement. Too large and it may get caught on a fence or post, or your horse may step on it and become entangled. In order to measure your horse, start at the centre of the chest and follow around the widest part of the horse’s shoulders. Then measure the length of the horse’s body to the point where their hind meets their tail. Rugs usually run in 2 inch increments. Go up a size to accommodate your horse if you aren’t sure, and don’t forget about additional layers and blankets your horse may require underneath their blanket/rug. Many of the online stores have phone support to assist you in selecting the best fit.
Caring for your blanket
Most horse rugs are best washed in cold water. Cold water reduces the potential of shrinking with both natural and synthetic fibres. Washing machines with agitators can damage the high membrane fabrics as does detergents. With that in mind, it is also preferable to dry your rug or blanket on a clothesline and not the tumble dryer. Regularly checking your rugs during the year to ensure you spot clean any dirt, marks or mould will keep your rugs at their best. Make sure when purchasing your next rug or blanket that you check the recommended cleaning and maintenance recommendations to ensure that it is something you can easily maintain throughout the year.
So make sure your horse has the correct seasonal rug in their wardrobe. Taking care of your horse with the correct outerwear is a great preventative measure in ensuring you have a happy and healthy horse.