what different types of blankets are there? what are they used for? i live in northern new england. what type of blankets do i need? what happens when my horse is wet? ow does that change the use of my blankets?
if you could mention:irish knit blankets, coolers, sheet.---what are their uses?
Oh boy! There are so many different kinds of blankets! I see why you are asking!
I'll just touch on a few that I have personal experience with:
Cooler: Usually fleece or wool. For use after a workout in cold weather so that your horse stays somewhat warm even with sweat on his body. Also wicks away sweat so that it will dry on the cooler and not on your horse's body (cooling him). If your horse has steam rising from him, put on a cooler! Can also be used under other blankets for added warmth.
Irish Knit: Usually a cotton or cotton/poly blend. Used as a cooler, but is knit (like grandma's sweaters) so that there's little air holes throughout. I have one, but have never used it, so I can't add much more. =)
Fly Sheet: A tight waffle-weave blanket used to create a barrier between your horse and flies. Most also protect from the sun's UV rays. Similar to his fly mask! Some are even made of material that reflects the sun's heat to keep your horse cooler in the summer.
Sheet: A Blanket with no insulation. Stable Sheet is for use when your horse is in his stall to keep him warm and clean. Or for use at a show between classes for the same purpose. Turnout Sheet is for turnout and is usually made tougher (higher denier) to withstand the elements and pasture mates.
Waterproof/Breathable: Every sheet or blanket that I purchase for turnout use is "Waterproof and Breathable." In dry climates, this is not always necessary, but I live near Seattle! Correct me if I'm wrong, but you probably get a lot of rain in your area too (especially in fall & spring). If a blanket is Waterproof and not Breathable, your horse may sweat (if playing in pasture) and then stay damp under his blanket. Then he'll get stinky and could develop skin problems.
The most important thing about blankets is FIT! All brands fit a little differently and all horses are shaped a little differently. Try your friends' blankets on your horse or ask about your tack shop's return policy for ill-fitting blankets. A blanket that does not match your horse's confirmation could create rubs/sores on his withers, shoulders, hip, etc.
The second most important thing about blankets is cleanliness! I buy two blankets for each season so that I can have one at the cleaner's and have one on my horse! After a while, your horse's blanket will get soiled with manure/dirt from rolling, and sweat or moisture. That's breeding grounds for mold, mildew, and bacteria! Not things you want living in your horse's fur!
Here is another thread with a picture of measuring for a blanky too
thanks soo much you guys! that really helps!
I just got my first horse this past Friday and because of the Noreaster we just had, we went out and got him (Wilbur) a blanket that's made of nylon with insulation. He went out during the storm and got all snowy before we put the blanket on, but he still dried underneath overnight. Do you generally leave your blankets on all night when they're in the stall when it's real cold? It's about 15 degrees right now. Wilbur seems to really like it.
If the barn is not heated, then of course leave the blanket on! I would say a horse doesn't need a blanket when it is 40-50 degrees.. but it varies. Like my horse has a pretty thick winter coat, if yours is clipped or has a thin winter coat then blanket them at 40-50. Anything below 40 I always blanket, and when my horse was living in the unheated barn he had two blankets on 24/7 throughout the winter. (late fall and early spring, when it was a little warmer, he only had his newer one on.) He now lives in the heated barn, so his blanket comes off at night, the heat is set to 50 and keeps the body warmth of the other horses well, so he stays nice and toasty without his blanket. =]
I don't blanket till it goes below 20 (just got medium waterproof blankets). And if I put them in stalls I don't blanket at all: we had 19 this night, and upper half door of stalls were opened outside (I do keep it open if it's over 25, and it was 30 in evening, however dropped quite a lot by morning). However the water in stalls didn't freeze at all so I assume breathing and pooping keep temperature quite high. Lol! And they both have winter fur too.
My horse is out to pasture most of the day (pretty much 24/7), but there's a run-in area for shelter. ;)
I blanket her if it's super cold outside or raining/windy, for extra protection.
But she really doesn't need it all the time so I take it off if the conditions aren't as bad. :)
Both mine love stalls though, when it's rainy or windy. They have nice run-in, but prefer to be put in stalls anyway. :)
We don't blanket ours at all. They all have thick fur coats, and the babies stay in the stalls at night, and they all seem pretty happy :D
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