When to blanket your horse and how to find the perfect fit
When it comes to horses, few things are as confusing as determining the correct horse gear. This is especially true when it comes to ensuring your horse is protected from the weather. And whether it’s wind, rain, snow, or subzero temperatures, you want to ensure your horse is safe, happy, and comfortable regardless of what’s happening outside.
Whether you’re new to horses or are searching for a replacement blanket, this post gives you all the details you need to consider when blanketing your horse. We’ll cover reasons to consider blanketing and different blanketing scenarios. We provide our top recommendations across a variety of scenarios so you can make an informed decision when it comes to buying a blanket for your four-legged friend.
While horses are made to withstand cold temperatures, living conditions, hair type, exercise, and breed, all impact which (if any) blankets your horse requires to stay healthy and happy.
Read on to learn about 9 top horse blankets:
- StormShield® Contour Collar Classic Surcingle Turnout
- Tough-1 1200D Combo T/O Blanket 300g
- ArmorFlex® Challenger V-Free® Fit Bellyband Turnout
- ComFiTec Essential Standard Neck Lite Sheet
- ArmorFlex® Challenger Turnout Blanket
- Tough 1 Snuggit 168D Turnout Blanket
- Horse Fleece Breathable Cooler Exercise Blanket
- Shires WarmaRug Blanket Liner
- Defender Silver Elite Fly Sheet
*Cover photo credit: Johanna & Bunny
Should I blanket my horse?
Blanketing is one way you can help care for your horse during cold and rainy months.
Not all horses need to be blanketed, though.
Here are a few things to consider if you’re trying to decide whether to blanket your horse.
You may want to blanket if:
- Your horse has a short-haired coat and you need to control the growth
- Your horse is body clipped for winter
- You have a performance horse that exercises a lot, even during the cold months
- The horse is from a warmer climate and has not acclimated to a colder environment
- No protective shelter is available
- You ride your horse often and want to keep him cleaner and drier
You may not want to blanket if:
- You do not live in a region that experiences extreme cold
- Horses stay inside a heated barn or stall
- Horses have access to a protective shelter with heating
Wondering whether to use a stable blanket vs. turnout blanket?
Top Horse Blankets by Function
Best Overall Horse Blanket
The StormShield® Contour Collar Classic Surcingle Turnout is the best overall horse blanket. This brand is familiar to many horse owners because of its quality.
This is a medium weight blanket which is great for many cold climates and varying weather conditions. It holds up well with horses who are active and rough on blankets too.
- Contour collar fit
- No back seam, preventing leaks
- 5x more waterproof than other competitive brands
- Double snap front for easy on and off
- Criss-cross surcingle
- Durable material
- Waterproof, windproof, and breathable
- Large tail opening
- Detachable leg straps
- Useful for rain, wind, temperature fluctuations, and everyday wear
- Available in a suite of fun colors
- Doesn’t have a full bellyband
- Tends to fit on the shorter/tighter side, so you may want to size up
Best Winter Blanket for Horses
The Tough-1 1200D Combo T/O Blanket 300g is the best winter blanket for horses because it is thick and covers the neck.
The way we see it, if you’re going to have a winter storm roll through, most horses would benefit from a neck cover.
- Made of 1200 Denier Poly, a heavy-strength material
- Recommended for horses who bite and chew blankets
- Lining prevents rubbing sores or straw sticking to the inside
- Waterproof with seamless spine
- Adjustable front double-buckle and elastic leg straps for better fit
- Neck on blanket is not removable
- Can cause hair ratting
- Sometimes runs a little small
Best Turnout Blanket for Horses
Our opinion is that ArmorFlex® Challenger V-Free® Fit Bellyband Turnout is the best turnout blanket for horses because it keeps horses comfortable and dry even during play in the pasture.
It is great for cold weather, as a wind blocker and rain barrier.
- Detachable tail cover
- Double hook and loop closures
- Adjustable fit
- Could use a longer tail cover for some horses
- Not ideal for horses with high withers
Best Horse Blanket for Rain
When it comes to blankets for the rain, the ComFiTec Essential Standard Neck Lite Sheet is the best.
With a light-weight material, it is still durable and breathable. We recommend this blanket for rainy weather, but not cold temperatures.
- Adjustable and removable leg straps
- Strong and durable
- Waterproof and breathable
- Easy to put on
- Does not include neck cover or dee rings to attach one
- Rear clips can clog with dirt and sand
- Not enough insulation for cold weather
Best Blanket for Quarter Horses
The ArmorFlex® Challenger Turnout Blanket is a great blanket because it is designed to fit Quarter Horses or breeds with sloped shoulder conformation.
If you’ve owned a Quarter Horse before, you know that finding a gear that actually fits is a real challenge… until now!
- Fitted V-Free® Pressure Free Wither
- VTEK® Pressure Free Wither Prevents Rubbing
- Cutback Design Prevents Rubbing
- Attached Neck with VTEK® Wither Relief Fit or Fitted V-Free® Wither
- 5X More Waterproof than Competitive Brands
- No net lining
Best Turnout Blanket for High Withered Horses
The Tough 1 Snuggit 168D Turnout Blanket is the best turnout blanket for high withered horses because of its adjustable Snuggit neck.
This allows a customized fit, freedom of movement, and increased protection.
- Shoulder gussets and rear surcingle gussets for free movements
- Easy closure front
- Can slide around
- Runs small
Best Horse Cooler for Winter
During the winter, you may want to purchase a horse cooler. The best is the Horse Fleece Breathable Cooler Exercise Blanket with a neck cover because of its multipurpose uses.
The soft fleece easily helps horses cool down after exercise or adds a layer of warmth during a cold night.
- Breathable fabric allows sweat and moisture to escape
- Secure fit with dual front buckle closure, adjustable surcingles, and elastic leg straps
- Protects against flies and bugs
- Lightweight and easy to handle
- Horses that chew can tear through fabric
- Not waterproof
Best Liner Blanket
When you live in constantly changing weather, flexibility is critical to ensuring your horse’s comfort. The Shires WarmaRug Blanket Liner helps you achieve an unmatched level of adjustability by allowing you to add or remove layers depending on weather conditions.
This liner gives you the flexibility to add warmth to a rain-resistant sheet and comes in a wide range of sizes for a custom fit.
- Lightweight option for adding warmth to a sheet
- Machine washable
- Includes snap clips to secure to a sheet
- Available in 2 different fill options so you can select the one that best fits your situation
- Only comes in the color black
Best Fly Sheet
If you’ve been searching for a combination sheet to protect from UV rays and insects, check out the Defender Silver Elite Fly Sheet. The white color helps your horse stay cooler while protecting it from coat bleaching in the hot summer sun.
And with a wide belly band, the Defender also helps protect from insect-related issues to your horse’s abdomen.
- Reasonably priced
- Provides 80% UV protection
- Tail flap provides additional protection from insects
- No rear leg straps to prevent the sheet from flipping up in the back
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the different types of horse blankets?
Most blankets are classified as “stable blankets” or “turnout blankets.”
Stable blankets are ideal for use inside a barn or stall because they lack waterproof material. They keep your horse warm and comfortable indoors.
Turnout blankets are waterproof outdoor blankets, making them better for rain, snow, and mud. They also are designed to be more breathable, so sweat and moisture can escape rather than build up.
Q: Is there a horse blanketing temperature chart?
Here’s a handy guide from Schneiders Saddlery to help you decide how to blanket based on temperature.
Q: What are the best horse blanket brands?
We also really like Adjusta-Fit® and Dura-Tech®.
Q: At what temperature should you blanket a clipped horse?
Refer to the chart above for details. In general, clipped horses should start having a light sheet added around 50°-65°F.
Q: Do horses like to be blanketed?
Most horses don’t need to be blanketed, even in very cold temperatures (as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit). There are some circumstances in which a blanket can be helpful, like if you clip your horse, or if your horse is older and has trouble maintaining his weight or regulating his temperature.
If your horse lives outside and it’s going to be very windy or rainy, a waterproof blanket can be helpful. Make sure to provide your horse with hay, which will help him generate heat.
Got a horse that always escapes his blanket? Consider not clipping him and letting him go without as much as possible. You’ll both be happier.
Q: Can you over-blanket a horse?
You can. Too many blankets or too thick a blanket can cause your horse to sweat. When he sweats, his hair lays flat, can no longer trap heat, and can make him colder than if he weren’t wearing a blanket.
If your horse isn’t clipped, you will likely only need a waterproof sheet or waterproof lightweight blanket, and only if it will be very windy or below 30 degrees F.
If you’ve clipped your horse partially, a waterproof lightweight or medium-weight blanket is needed starting at 45 and below. Body clipped? You’ll need a range of blankets, starting at below 60 or if it’s rainy and windy.
Q: What size blanket does my horse need?
To get the most accurate fitting blanket, it is important to measure your horse.
Start along the side of their body from the center of the chest to the very edge of the tail, being sure this includes the widest part of the shoulders and hindquarters. Once you have a measurement, refer to this chart for sizing.
This video shows how to measure your horse for a blanket step by step:
Q: Should you blanket an old horse?
Older horses are typically more affected by the cold weather than younger ones. Wet and windy weather cause problems for older horses, so turning them out in bad weather can be tricky.
If your senior horse is thin or has health problems that increase or decrease caloric needs, it’s probably safer to blanket.
Even if your horse seems healthy, if you notice shivering, the horse needs a blanket. Should the horse continue to be cold, you might need to layer blankets. Just be careful not to overheat them.
Also make sure to regularly remove or check under the blankets for rubbing or irritation, skin disease, or weight loss. These problems can cause problems quickly if you leave blankets on for weeks at a time.
Q: Should you blanket a wet horse?
No, it is important that a horse is dry when blanketed.
If a blanket becomes wet, take it off the horse before they become too chilled.
Instead, use a wool chiller with a breathable liner so moisture can evaporate, while also keeping the horse warm. Fleece will help wick away wetness quickly, but the fabric stays wet and cool if you don’t remove it once the horse dries.
Wool, on the other hand, stays warm when wet. If you’re forgetful or don’t want to monitor the horse during the cooler process, wool may be a better bet for you.
We’ve Got You Covered
Blanketing horses may be an important part of your equine health care routine, depending on your climate, horse, and exercise routine. With our recommendations, you and your horse will be well prepared for all conditions!
P.S. Enjoy this article? Trot on over to:
- Horse care 101: Turnout blankets vs. stable blankets
- 9 Best Horse Rain Sheets for Weathering the Storm
- Wild & Hair Free: What is Horse Body Clipping?
- How to Wash Horse Blankets the Easy Way
- How Horses Sleep: A-Zzz Guide to Equine Rest
- Horse Lifespan 101 (Life Stages, Teeth, Senior Horse Care)
- Baffled by Blankets? Horse Terminology for Rookies!