What Kind of Horse Blanket do I Need?
I've never bought horse blankets before so I have a few questions. I've already measured my mini horses and I know they will need a 44" and 46" blanket. Currently, they are in a pasture with only trees for shelter and I would like for them to have blankets. I need the blankets to serve two purposes: 1. Keep them warm and 2. Keep them dry. If I buy a waterproof blanket will it also help keep them warm? I think waterproof is more important them quilted. Am I right? Also is Polar Equestrian a good brand for blankets? The ones I'm looking at are Polar Equestrian brand and are 600 denier ripstop poly. Thanks! :-)
You can get insulated rain sheets, which will keep them both dry and warm. So instead of buying two for each horse, you only have to put one on.
Just get turnout sheets (not the quilted ones, quilted blankets are meant for stabled horses so they aren't waterproof).
Here's a good chart to help you determine what weigh of blanket you need. It's important to use a blanket that's the correct weight for the outside temperature because blankets smooth down the insulating hair, so the "weight" of the blanket is making up for the missing hair insulation, if that makes sense.
A quick Google search did not return any "Polar Equestrian" blankets for me, maybe you could post a link?
Depending on how rough or playful your mini's are, 600D might be fine. 600D means that the cloth is a pretty weak cloth but if you have pretty laid back horses, it'll be fine. If they're super playful, always biting at each other, that sort of thing, you'll want to probably get something closer to 1200D (which might be hard to find in mini sizes).
I have my 27 year old mare in 600D blankets and they're still going strong, but she's very gentle on her "clothing".
Maybe this is one you've been looking at, but here's a really reasonably priced mini blanket that'll keep your guys warm and dry:
Saddles Tack Horse Supplies - ChickSaddlery.com Tough-1 Polar 600 Denier Mini Turnout Blanket
If they're out in the pasture, make sure you get one that is waterproof (most turnouts are, just make sure it's not a stable blanket). Like Wallaby said, 600 denier is weak...I got a 600 denier turnout for my calmer horse and he ripped the neck the first day. Both my horses now have the Big D 2200 denier turnouts now.
Depending on where you're located and what kind of coats your horses have, you may not need a blanket. Blanketing a horse more screws with their system than helps and can actually cause sickness, rather than prevent it. I live in NC where the weather is pretty mild and both my horses live in the pasture (except Jester currently is stalled because of an injury). Both of them grow great winter coats so I won't blanket them unless it's below 5 degrees (which is rare) and it rains. This article explains it well.
Should You Blanket Your Horse?
A lot of horse owners blanket their horses more for their own piece of mind, because when it's cold, we pull our own coats out. But unlike us, horses have build in insulation and you really don't want to screw with it if you don't have to.
Kcscott hit the nail on the head, in the case of most horses. Also, that's a great article!
Just for the other side of things (so the blanketing "argument" is balanced, pro/con), I blanket my mare because she's older, Also, even though the area we live in is pretty temperate, she'll just stand in her shelter all day which isn't great for preventing arthritis. I choose to blanket her because, even though she would survive without it, she's obviously more comfortable with her blanket on.
She's also MUCH more active with a blanket on. If she's a little cold, she'll generally just walk slowly around the pasture but if she's warm enough, she'll be galloping and bucking around. Since active=healthy, there's reason #million that I blanket her. :lol:
Another benefit, for me, is that my mare seems to get cold really easily (I'm sure it's age related) so she eats a TON when she's not blanketed and the littlest bit cold (hay helps horses stay warm). As I'm a college student, I don't have the money to be buying tons of hay all the time so blanketing helps me save my money for more important things, like vet bills!
I also hate saddling a wet horse (another thing the horse would definitely survive that I just feel bad about) so, being that we live in Oregon, blanketing is necessary to prevent wet-horse-saddling. In your case, since they're mini's, I hope you aren't saddling them. Haha!
Sweaty horses can be a problem but if you follow a blanketing chart pretty closely and/or clip your horses, you shouldn't have a problem. The only time I've had issues is when I only had a medium weight blanket and it was 50 degrees F. She got a little sweaty then but I took the blanket off as soon as I noticed and she was fine and happy again.
For my mare, I've noticed that keeping her warm enough is more of a problem that keeping her from getting too hot, however, I feel like my mare is the weirdo on the blanketing block because she's gentle on blankets, never sweats in them, etc. :lol:
All that being said, if your horses have enough hay and shelter to access and they aren't clipped, it might be in their best interest to be unblanketed. But they could also be just as happy being blanketed. You know all the factors happening for you so calculate the best method for your life/your horses' lives. :)
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