The horse blanket is an indispensable accessory for the horse’s well-being. It has several functions. The main one lies in protecting the horse from temperature changes both in winter and summer or when the horse is sweaty at the end of the work. some blankets are repellent to flies and insects.
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Blankets for horses
There are different types of horse blanket based on their usefulness and in different materials. Both for the horse that lives outside and for the horses in the pits. They have the function in cold periods to protect the horse from sudden changes in temperature, humidity, or in the case of work blankets, they protect the sweaty horse that is put to rest.
The blankets are of different synthetic or natural materials, are padded or waterproof. They are divided into different types: from paddocks (summer, winter), for stable horses, and exercise blankets also are known as kidneys or below decks.
How horse blankets are made
There are different types and models of blankets. Traditional blankets have front closures and crossed straps at the back to ensure stability on the animal’s coat. The cut at the neckline can vary and in some cases has a padding that can be removed if necessary.
The size of the blankets is standard and is divided according to the size of the horse in both height and length
Learn how to measure for horse blanket or turnout rug fit. Follow the instructions by Riding Warehouse to find the right size of the equine blanket fitting.
During the summer and warmer months, the blanket can be useful to protect the horse from sudden changes in temperatures that drop at night. For the summer, terry blankets are available on the market that allows perspiration. Also useful for sweaty horses after working in the field.
In addition to this type of blanket, in the spring and summer periods, the presence of insects that could annoy the horse increases. The animal tends to become agitated and nervous due to the presence of flies, midges, or horseflies. There are anti-fly covers, light, made of fine mesh with special repellent products, and which can be associated with anti-insect masks.
Covered in winter
There are a variety of blankets suitable for different weather conditions. Compared to the climatic conditions, the winter blanket is lined and padded and can also be waterproof for horses that live in the paddock. It is essential to protect the horse from the colder temperatures especially the most delicate and elderly specimens both day and night.
There are several models: from stable or pasture.
The box/stable blankets are not waterproof and are not suitable for horses on the lawn. They are useful blankets for boxed horses that have been shorn or for elderly or sick specimens that need to stay warm. For sweaty horses after exercise that falls into the box.
Grazing rugs are more resistant and waterproof. They guarantee good thermal insulation to the animal, keeping it warm and dry in delicate parts such as the kidneys even in case of rain. However, be careful not to get too wet on the blanket. During violent thunderstorms, it is possible for the water to channel itself from the gluing and can in this case keep the horse moist.
The blanket is useful for
Horses exposed excessively and rain or ice
Very young or old
Unacclimated horses (coming from warm areas or passing from the stable to the paddock)
Avoid overheating the animal
Horse skin with bare hands must be cold. The coat of the horse and the internal thermoregulation system perform a fantastic insulating function and ensure that body heat is not dispersed.
Below decks and exercise blankets
The below decks and exercise blankets have a double function. That of protecting the horse from injury and maintaining thermal heat.
The lower deck can be useful in very harsh winter environments. In this case, they can also be from the box or from the outside and guarantee greater thermal resistance for the horse. In fact, it avoids the rubbing of the blanket on the withers. These are thermoregulatory materials that make the skin breathe. At the same time, they are very light and help to maintain heat.
The below deck covers the front of the horse from the withers to the mid thorax, descending on the animal’s shoulder. It is also used to prevent saddle sagging. It can also be integrated and cover the whole body of the horse.
The exercise blanket, also called kidney cover, is used to prevent injuries or contractures during the horse’s work both during the warm-up phase and at the end of the work. They can be of different materials and ensure a thermal effect to prepare the muscles for work and for muscle relaxation. In addition, it dries sweat and maintains heat. It is associated with the fleece blanket when the horse is put to rest, especially if the animal is shorn and lives in wet or cold areas.
How much does a blanket cost
The cost of the blankets varies according to the type of summer/winter blanket, the padding, and the material. The price ranges from $45 up to an average between $90 and $130.
The price for the under blankets and operating blankets ranges between $30 and over $100 based on quality and materials.
Dangers and contraindications covered for horses
The blanket should be used with caution and only for as long as necessary. Especially in hot environments, it risks overheating the horse and causing sweating, exposing the horse to air blows.
Furthermore, it must be carefully cleaned and beaten every time it is placed on the horse to avoid dust or foreign bodies. If the blanket is dirty it can cause scratches and flake on the horse’s withers and shoulders.
If the blanket is wet, immediately remove it from the horse and let it dry before putting it back on the animal.
Attention must also be paid to closures that are arranged so that they do not get caught in the horse and do not risk tripping. For this reason, the size must be appropriate to that of the horse.
Finally, it is recommended to remove the blanket daily to check the condition of the horse, which must be brushed and cleaned first each time before putting on the blanket.
Matka Eve is a vet nurse and pet blogger and nutritionist. She holds an associate degree in veterinary nursing and serving the field for 7 years. She writes about lifestyle with a pet, food, disease, and remedies.